Makassar, South Sulawesi - As a mentoring lecturer giving guidance to students during their teaching practicums, I thought at first that the role of a mentoring lecturer was to find mistakes or shortcomings when students conducted their teaching practicums in schools. This understanding changed when I explored the importance and role of mentoring during student teaching practicums. I got this inspiration after having participated in USAID PRIORITAS training.
The essence of mentoring is that we (the mentors) can assist the mentees (students undertaking teaching practicums) to learn to identify their strengths and weaknesses when conducting lessons. The following are the five steps of mentoring that I use.
1. Mentoring Lecturer Gives Appreciation
At the beginning of mentoring, I compliment the student on positive things that I have observed. The purpose is to make the student more motivated and comfortable with the mentoring process. For example, “I as a mentor for the teaching practicum like the way you teach. At the start of the lesson I see that you introduced some play in order to prepare the students to sit in groups. When giving tasks for the core activity, you not only gave verbal explanations but also backed it up in writing through the use of a projector. The student work sheets also included the instructions for the activity so that the students understood well the task that they had to perform. Then, in the closing activity, you not only drew conclusions together with the students, but you also handed out pieces of paper for the students to write down whether they were happy or not happy with the lesson and give their reasons. Your method of teaching is already quite good and encourages the enthusiasm of the students to learn.”
2. The Mentee (student) Undertakes his/her Own Critical Reflection
Next, I give the student an opportunity to make critical reflections on the lesson he/she has just taught. For example, “According to you, which parts of the lesson just now that have already been successful and which still need improvements? Why so?”
3. The Mentee Plans Own Improvement
In the third step, I give the student an opportunity to suggest his/her own improvements in teaching the lesson. For example, “When you teach again, what will you do to ensure that the same problems will not occur again? Why will you do that?”
4. The Mentor gives Recommendations, Suggestions or Discusses Points that could Improve the Quality of the Lesson
After the student explains his or her ideas on how to improve the lesson, I give my recommendations and suggestions or invite the student have a discussion to find out ways to improve quality of the lesson. For example, ”I observed that during the lesson just now you mainly used the text book. How about using alternative learning media including the school environment to help the students understand the lesson material better and in order to enrich the students' learning by using alternative information sources?”
5. Developing a Follow-Up Plan
Following on from the fourth step, I give an opportunity to the student to suggest his/her follow-up plan for improving his / her teaching. For example, “What do you need to do next?”
With this kind of mentoring, the student will recognize his/her own capabilities and become motivated to make improvements, as well as to make development based on his/her own ideas rather once that are imposed on him/her by the mentor.
Widya Karmila Sari Achmad, a lecturer on Teacher Education for Primary Schools at the State University of Makassar.