BROWNS Collaborate Mentoring Program

Collaborate Mentoring Initiative

Launch date: 03 June – 12 July 2019
6-week pilot program
Campus: Gold Coast

Introduction: Why mentoring?

Students are more likely to have an enjoyable school experience when they are surrounded by and connected to caring adults. The adults, who will act as mentors, will be able to support BROWNS English Language School (BROWNS) students in various areas of their international-student lifestyle. They may also assist them in crossing barriers that their parents or teachers may not be privy to.

Quality mentoring can be an alternative strategy that may help to boost academic achievement, confidence and self-esteem, social interpersonal skills as well as English language acquisition. It is also a solid step towards building a positive school environment and embodies the true meaning of our BROWNS family, where adult students and under 18s can collaborate and sustain meaningful connections. It is a great way to improve school culture and an effective way of transferring school culture from student to student.

The mentoring program has many strategic benefits. It can provide the mentees a safe space to share their feelings, thoughts and concerns. It also affords a work-experience opportunity for mentors to utilise their English in a semi-professional manner. Additionally, this initiative can help both parties to build soft skills like kindness, leadership, effective communication and empathy, skills that now play a large part in 21st-century education.

International students typically have remote communication with their families. They have fragmented conversations due to time zone differences. A mentorship program can help fill the void of personal interaction and relationship building that is missing when one is separated from family and friends for an extended period. This program would help develop humanistic communication skills and relationship building opportunities that are often lacking when someone is new to a foreign country and has very little family support around them. It will help develop the personal connections they need in an increasingly disconnected world.

Finally, this mentoring program can provide a sense of belonging. Their identity as an international student will become more deeply aligned with the emotional connection they have with BROWNS students, BROWNS teachers and BROWNS English Language School.

What are good mentor characteristics?

Good mentors are not there to answer all questions and to be the source of all knowledge and experience. Good mentors are there to guide and support a search, to question and find holes in an argument, to encourage the understanding of other perspectives, ultimately leading mentees to make their own decisions.  A good mentor helps others to gain the confidence to make an informed choice for themselves.

Good mentors are students who are looking to build genuine connections and relationships. Good mentors are patient and tolerant when their mentees need extended time to comprehend an idea. Good mentors come from a place of understanding when a mentee is struggling to communicate in English and will be empathetic towards the challenges they face as a junior ESL student. Good mentors can be an encouraging voice, a confident and a strong role model for our younger students who are lacking adult companionship.

Mentor criteria:

> 20 years old and above
> BROWNS  Intensive General English student in Intermediate level and above
> Have a general interest in mentoring, teaching, coaching, youth work, community outreach and enjoy working with children (experience preferred but not required)
> Students who wish to gain work experience as a volunteer
> Students who want more opportunities to practice their English in a semi-professional capacity
> Students who can commit to volunteering for one hour a week over a period of 6 weeks (total of 6 hours)
> Mentor must check attendance and complete an evaluation at the end of each session
> Ratio of 1 Mentor: 5/6 Mentees

How to apply to be a mentor:

Step 1: An EOI with cover letter and resume must be submitted to the ADoS.
Step 2: Applicants will be contacted for a 10-minute job interview
Step 3: Successful applicants will be notified and volunteering work contracts will be offered
Step 4: A one-hour induction course must be completed by all mentors
Step 5: Start your volunteer program

Mentoring Activities:

Mentoring resources will be provided as a guideline as to what topics should be covered during the one-hour session. Mentors are not limited to these and can take the liberty of supplementing materials as they see fit. The materials covered will ultimately be the responsibility of the mentor to prepare.

Activities should be meaningful and purposeful, and efficient within the time period of one hour. Mentors are encouraged to set a challenge or a task for their mentees to complete that week, with an understanding of following up at the next meeting. Conversations should include discussions regarding accountability in order to help build a trusting relationship. Mentors will receive an activity pack for each week to help with preparation.

Collaborate Activities will be broadly categorized amongst these four areas: (developed by the University of Melbourne Mentoring scheme)

 Ways of Thinking: creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making and learning
 Ways of Working: communication and collaboration activities
 Tools for Working: information and communications technology and informational literacy
 Skills for Living in the World: international student life, career, personal and social responsibility

Sample Schedule: (*Pilot program will be only 6 weeks)

Week 1: Meet, Eat and Greet – get to know each other, icebreaker games, goal setting for the 6- week program / what are you biggest challenges as an international student?
Week 2: Study Tips – mentors provide advice about how to study / tips on how to cope as an international student in the Gold Coast
Week 3: Body Active – Physical activity outdoors
Week 4: Homework Heroes – provide advice and guidance with homework from teachers
Week 5: Music Mania – share music/dance that you love with your group
Week 6: Huddle – free talk/bilingual conversation about any concerns
Week 7: Reading Buddies – paired or small group reading/assisted reading and discussion
Week 8: Culture Connection – Multiculturalism in Australia, teach them about your culture, cultural exchange between mentor and mentees
Week 9: Soul Searching – Wellness and Mindfulness activities, confidence building activities, meditation, growth mindset worksheets etc.
Week 10: Outside the Box – creative workshop, tactile activity build or create (art supplies can be provided)
Week 11: Looking Outwards – focus on social responsibility and giving back
Week 12: Breakout session – free choice, farewell

Mentor Program schedule:

 1-hour session per week, to take place during Schedule B Accelerate period 11.10am –12.10pm on Tuesday or Thursday (*tbc this is negotiable and can discuss further with teachers)
 Volunteer contract includes 6 x 1-hour sessions over the course of 6 weeks (6 sessions)

Tracking success / Progress Reporting:

 Mentors set goals with their mentees at the start of the program. These will be reassessed at the end of the 6 week period
 Mentors also set smaller goals every week and track these. Alternatively, mentors plan milestones and track whether these milestones are being achieved or not
 All parties complete a self-reflective survey at the end of the 6 weeks
 A progress report should be marked weekly by the mentor. Mentors can measure student engagement, assess if participation and motivation is increasing week to week
 Data can be tabulated and collated after each mentoring session is completed

What are the benefits of being a mentor?

 English practice in a semi-professional field
 English practice in a real-world context and improved confidence as an ESL speaker
 Leadership, communication and interpersonal skills improve
 Improved well-being and personal fulfilment from mentoring others
 6+hours of work experience gained
 Certificate of completion at the end of the program
 A reference letter can be provided by BROWNS ADoS to help with future employment
 AMT can be used as a future work reference on a mentor’s resume to help with future employment
 Meaningful student experience at BROWNS

What are the benefits of being a mentee?

 ESL support and exposure in a safe and encouraging space
 Homework and study advice from students who understand ESL struggles
 Life advice specific to international students
 The presence of an adult role model who they can confide in about sensitive issues, and who is not viewed as an authoritarian
 The ability to form a trusting relationship, improved well-being and boosted self-confidence
 A non-academic program reduces the pressure off students that high stakes tests and assessments poses
 Meaningful student experience at BROWNS

How does Collaborate align with the BROWNS values?

Integrity: This initiative is driven by the desire to improve the wellbeing of all BROWNS students and is well aligned with the company’s ethics, which focus on meaningful connections and family
Passion: To create opportunities to interact socially outside of the classroom and to create more passion for their studies inside the classroom. It has the potential to boost morale and improve school culture
Supportive: Reinforces a culture of giving back and helping others. It demonstrates a collaborative relationship where all parties reap many benefits
Creative: Creating an inclusive environment for students that adds to a very meaningful experience while they study at BROWNS. This will be the school’s inaugural mentoring scheme.
Sustainable: This initiative is powered by the students, for the students. It is cost effective and utlises our most valued commodity – our people.

BROWNS Mentoring staff:

Program coordinator – Theresa Tupuola

Mentor Recruitment – Iveta Kocianova

Juniors coordinator – Theresa Tupuola