Input provided by Berenika Kusová & Markéta Michalcová, students in BA Humanities students at Charles University

Edited by Erika Irabor & Mattia Troiano

The student lab at Mentoring Europe has collected inputs from two international students who joined the EMS 2022 and have provided inputs on the workshops they have attended throughout the three-day summit. The following paragraphs are testimonials from two Czech bachelor’s students followed by a summary of the workshop sessions they attended. For this blog post, they have summarised the workshop session: How to help mentors to work on educational objectives within the framework of mentoring with children and youngsters. After the summary, the two students shared their personal perspectives on how the workshop they had the chance to follow.

How to help mentors to work on educational objectives within the framework of mentoring with children and youngsters

Organisation: Afev, ES

Facilitators: Nuria Bienvenido and Joke Aerts

AFEV Spain developed mentoring projects from a holistic perspective, using mentoring relationships as a means for children and youngsters to develop academic skills, personal autonomy, language, social skills, and more in general to support them according to the specific needs of the identified target group or groups.

They approach the relationship in a holistic context, making sure to collaborate with mentors, families, schools, universities, social services. The aim in this sense is to involve all actors and stakeholders that can contribute to make mentoring experiences or projects effective in their envisaged scope. In that context, they have translated this scientific evidence into working definitions of the educational objectives that they want to develop in mentoring relationships, testifying the benefit of an evidence-informed practice of mentoring. Or as in the Mentoring Europe community they would say, by bringing together a mutually beneficial exchange between research and practice.

The pursued educational objectives that AFEV Spain maintains at the core of its work are the improvement of youngsters’ self-esteem and motivation, the provision of a better and more effective academic orientation, the prevention or mitigation of school dropouts, and socio-economic isolation, also by challenging rooted critical view towards others and thus promotion of diversity also through the improvement of youngsters’ language skills. In the AFEV Spain model, mentors and mentees meet once a week for two hours for one year. At the beginning of this relationship, they don’t know each other and therefore they both start from scratch in a mutual discovery and getting to know process which becomes a stimulus for commitment and ongoing inspiration throughout the year, not only for mentees but also for mentors.

Their website offers a library of very useful tools and best practices they have been working with to achieve the broad set of objectives mentioned above. There are cards for every envisaged objective, and most of the time tools to facilitate processes that take place in institutions like schools, unable often to make class migration or level transition smooth experiences. The website also offers many activities that mentors and mentees can do to get to know each other and grow together. What surprised me the most among the vast inspiring take-aways from this workshop, is that, as workshop givers have emphasised, at the beginning of each year of the programme mentors do not know anything about their mentees, so they both start their journey together from the very same start!

At the end of this workshop, and after presenting the theory and practices of their mentoring programmes, we in the audience were asked to participate in discussions emerging from their activity cards, those same cards that mentors and mentees can use to start getting to know and discover more about each other. Inspiring discussions emerged and the idea of making the cards available in English was launched. So we look forward to seeing such a possible tool available to the broader European network of fellow mentoring programmes!