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 “mentoring for school success”. After the summary, the two students shared their personal perspectives on how the workshop they had the chance to follow.

Mentoring for school success

Organisation: University of Applied Sciences Rotterdam, NL

Facilitator/s: Loïs Schenk, Margriet Clement and Patrick Sins.

Mentors of Rotterdam is a school-based programme that connects yearly 1500 students at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Erasmus University Rotterdam, and vocational studies as a student-mentor to more than 1500 mentees of primary and secondary schools. The programme lasts 20 weeks. During this time, mentors help mentees mainly with future career orientation, based on their talents, ambitions, and indeed personal development goals beyond technical skills growth. These latter include interpersonal skills, self-confidence, study skills, and many more, always mentees centred.

The core question at the heart of the project and thus this EMS2022 workshop is: how can student mentors support career orientation purposes of fellow students, i.e. their mentees? As usually happens in mentoring, the workshop givers have emphasised that there are more answers to this question. Student mentors can contribute to the career orientation of mentees by providing an understanding of the school system, requirements, and possibilities, understanding of own abilities, strengths, but also challenges, and areas of improvements and growth still to be explored. By aiming at boosting mentees’ confidence in themselves so as to make them gain a more positive personal representation and identification of themselves in the present but also of course in their future. Mentors are interested in mentees and focus on their interests.

This research is still at the beginning, it will develop, implement, and evaluate an evidence-informed Mentors of Rotterdam approach aimed at effectively improving mentees’ self-regulated learning. There will be interviews with mentors and mentees about their relationship and about the toolbox they used. There will be interviews with mentors and mentees about their relationship and about the toolbox they used.

During the workshop, after a more theory-focused initial part, presentation hosts asked us to concretely take part in one activity that the organisation employs as a tool to facilitate and make mentoring matches, namely the Motivation Thermometer. Thisis used for gaining insights into the processes that increase or decrease the motivation of pupils and into the steps that they can take to ultimately reach their goal. Mentoring practitioners draw a thermometer with a scale division of 0-10 and they put on the scale answers to the five questions about motivation. The most attention was caught by question number 5: what have you already achieved in life?

Some attendees found perhaps such question too distant from young people. Despite its simple concept, such activity was both challenging and very inspiring from my own personal perspective as the identification of already achieved goals at such a young age might still represent an important challenge.

I have incredibly appreciated the engagement that the activity and the hosts have required us as well as the ongoing interaction with questions from the audience they have allowed.