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WORKSHOP 3, 15th June 2024

33 participants (Ps) took part in Workshop 3. The timing of the workshop turned out to coincide with some participants’ commitments following teaching (e.g. the state matura exam, school excursions, Erasmus+ project trips).

The aims of this workshop were the following:

to deepen Ps’ experiential learning about mentor roles: educator, support, acculturator, model and sponsor (Malderez, 2023)
to process Ps’ learning about, and experiences of, mentoring
to consolidate the group by enabling contact, sharing and support.
Agenda for the day
10:00 - 11:30
Session 1: Recapping past learning & experiencing SIRP
11:30 - 12:00
Lunch break
12:00 - 13:15
SESSION 2: Reflecting on SIRP experiences through arts-based reflection
13:15 - 13:30
Coffee break
13:30 - 14:30
SESSION 3: Wrapping up and where to next?
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SESSION 1: Recapping past learning & experiencing SIRP

1. We first said our hellos and learnt some more colleagues’ names. Ps created and shared name tags with their first names and an adjective describing them starting in the first letter of their first name – e.g. eclectic Elena
2. Elena reminded the group of the ways of working on the project (hands-on experiential learning, not lectures!) which align with the group’s shared goals:
learning through collaboration, fun, support and reflection in order to self-motivate and make a difference in education and society
3. Elena recapped some of the group’s past brainstorming:
Professionals… learn, scaffold, reflect, support
Mentors… educate, support, acculturate, model, sponsor
Mentors don’t… judge, tell (unless asked)
Mentors need to know… how students learn, how teachers learn, how to identify needs, how to support development in context-sensitive ways
Elena discussed with the group some reflections on SIRP aka Five Steps experiences, as suggested in Ps’ reports (note that the same issue sometimes appears both in the Benefits and in the Challenges column!):
SIRP aka Five Steps experiences
Emotional offloading in mentees (Step 1 usually about something that triggers emotional response)
Difficult for mentors to keep quiet [cf. research suggests animals are particularly good at offering support to humans by simply being there, not by e.g. trying to take their owners’ minds off from what’s bothering them or suggesting that they forget about what happened and moving on!]
In-depth analysis to develop habit of reflection
Why focus only on one episode at a time?
It takes time to get at Step 5, but that makes the process rewarding
Time consuming
SIRP helps mentors grow as people, not only as teachers
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Other issues/ideas discussed in the group:
To tell a broader story at Step 1 or just keep to the episode that puzzled us? - Sometimes mentees are unsure about what they want to talk about and it’s worthwhile for mentors to hear a longer description of the lesson to help them identify a focus, usually what may have caused an emotional reaction in them. So, perfectly fine for mentee to recap the whole lesson if they can’t think of a focus straight away!
At Step 2, some mentors found it useful to prompt their mentees to put themselves in their learners’ shoes so to explore more possible explanations
Chatting asynchronously to do the Five Steps? Experiences were shared of the benefits of async mentoring (e.g. slows down thinking, gives mentees more time to process things) as well as of potential drawbacks (e.g. difficult to immerse oneself fully in a discussion if it’s being broken up; losing track of important points as time goes by)
The status of ‘advice’ in mentoring - more useful when it’s solicited by the mentee, rather than being offered by the mentor prematurely thus preventing mentee agency. We discussed the difference between ‘social’ help (e.g. when we help someone with their bags, i.e. doing the task for them), as opposed to ‘pedagogical’ help (when we want to teach someone do the task for themselves). Pedagogical help may take time (like SIRP does!), but helps develop learnacy and self-motivation; social help might not. (Also, think about how irritating it is to be given social help when we don’t need it!) This distinction might help us make sense of our, essentially social, readiness to offer quick solutions to people, i.e. do the work for them because it’s considered a nice thing to do. However, if the mentee is told that the mentor will be looking to help primarily pedagogically rather than socially, they might be more appreciative of mentors’ mainly listening role, and more focused on learning how to be self-sufficient.
A brief review of potentially useful literature was displayed as cards on the wall for teachers to refer to, if relevant, while SIRPing:
Ps to also check out Elena’s summary of and
4. Ps engaged in SIRP in groups of three: mentor, mentee, observer - observers’ roles were to (1) monitor the use of mentor roles (incl. 10-20% mentor talking time!) and (2) to help the pair with any literature, if invited.

SESSION 2: Reflecting on SIRP experience through arts-based reflection

Working with old newspapers and magazines, Ps used rip-and-paste collage to express their thoughts on mentoring, being mentored or observing mentoring with SIRP in Session 1.
Ps worked in six groups: two mentor, two mentee and two observer groups. Observers worked on the Do-s and Don’t-s of mentoring, after one participant, following Workshop 2, suggested such a poster might be helpful visual support for mentors.
This was followed by presentations of the six groups’ collages and group discussion - see the recorded presentations in
The main themes from the discussion were:
the intertwining learning experiences that mentoring makes possible, with both mentor and mentee learning in the process - and for mentors of new teachers to feel ‘younger’ in the process!
the importance of empathy for mentors while listening
the quick thinking required of mentors, when invited to chip in
the feelings of calm in mentees following a successful processing of their experiences in a mentorial
the importance of regular practice, as suggested by lots of ‘old-fashioned’ (?) weaving metaphors and some ‘modern’ fitness metaphors, the idea being that mentoring and reflection are developed through practice
the opportunities Ps have of nurturing their professionalism (’care’) on the project, especially when surrounded by other colleagues who so obviously care.

SESSION 3: Wrapping up and where to next?

So far, Ps used SIRP and a pre-lesson mentorial protocol (Malderez, 2023). Since the group is no longer teaching for the summer, we agreed to try out a new, year-in-review mentoring protocol developed in collaboration with Angi Malderez - see for all the information about this task (deadline: 15th July 2024)
We then discussed Ps’ contributions to our project publication. Following the year-in-review mentorial, Ps are to reflect on the project experiences so far, i.e. what it means to (be) mentor(ed) and write, if they like, short contributions so as to share their insights with a wider audience (deadline: 15th July 2024) - more on this in
Finally, we discussed how MMM can develop going forward. In the short term, we thought about putting up a multimedia exhibition of our project work (e.g. rip-and-paste collages, including mentee Do-s and Don’t-s, video testimonials - perhaps combined into a little documentary film, comics of memorable/funny mentoring situations) and writing about the project to spread the work internationally. In the longer term, we discussed ways in which we can use the learning from the MMM project in regular education (e.g. talking to the Ministry of Education, including about policy). This brainstorming is very much work in progress, so please email Elena if you have any other ideas:
We agreed that Workshop 4 will be held on 24th August 2024 (Saturday) from 10am at Blaze Koneski Faculty of Philology.
We rounded off the workshops by Ps sharing their reactions to Workshop 3 - please see the full list of reactions, not ordered in any particular way, in:
It looks like we ticked off the main group goals (learning, collaboration, fun, support, reflection, self-motivation) as reviewed at the start of the workshop:
learning through collaboration, fun, support and reflection in order to self-motivate and make a difference in education and society
What is yet to be ticked off is ‘just’ to make a difference in education and society through our hard work on (supporting) reflection. Good luck, everyone! :)

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