Possibilities and challenges of intercultural mentoring on the upper secondary level education
WORKSHOP LED BY JOHANNA MOILANEN & ULLA KOUKKARI-ANTTONEN
Mrs. Ulla Koukkari-Anttonen, Master of Arts, Finnish as a second language and cultural diversity teacher, works in Jyväskylä Educational Consortium Gradia in Finland. Her students are both migrants and natives in Gradia providing upper secondary general and vocational education for young and adult students.
The organization has implemented a project Mentoring Migrants in the Upper Secondary Level Education – MentoMigri funded by European Social Fund in 2017-2019. The objectives cover migrant students’ better integration in educational services by coaching (vocational) students in upper secondary level education to become mentors for their migrant peers.
At the same time, the improvement of knowledge and skills of native students was promoted as well as the two-way integration. Based on the experience of both the mentees and the mentors in the project, a Handbook on mentoring was published, available online in English: https://www.memore.be/mentoring-models/mentomigri/
Ms. Johanna Moilanen, PhD (social work), is a senior lecturer and researcher at the University of Jyväskylä. Her expertise includes e.g. social work with young people, youth mentoring and peer support. She has previously worked e.g. as a social worker, social work educator and researcher, and in several projects related to social work with groups. She was also involved with the project Mentoring Migrants in the Upper Secondary Level Education (MentoMigri) funded by European Social Fund in 2017−2019. The objectives of the project covered migrant students’ better integration in educational services by coaching (vocational) students in upper secondary level education to become mentors for their migrant peers.
The workshop leans on practical experiences and evaluation research of the project Mentoring Migrants on the Upper Secondary Level Education (2017-2019) funded by ESF. The project was conducted by Jyväskylä Educational Consortium Gradia, which is the main provider of upper secondary general (GE) and vocational (VET) education in Central Finland. On one hand, the goal of the project was to develop a mentoring model to build the most effective means to mentor studying migrants in Gradia and, thus, to prevent their educational dropouts. On the other hand, the mentoring model was considered effective in teaching the mentoring and multicultural skills needed in the working life for the mentors, i.e. students from Gradia. From the perspectives of both parties, the goal was to promote two-way integration processes. Three pilots of intercultural mentoring were implemented during the project.
The project was also a part of the ESF-funded TCA project called MeMoRe Mentoring Models for the Integration into the Labor Market of Refugees). While other parties of the TCA project offered more academically-orientated outputs, the MentoMigri project focused on providing grass-root level experiences of intercultural mentoring. In the project, peer mentoring (from student to student) approach was applied so that both mentees and mentors learned and got an opportunity to reflect critically their own views and values via “learning partnership”.
In this workshop, possibilities and challenges of intercultural mentoring in the MentoMigri project are described and critically assessed. The main emphasis is on experiences of the mentors (n=46) and mentees (n=74) involved with the MentoMigri. Participants of the workshop are also invited to share and discuss their experiences and thoughts. Discussion is guided by the following questions:
- What possibilities and challenges relate to intercultural mentoring on the upper
secondary level education?
- What are the implications from both practice and evaluation research for
intercultural mentoring in educational settings?
- How research evidence may influence the practice and vice versa?
- What approaches and practices are needed to fulfil the specific needs of mentees
and mentors, both students, in order to promote two-way integration?
Keywords: intercultural mentoring, peer mentoring, mentoring from student to student, upper secondary level of education.