AbstractThis study sought to determine key elements which contributed to an effective mentoring program for an adult distance learner residing in an area with limited available educational resources. The research was carried out over three months using a participatory action research methodology. The mentee was an adult distance learner living and working in Brunei Darussalam, and aspiring to become a vocational/technical adult trainer. The mentor was an adult educator experienced with mentoring distance learners and with a background in the hospitality industry. The study was carried out as part of the mentor’s professional learning. The mentoring process involved formulating personal vision and action plans; preparations for the mentee’s lessons; lesson observations; and lesson debriefings. The mentoring program culminated in a series of four lessons about pest control presented by the mentee to eight workers employed by a bakery.
Data was collected from written lesson observations, mentee journal entries and other writings, post-program questionnaires and discussions between the mentor and mentee during the program. Data analysis revealed four themes reflecting elements of the program which bore strongly on the program’s effectiveness: (1) sensitivity to educational and cultural context; (2) focus on student learning strategies; (3) moving from a hierarchical to a more collaborative mentoring style; and (4) joint enthusiasm for the program. The study also examined how interiority and reflectivity on the part of the mentor, and emotional intelligence on the parts of both the mentor and the mentee played important roles in directing the mentoring process away from a hierarchical and towards a more collaborative relationship.
On the whole, the mentoring program was effective in helping the mentee to achieve his objectives of improving his teaching strategies and course preparation, enabling him to make progress toward an adult teaching qualification. However, several areas of improvement for the mentoring program were identified. The program designed and implemented in this study reflected most of the elements of educative mentoring, but how these elements were exemplified was affected by the unique context of the study. Implications for theory and practice included the importance of realising that adult education distance learners with limited available educational resources are a unique group for whom mentoring can be very valuable and that further research into mentoring programs for these individuals is needed.
|Date of Award||Sep 2007|