Learning from Mentors

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Learning from Mentors

Learning from mentors is an important aspect to be considered by any student who wishes to excel in studies. A mentor facilitates the learning process, supervise and assess the progress of students over time. Besides, mentors help in the development of skills and the achievement of competencies upon the completion of a course. A mentor should have the desired qualities that increase the chances of maximizing the learners’ potentials. Some of the attributes include a good listener, knowledgeable, capable of sharing skills and with a good experience in life about the various aspects, which influences the performance of students (Gray & Smith, 2000). Mentors should not act like they know everything because striving for equal perfection by the learners might result in feelings of guilt and frustrations. Displaying warmth, interest and genuineness creates a good environment that gives room for questions and responding in an appropriate manner that can be used to track the progress. According to Lee, Dennis, and Campbell (2007), mentors are supposed to consider themselves as learners who are also passing or sharing knowledge to those in need.

Contributions of J. Freeman

Among the most prominent scholars to delve into the idea of learning from mentors was J. Freeman as he sought the best mechanisms to improve the performance of low ability students (Freeman, 2001). His research proved that even the talented and the gifted children required mentors besides then to maximize their potentials. The government acknowledged the input and began to support the extended learning opportunities by the mentors as one of the best measured to prevent a glass ceiling, curtailing academic progress (Maple & Perdue, 2013). The inclusion of the governments around the world, particularly the developed world, on the role of mentors on learners has made the process to be extensive and complex. There has been since then the formulation of guidelines for the mentors in the field of learning that lay out the codes of conduct, particularly refraining from being disciplinarians or assistants in the classroom (Hobson et al., 2009). Besides, mentors are cautioned against being unrealistic and judgmental.

Theories Supporting Mentorship

Various theories in social sciences can support the idea of learning from mentors. From a social and humanistic theory approach, it is evident that learning takes place best when there is somebody to emulate to gain the desired skills and knowledge to be applied in practice. Mentors are therefore cautioned against harmful attitudes and behaviors because copying might not discriminate the negative traits. Borrowing from the works of Bandura, mentors are supposed to engage the learners in the professional activities through motivation and encouragement because the technique minimizes the possibility of repeating the observed responses unless there are forms of motivation (Gray & Smith, 2000). Behaviorists emphasized the need to have a learning environment that gives room for the acknowledgment of reactions, hence the promotion of operant conditioning (Maple & Perdue, 2013). Whenever the learners are praised by the mentors on good performances, this acts as a motivation to learn new skills, hence a positive reinforcement. To guarantee the success of this theoretical approach, the mentors are supposed to closely monitor the competent behavior as well as the skills that are performed.

Barriers to Mentorship

Failure to have mentors to learn from results in lack of clear goals and a feeling of inferiority as a result of being reserved and having nobody to share experiences with. Parents may hinder mentorship for their children because they may have never used that path to their success. Different backgrounds without the skills to mentor should not hinder parents or caregivers from allowing willing learners to have a mentor. Whenever possible, the elders, whom the learners trust, should be actively involved in the selection of the mentors to limit the chances of having an unreliable and inexperienced person giving pieces of advice (Gray & Smith, 2000). In some instances, caregivers act as mentors who guide their children on the course of life, thus maximizing the chances of success because of the ample time spent together.

The Importance of Mentors

Conclusively, mentors are an integral part of learners who want to emerge as successful in studies and life. It is upon the learner to identify the potential people who can act as a guide in their learning process. The people who qualify to be mentors are further advised on the best form of conduct to ensure that the mentorship brings about a positive impact. Above all the best traits being advocated for by scholars from various schools of thought, being a good listener, having the right attitude towards mentorship and a good experience to draw lessons from tops the list. Besides, it is important for the mentors to display positive behavior to limit the chances of the learners emulating the wrong traits. It is also evident through research that all students are in need of mentorship regardless of the degree of academic capability. A need, therefore, arises for institutions to emphasize on mentorship programs to realize the hidden potentials and guide students towards the most successful career paths.


Freeman, J. (2001). Mentoring gifted pupils: an international view. Educating Able Children, 5,     6-12.

Gray, M. A., & Smith, L. N. (2000). The qualities of an effective mentor from the student nurse’s perspective: findings from a longitudinal qualitative study. Journal of advanced         nursing, 32(6), 1542-1549.

Hobson, A. J., Ashby, P., Malderez, A., & Tomlinson, P. D. (2009). Mentoring beginning        teachers: What we know and what we don't. Teaching and teacher education, 25(1), 207  216.

Lee, A., Dennis, C., & Campbell, P. (2007). Nature's guide for mentors. Nature, 447(7146), 791.

Maple, T. L., & Perdue, B. M. (2013). Behavior analysis and training. In Zoo Animal            Welfare (pp. 119-137). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg

October 30, 2023
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