Title: Mentoring: An Integrated Part of Educational Programmes
Facilitator and room number: Oege Reitsma (MentorProgramma Friesland & NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences); 1.403
Documented by: Linda Dickhof
Number of participants: 6
Who are you and to which institution do you belong to?
MentorProgramma Friesland is a school-based mentoring programme that matches students with mentors from the world of work and follow-up studies. The matches are based on the specific learning goals of students and the unique life-, school- and work experience of mentors. This regional mentoring programme is a collaborative effort of educational providers VET Friesland College, VET Friese Poort, VET Nordwin College, Van Hall Larenstein and NHL Stenden Universities of Applied Sciences, since 1997.
Oege Reitsma is project manager at NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences and MentorProgramma Friesland. He has been involved in a broad spectrum of innovational and collaborational activities such as excellence in education (the honours programme), quality and exams as well as mentoring. His expertise is to connect extra-curricular activities with education and to find a way in which mentoring (be a mentor/have a mentor) can play a role in that.
The major question of the session is the place mentoring takes within educational systems, in this case the honours programme of NHL-Stenden University. What is the role of mentoring in the learning process of students? How to give informal learning a place within educational end terms? How can students showcase the learning process through mentoring in relation to competences of personal and professional development? Is the free choice of participation a critical condition?
Sequence of content:
After a short introduction into the built-up experience of mentoring in Friesland, the facilitator encouraged participants to share their own experience and exchange their views on sustainable development of mentoring programmes within education.
Three main results/arguments presented by the facilitator:
As part of the honours programme at the NHL Stenden University they provide a special mentoring programme for students who want to be challenged besides their study. The students get a mentor, who they choose themselves (student buddy, honours teacher, another teacher), to go through the steps of the programme and to acquire the expected competences. The mentoring is not problem but ambition based. This means that the students think of what they want to learn and how the mentor can help them. According to this, the mentoring is strongly effective as long as the students say that it helps them to work on the expected competences of the programme.
Main points of discussion:
One question, which was discussed, was about how to encourage the students to desire having a mentor. One participant answered, that there are two dimensions of the question: one is how to involve the mentors and the other is how to communicate the outcomes and therefore the meaning of having a mentor. In relation to this, the group also discussed, that the programme needs motivation on both sides, because it is ambition based.
Another part of the discussion was, if free choice of participation is a critical condition. The participants pointed out, that it is difficult for the students to have an intrinsic motivation, because in the beginning they don’t see the benefits. Therefore, they must participate until the end to have a positive experience.
Results of Session:
None of the participants of the session knew before, what an honour programme is, because programmes like this don’t exist at universities in other countries. After the presentation of the facilitator the participants agreed, that this kind of mentoring as an integrated part of the programme is great, because everyone can participate, and it helps students to develop their own competences.
One thing that was laughed about/one fun fact that occurred:
By talking about the fact, that high grades are not that essential in the Netherlands and that the development of broad competences is much more important, whereas in Germany the case is different, Oege said, that even the restaurant, where the networking dinner had taken place, is called “cum laude”.
In Friesland there are a lot of mentors, even the mayor of the city as well as the head of the university are mentors.