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C ENTRE FOR E XCELLENCE IN T EACHING & L EARNING A SSESSMENT FOR L EARNING Becoming a Peer Mentor: Student Perspectives Kay Sambell and Peter Beven Northumbria.

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Presentation on theme: "C ENTRE FOR E XCELLENCE IN T EACHING & L EARNING A SSESSMENT FOR L EARNING Becoming a Peer Mentor: Student Perspectives Kay Sambell and Peter Beven Northumbria."— Presentation transcript:

1 C ENTRE FOR E XCELLENCE IN T EACHING & L EARNING A SSESSMENT FOR L EARNING Becoming a Peer Mentor: Student Perspectives Kay Sambell and Peter Beven Northumbria Conference 2008 C ENTRE FOR E XCELLENCE IN T EACHING & L EARNING A SSESSMENT FOR L EARNING

2 C ENTRE FOR E XCELLENCE IN T EACHING & L EARNING A SSESSMENT FOR L EARNING The Context: BA Joint Honours Framework at Northumbria University Students choose two “part- routes” from a range of options: Advice Guidance and Counselling (AGC), Childhood Studies, Care and Education of Young Children, Disability Studies, Health Studies, Professional Practice Studies Currently 150 in the first year of the Programme across all part routes.

3 C ENTRE FOR E XCELLENCE IN T EACHING & L EARNING A SSESSMENT FOR L EARNING Advice Guidance and Counselling Interdisciplinary Models and modes of helping (mentoring one example) The social, cultural, legislative context

4 C ENTRE FOR E XCELLENCE IN T EACHING & L EARNING A SSESSMENT FOR L EARNING Mentoring Benefits: evidence from the literature Behavioural Attitudinal Health related Relational Motivational Career Larger effect sizes are detected for academic and workplace mentoring compared to youth Source: Eby et al (2007)

5 C ENTRE FOR E XCELLENCE IN T EACHING & L EARNING A SSESSMENT FOR L EARNING Mentoring: Sharing and relating to experience of learning Amongst others, Bauman (2000) points to how people increasingly favour experience over expertise. There is, he argues a tension between learning from experience and learning from expertise. Experience feels recognisable, accessible and verifiable; expertise can seem contrived, complicated and remote (Law, 2006). Another finding consistent with this hypothesis comes from researcher Sara Bosley (2004). She finds that learners show a particular interest in the help they get from experienced learners and workers they actually meet. There are two valued aspects here- they accord credibility to the person’s “insider knowledge” and they value the way the contact resonates with their own experience

6 C ENTRE FOR E XCELLENCE IN T EACHING & L EARNING A SSESSMENT FOR L EARNING Benefits for Mentors Much of mentoring literature describes potential mentee benefits but clear that mentors gain from the experience too. (Allen & Eby, 2003; Chandler & Kram, 2005; Feldman, 1988; Kram, 1985) Our student peer mentoring project provides insights into the opportunity for self assessment afforded by the process

7 C ENTRE FOR E XCELLENCE IN T EACHING & L EARNING A SSESSMENT FOR L EARNING ‘Learning-oriented assessment’ (Carless, Joughin & Mok, 2006) HE currently looking for ways in which assessment can be constructed to maximise meaningful student learning ‘Learning-oriented assessment’ implies assessment tasks that: – Promote learning needed for workplace – Involve students in processes that promote skills and dispositions of lifelong learning (e.g. self and peer assessment to promote learning) – See ‘feedback as feed forward’- impact on future tasks

8 C ENTRE FOR E XCELLENCE IN T EACHING & L EARNING A SSESSMENT FOR L EARNING (Re)defining self assessment Growing body of research focusing on use of self, peer and co assessment as way of engaging students in learning-teaching- assessment dynamic – Sambell & McDowell,2006; Orsmond et al, 1996; Boekaerts & Minneart, 2003, Rust, O’Donovan & Price, 2005, Sambell & Beven (2008). “…self-assessment by pupils, far from being a luxury, is in fact an essential component of formative assessment. When anyone is trying to learn, feedback about the effort has three elements: redefinition of the desired goal, evidence about present position, and some understanding of a way to close the gap between the two. All three must be understood to some degree by anyone before he or she can take action to improve learning. (Emphasis in original.) (Black & Wiliam, 1998, 143)

9 C ENTRE FOR E XCELLENCE IN T EACHING & L EARNING A SSESSMENT FOR L EARNING Student Mentoring -What happened?… Each year all 150 first year students given the opportunity of mentorship Mentors are 2 nd and 3 rd Year Advice Guidance and Counselling Students Preparation of 1 st year students, 2 nd and 3 rd Year AGC Students Students organised the available space Two mentoring weeks arranged, one in November and a follow up week in March

10 C ENTRE FOR E XCELLENCE IN T EACHING & L EARNING A SSESSMENT FOR L EARNING Student Voices…..

11 C ENTRE FOR E XCELLENCE IN T EACHING & L EARNING A SSESSMENT FOR L EARNING Developing evaluative expertise: evidence about present position – “ What I found was I was quite surprised at the amount of experience I did have to pass on. Because obviously it's not so long ago that I was there where they were and you don't realise how much you have learned, you don't realise how far you have come, and how much you have achieved, because when you are living it you still think you're still the same person, but really you have grown and you don't realise how much, how you have changed in a positive way. Where at one time I would have said I could never help anyone, now I realise of course I can, I have this experience and I was able to pass that on”.

12 C ENTRE FOR E XCELLENCE IN T EACHING & L EARNING A SSESSMENT FOR L EARNING Developing evaluative expertise: redefining desired goal – “Acting as a Mentor helped me recap what we had done in the first week, as well. And it sort of jogged our memories, and it made us think about the things we might have to put in our assignments. You see, I’m thinking about how it helped me- not them. Like a self- review. I’m not thinking about the first years, I’m thinking about the fact the posters help me to get clear in my mind the sort of things I might want to talk about in my own assignment, which is on being a learning mentor”.

13 C ENTRE FOR E XCELLENCE IN T EACHING & L EARNING A SSESSMENT FOR L EARNING Offering feedback: different approaches to tasks ‘We knew we had themes that needed to be in the poster, that we could relate to the mentoring, so that was good in that way wasn’t it, so you know we had to have, what happened first, that we had the clouds of confusion and it was good that it was put into practical sense rather than just academic speak so I thought it was very useful.’ “Each member of the group had an entirely different and very strong opinion on the mentoring role and how the candidates should be approached. And we spent an awful lot of time debating, a long, long time, prior to the actual day of the mentoring, debating how you should do it, what we should do”..

14 C ENTRE FOR E XCELLENCE IN T EACHING & L EARNING A SSESSMENT FOR L EARNING Authentic assessment “That word mentoring to me meant something different then to what it does now, having been involved with it….Mentoring, I thought it was something that an expert did, somebody who had loads and loads of experience, loads of knowledge, maybe at an academic level, for me it meant somebody who could really offer something and for me that was something that they would have had to have gone through to get that, do you know what I mean? And now having done it I realise that the little experiences that people go through in life, even as, not simple but straightforward as going to university, can offer a great deal of valuable information to somebody else, even on a small scale”.

15 C ENTRE FOR E XCELLENCE IN T EACHING & L EARNING A SSESSMENT FOR L EARNING Promoting learning “I had to consider my pace of delivery, logical structure and the level of the content as well because I thought ‘these people have already had overload, I don’t want them coming to me to have that scenario again’, so that was another concern. And I was very aware of the role of power in the mentoring relationship as well, I didn't want somebody to come thinking that I was going to dictate to them and tell them what they should be doing or whatever, generally I wouldn't do that anyway but I didn't want somebody coming to me thinking that's how it was going to be based. I didn't want to portray a hierarchical or directive relationship, I wanted to be on a level, on an even keel. So they were all of the concerns initially and then that takes me on to the benefits. Now the benefits were many, it turned out very, very well, I really enjoyed the mentoring and I believe it was successful with the two people that I mentored”.

16 C ENTRE FOR E XCELLENCE IN T EACHING & L EARNING A SSESSMENT FOR L EARNING Skills for lifelong learning and workplace “I think I'm quite excited about doing my reflection because I'm quite interested in finding out more about it, and I think in the sort of jobs I’m going to look for as well, especially with it being in my third year so I've got it fresh in my mind I can use that experience to say I've had experience in helping people in certain ways and giving information and offering advice, whilst letting them do their own thing at the same time”.

17 C ENTRE FOR E XCELLENCE IN T EACHING & L EARNING A SSESSMENT FOR L EARNING Impact on learning: self assessment “Being involved in this pilot Mentorship programme was definitely a learning experience for me. It was not until this point that I realised just how far I had grown, not just academically but personally. Prior to attending the first meeting I was nervous about not having any worthwhile experience to pass on; taking part in this mentorship has really highlighted how experienced I am as a student and as a potential employee. Through passing on my experience to Year One students I really learned about myself.”

18 C ENTRE FOR E XCELLENCE IN T EACHING & L EARNING A SSESSMENT FOR L EARNING Assessing Distance Travelled “It was also very beneficial for those involved from a mentoring perspective as many of us were unaware as to how much progress we had made on our own professional development while at university outside of our academic assessments”


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