Who benefits the most from mentorship?

In a recent study coming from USA’s National Bureau of Economic Research a lot has been discussed about mentoring where it explores who are the people who benefit the most out of it. The paper goes on to say that selection for mentoring programs need to be diversified further and where demographics and personality of mentees should not be the sole criterion for selection. How does this pan out in the Indian context and outside the workplace?

In the Indian education system, for students it’s the teachers who are their mentors and for many teachers it’s the senior teachers and principals who mentor them throughout their years at the institution. Who benefits from these relationships? 

Just like organisations benefit largely from mentoring programs as they make it more inclusive and promote upskilling, the education sector too can benefit the most from mentoring programs where teachers mentor students and get mentored by their seniors and principals. How would this happen? It will promote the values of individual promotion and growth, which is needed for any education to create its value in today’s times. In Indian mythology-Mahabharata, Arjuna and Krishna are always considered a great example of mentor-mentee relationship, where Krishna helps Arjuna find its real potential and cause for life. That’s what a mentor does—helps the mentee find its goal for life.

A principal or coordinator who leads its teachers to achieve their goals shows more greater academic performance of the school than a principal who drives the teachers to only focus on academic success based on the syllabus discussed. A senior teacher helps the younger one settle in the culture of the education institution and helps them find their place in meetings and institution programs. A teacher in Navi Mumbai shares how she has benefited from the trust shared by her seniors in a “Palak initiative” where the teacher mentor’s young children in the school through admissions to college admissions. An organisation with such values be it at workplace or education can only find success. Yes, academic success is focused a lot, but it’s the success of every individual in these institutions finding their true potential is the key. 

It is being questioned many times today if the teachers in today’s times go out of their way to ensure the child learns beyond the classrooms. In the Covid-19 times we saw this, many teachers went out of their way to support their students to connect and have access to online learning including materials even if that meant the teachers’ photocopying the textbooks and ensuring the students get the PDF to read from. Many teachers even provided food relief to their students. Many tutors gave up their fees to ensure students keep learning through their online tutoring platforms which they learnt only to adapt to the pandemic needs of their students and their families. This is mentoring so these students and their families ensure no child is left behind when it comes to learning.

The current education system needs to promote this mentor-mentee relationship further. There are many challenges in our education system that only promote excellence, we need to ensure we see this excellence in all our teachers and students, who have been constrained due to our expectations and pressures for immediate solutions. We need to make systematic progress which can be witnessed with focusing on student’s motivation, concentration and reducing forgetfulness and challenging with a pedagogy which is focused on student’s personalised needs and level. A mentoring relationship can promote this renewed guru-shikshak relationship that we have seen in ancient India and its benefit to the growth of the country. 

At Dynamind we are promoting these mentor-mentee relationships in our education system and want everyone to be empowered so they can reach beyond.  

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