The only way is ethics…
This post looks at the role of a mentor. To start with, it’s important that we’re clear about what we mean by a mentor. This is someone who is an experienced and trusted advisor; someone who is willing to help other people by sharing their knowledge.
Mentoring is important. It is a responsibility.
For many people the process of learning can be somewhat daunting. The fear of failure is palpable, as is the fear of looking stupid in front of peers or colleagues. But if a learner can’t find a way to be free to ask questions, even if those questions may seem stupid to someone else, then how can they learn? As such, mentors should actively encourage ‘stupid’ questions, in the right environment. The Learning Line is one such environment.
Have you ever thought of acting as a mentor?
Becoming a mentor is an opportunity to share your knowledge, your experience and your skills.
The approach to mentoring that Coracle have taken is driven by our belief that by giving mentors a great deal of independence, we are helping to find the best way for both the mentor and the learner to benefit from your willingness to act as a mentor. We have a guide on being a Mentor here
The shipping industry is one of Coracle’s core market places and we started reaching out to the community in June for new mentors. The replies highlighted an important issue relating to who should be able to act as a mentor and led us to create a Code of Conduct to help everyone stay safe online and to operate within some agreed standards. The Code is not a rule book, it is purely a guide to the standards required by Coracle of mentors. We ask all prospective mentors to read and agree to the Code, confirming acceptance with an online tick box.
Mentors gain access to a range of information about the learners. For example, dashboard reports giving an overview of users as well as their behaviour and progress within a course. This information can be a valuable asset in understanding how to pitch advice to them, but access to the information also puts mentors in a privileged position. This is why we require mentors to sign up to the Code of Conduct.
As learning methods evolved and developed from chalk and talk to tutor supported distance learning, the techniques used came to be viewed by many as somewhat costive. As a learner, if you find some content that you’re uncertain about, firing an email to a tutor may have sounded like a reasonable idea when online learning was in its infancy. In today’s social media driven age and the advent of always connected devices and people, it is no surprise that learners demand more. The Learning Line has powerful commenting and messaging options embedded within activities and our open invitation to (suitably qualified) mentors is part of the solution.
Ultimately the goal of having mentors is to provide a community of support for people who want to learn. We believe that the community is best formed by a diverse range of participants with a broad background of skills. We hold certain values very highly and expect mentors to keep them in mind with others: be efficient, be friendly, be knowledgeable, be professional, be responsible, be trustworthy.
Everyone who uses the Learning Line is an important member of our community. We value and want to assist that community wherever possible.
Lastly, a Code of Conduct may be thought of as a guide to ethics. And that’s somewhere near London isn’t it?!