Mentoring is usually defined as a relationship where the mentor provides guidance, advice, support and feedback to the mentee. The Be You Action Team Handbook encourages a collaborative partnership across the whole learning community. The Be You Action Team is seen as encouraging, motivating and co-ordinating the implementation process.
ACECQA’s recently released The Educational Leader Resource sees mentoring as 'an extension of the building of supportive relationships with teams based on trust and a shared goal of improving practice’.
What will mentoring look like in practice?
The Educational Leader Resource introduces an Educational Leadership Model with four key elements that can help develop the mentoring role:
Whilst the Action Team need to be able to guide and answer questions around Be You they do not need to be experts. Within Be You knowledge is supported for the whole learning community with a Professional Learning Framework, Fact Sheets, access to online Events, Tools and Guides and Always Be You resources.
Engaging with an online community through Be You supports professionalism, networking and critical reflection. In both The Educational Leader Resource and Be You, collaboration and consultation with a wide range of stakeholders is seen as critical to the success of the mentoring role.
Critical reflection and professional conversations occur when the Action Team see themselves as part of a community of learners where educators value their colleagues as resources, taking the time to share experiences, learnings, ideas and innovations.
Relationships, particularly relational trust, as referred to in The Educational Leader Resource are critical to mentoring. When educators take the time to help each other they feel free to engage in reflective practice and embrace and influence change.
The Action Team can achieve this through:
- One on one conversations to identify priorities– Be You Educator Surveys also provide a means to ‘hear’ educators
- Building a Community of Practice with shared language and understandings with respectful professional conversations. Access the Be You Share and Extend Guide for ideas
- The Educational Leader Resource urges mentors to act as role models of reciprocal, reflective, respectful and responsive relationships. Learnings from the Connect module can be adapted and applied here.
- Central to Be You is Educator Wellbeing and the need for strong relationships both personal and professional as a protective factor.
Included in the Educational Leader Resource is the expectation that the organisational leader / manager will support educators practically with time, professional development and resources as well as mentoring and coaching.
Participating Be You services have access to Consultants for coaching and mentoring the Action Team Leader. The Be You Reflection Tool helps Action Teams consider whether they have the necessary supports in place from organisational leaders for successful implementation and continuous quality improvement.
Into the future
The Educational Leader Resource explores ongoing professional learning and development for the Educational Leader as this role is as much about learning as about leading. One suggestion is to become a pilot service for a new approach.