Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Lumiere Education Academy; Mentor and Mentee Lesson One


The five domains of competence which a Mentor can assist a Mentee with are;
Professional and Ethical Practice in the field in which the Mentee is engaging
Holistic approaches to the field of Work of the Mentee, and the Integration of Knowledge
Interpersonal Relationships and how to work within these in the Workplace 
Organisation and Management of the field in which the Mentee is engaging
Personal and Professional Development in the field in which the Mentee is engaging

What does this mean?
Simply this; that the Guide helps the student/mentee with the task of learning about how to be professional in all dealings in the workplace. This entails the student needing to have close familiarity with and good working knowledge of, the Ethical Practices and knowledge base of the work. You cannot work in any field without having good knowledge of that field. For example, a Charity worker needs to know the laws and guidelines under which he or she has based the Charity. The Charity worker has a responsibility to ensure that all the guidelines and laws are followed. 

A Health Professional needs to know the rulings and laws under which he or she must deliver good care. A Priest needs to have a good grasp of Theology, of the teachings of the Bible and of the rules governing priests in the different areas in order to give good pastoral care. A Brick Layer needs to have a good grasp of how to lay bricks safely, in what order, how to lay bricks in tricky areas such as corners and around window frames. The Brick Layer needs how to ensure safety of those working in the workplace and those visiting the work place. A falling brick, unsupervised, can equate disaster. So; the Guide needs to ensure that the student/mentee has good knowledge of the theory and laws around the work.

There is legislation governing practice
- Be aware of legislation
- Have an understanding of legislation
- Know the need to utilise legislation
- In praxis under supervision according to the relevant laws of the field, practise 

Mentor can check back with mentee; how did mentee get on in placements of praxis?
Does the mentee have any issues he or she wants to work with in placements of praxis?

The student needs to have good working knowledge in all areas (holistic) when approaching the field of work. It is of little use to have full knowledge of one area and no knowledge of another area. Only when a student has good grasp of all areas of knowledge, can that student function safely in the field of work. 

For example, an English teacher needs to know about all the parts of speech, not only of some. If an English teacher can teach well about verbs, adverbs, nouns and adjectives; and yet know nothing about prepositions and conjunctions, the English teacher cannot teach effectively (holistically). A whole (complete) education is thus unable to be given. 
If a Charity worker knows how to set up a Bush Clinic but does not know how to check that the way to the newly proposed Clinic is safe e.g. free of minefields, then the worker cannot give holistic (safe and whole) care. If the Priest knows how to give the Sacrament of the Sick to an ill person, but does not know how to organise an interpreter for the sick person who speaks a language unknown to the Priest, the Priest's ministry will not be holistic (effective).

- Learn how to use an appropriate assessment framework for the field of work safely and accurately
- Develop competence in order to carry out actions relating to the field of work
- Learn how to integrate knowledge of assessment frameworks in practice
- Learn how to demonstrate understanding of procedures relevant to the field of work
- Learn how to demonstrate an understanding of standards in relation to the field of work

Ease and ability in interpersonal relationships is essential for the Mentee. It is only when we are able to understand and get along with all genders, nationalities, and have respect for peoples' differing beliefs, that we can be truly effective in our chosen sphere of work. It takes time for us to learn all facets on how to get on with others, and to learn about our own patterns of behaviour in the workplace. As time goes on and we have more experience, we learn how to interact more effectively with others in the workplace. A working knowledge of psychology or counselling can be most helpful for the Mentee in learning to interact more effectively and with ease in the workplace. For example, a Career Professional who was in a bombing situation in the past will cope better in the working environment if he or she is aware that loud noises can tend to make him or her jumpy. Another example; if someone in the workplace has been the victim of violence, this can affect him or her if they come up against a bullying situation or a situation in which someone else has been the victim of violence.

- Be aware of the importance of communication and interpersonal skills in interactions
- utilise knowledge of personal communication techniques in practice
- Integrate differing communication techniques in your practice 
- Communicate effectively with people needing your service, and members of your team
- Evidence; demonstrate an awareness of how effective communication skills promote the development of relationships in the workplace

The person guided needs to find ways in which to organise the work and manage his or her work related duties. This relates also to time management. What does this mean? Simply put, when a mentee walks into the workplace, he or she may be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of what is expected to be done within the time framework of the shift. There are excellent ways in which to plan the work of the day or the night. The Mentor can help the mentee explore his or her own personal way of effectively planning how to organise and manage the expected work of the day. 

Organisation and management, together with time management, was taught to small members of our families from the earliest opportunity. Much of this related to practical learning received through family tradition, from our forebears' experience in their different work and home life fields.
One example of this is from the history of bakers in the Nooij and Whittle families from whom I come. 
Mom always tells the story of my Dutch Grandad who had a very good system of making sure that all the uncountable loaves of bread were ready and delivered at the correct time in the morning. 
Oupa Gerard Nooij (my maternal grandad) used to get up early. He used to work hard. He organised that all his flour and baking needs (in huge amounts) were spotlessly clean and ready for the next day - before he went off his present day's work. That meant that at 2 or 3am the next morning, all was ready as he walked in the door, and he could start work swiftly and efficiently. 
Oupa used to work very hard, having ensured that the ovens were stoked and hot really early. Then he would take care of his body, mind and soul and would have a break between bakes. A bake was a batch of bread that had been put in the oven, and took a half hour to bake. Oupa would then go out into the street, and just be calm.

This had unexpected bonuses. One Sunday morning in Amsterdam as he had his work break, he and his unmarried sister stood together outside. A carriage swept over the cobblestones towards them, and they saw Queen Wilhelmina and Princess Juliana in the carriage on their way to Church. My great aunt curtsied, my grandad bowed from the waist down, and the Queen waved as Princess Juliana laughed and waved. A lovely story indeed.

When all the bakes were done, Oupa used to deliver the bread. He had a system there too. Oupa had the physique of a young man, and arms of steel. Hefting massive trays of loaves and baking as he did, Oupa had no need of a gym or daily exercises. Part of his work organisation was ensuring his exercise while he worked To this day I walk if possible instead of using the stairs. I walk to pick up something I need rather than phone or ask someone else to do it. I bend down as much as possible during the course of my work, and ensure I get a little work break. It is my strong belief that good organisation and management of the field of work requires forethought; good training; preparation; hard work; pleasant manners and good exercise while working.

Once in a field of work, we need to have a plan as to what we wish to do with our career. This is called Career Management, or personal and professional management. We plan our career ladder, what our career goals are and how we wish to achieve them.  As Mentor, we know that sometimes our career management plan can hit a hiccup. Life does not always go as planned. We may be in a work contentedly for many years, and then realise that we now wish to change to a different field of work. We may become pregnant, and have a special needs child who needs more of our time at home for care. We may experience ill health, affecting our present work's prospects. Whatever the trigger, our life undergoes many twists and turns. But it is precisely these twists and turns which help to forge the character we become.

As Mentor, how do we encourage our Mentee with their personal and professional management? We can encourage our mentee to plan a system of study that will ensure he or she will be able to earn sufficient income. Sufficient income ensures good and healthy accomodation, and empowers the mentee to be able to give good care to his or her family. 

Personal and Professional Management also requires that the mentee is thoroughly equipped through career plan to be able to give a solid and confident service.  For example, a Priest cannot hope to give good guidance if the Priest does not study further. Thorough study by the Priest is needed to ensure that good and sound theological guidance is given when called upon. An Optician cannot ensure good sight to another if he or she has not ensured good personal education in Optician services. A Firefighter cannot save lives if good professional Firefighting training has not been undergone. 

It is also important to ensure that the mentee has work that gives personal satisfaction.
A good lesson I received  in personal and professional management was in India. I was walking along a winding path in a rural area where many villagers were bending over in the softly falling rain, tending their crops. They had woven baskets over their heads and backs, which served to keep the rain from them as they toiled for many hours. They saw me, and hailed us. They excitedly took a work break to chat about their lives with me. As my friends acted as interpreters, one crop tender said to me, 'This is our life,' and pointed to the crop. The excitement, pride and happiness as he and his villagers took in the neatly tended crops, the clean village, the beautifully groomed water buffaloes contentedly swishing their tails in their rain free enclosure, the smoke from the fires where the home workers cooked the chappatti and made the chai they would soon enjoy, were a revelation to me. All of this took time, management; pride in occupation. And all of this put the food on my table which kept the life in me, gave me enjoyment and health, and helped to keep me strong to carry out my daily work. The joy in those workers' faces made me realise; it is important to do work we both enjoy and have pride in. Otherwise our work is no longer personal and professional management; it is a drudgery.

Best wishes as you assist your mentees with the Five Domains of Competence!

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