Experienced teachers (mentors) across the EU continue developing mentoring skills to support novice teachers

NEST is a two-year professional development programme for experienced teachers at disadvantaged schools. The aim of the programme is to train these teachers in mentoring skills so that they can provide professionalized support to novice teachers within their schools.

During 2022-2023 school year, mentors accompany a new cohort of novice teachers, who have newly arrived to their schools.

What is the NEST approach? – The training programme

Professional classroom observation and feedback cycles 

NEST mentors support their mentees through classroom observations, followed by mentoring conversations. These mentoring conversations take place once every trimester with each mentee.
In these conversations, mentees share and develop a vision for their students, receive feedback based on evidence, reflect on their strengths and areas for growth as teachers and set new steps to grow towards their vision. 

Competence framework 

The competencies of an effective mentor, include not only skills and mindsets, but also the ability to mobilize psychosocial resources such as attitudes, routines, thoughts and mindsets (OECD, 2005).  

Throughout the programme, mentors develop mentoring skills such as active listening, guiding towards concrete steps, giving specific feedback and giving a facilitative support. 

Methodological model

NEST methodological model takes advantage of multiple methodologies, such as dual training (theory & practice), peer learning, and learning personalisation. The whole program is designed according to the  principles of adult learning, in order to maximize their effectiveness and applicability.

Flipped virtual classroom

Part of the training is done through a virtual classroom, which allows participants to always have access to the content and to work on it according to their needs and time availability. In the virtual classroom, mentors can explore different resources before synchronous sessions, where these inputs are reviewed and understanding is deepened.
Peer learning

Once every two months, online practice sessions with peers are held. In these sessions, mentors practice different mentoring techniques through case studies, roleplays, mentoring conversation videos and coaching demonstrations.
In addition, sessions provide a flexible space to share learning related to the online content in the virtual classroom, generate discussions around it, and share reflections. 

During these sessions, mentors receive evidence-based feedback on their practice and will map out next steps to include in subsequent observation and feedback cycles with their mentees.

These sessions model  spaces for work, collaboration, and peer support. The ultimate goal is that this culture of work and collaboration generated in the NEST programme is then transferred to the schools in which they work.

Learning personalization

A very important part of the NEST programme consists in the accompaniment of a NEST tutor who will mentor them throughout the competence development process. These tutors are professional experts in adult mentoring and competence development as well as experts in education in disadvantaged environments.

A way to autonomous mentoring 

In the first year observation and feedback cycles of the course, mentors were accompanied by a NEST tutor, who helped prepare the mentoring conversations and  gave  feedback on the mentors’ intervention. 

During the second year, mentors do classroom observations and mentoring conversation planning autonomously. NEST tutors do online observations of the mentoring conversations and give concrete feedback afterwards. 

We are proud of a cohort of mentors who will help novice  teachers at disadvantaged schools become more effective educators through context-based mentoring!.

Further Reading
Rychen D.,Hersh, L.(2000)A Contribution of the OECD Program Definition and Selection of Competencies: Theoretical and Conceptual Foundations Definition and Selection of Key Competencies https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/0e68/bea4cdad0c35fad9c3fee9e586e2bba61204.pdf

Brightmorning, The principles of adult learning https://brightmorningteam.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Principles-of-Adult-Learning.pdf