المدوّنات (Mentoring policy exchange)

MenSI workshop at Eminent 2022

European Schoolnet’s flagship annual conference was held this year in Dublin on 6 and 7 December 2022. The event brought together representatives from UNESCO, OECD, the European Commission, the Digital Futures Commission (DFC), academia, European Ministries of education, the Ed-Tech industry and the student community to discuss about the benefits of using data analytics for teachers and students, as well as the existing challenges to be considered by all actors in the education ecosystem, including ethical problems, children's data protection and data literacy.
Eminent programme included a series of roundtables and workshops on various topics related to digital innovation in education, which offered participants the opportunity to exchange ideas in more focused discussions.
MenSI was present at Eminent 2022 with a workshop on mentoring and collaborative networking for school improvement. 
The workshop aimed at sharing some of the main outcomes from the MenSi project - which has now reached its final stage, with the representatives of the ministries of education that were not directly involved in the project as well as EdTech companies and FCL industry partners. We could hear from the workshop participants about the best way to promote the project outcomes and to mainstream whole-school mentoring processes for school improvement. 

Mentoring and collaborative networking are key to foster digital innovation in schools


There was consensus that school-to-school mentoring has great potential to bring about digital innovation in schools by involving a greater number of teachers and schools. Teachers can get together in communities of practice and regional hubs where they can learn from each other, reflect on their teaching practices and grow professionally.    
In such a context, whole-school mentoring processes can empower teachers through customised professional development especially in schools located in remote areas. Peer learning in communities of practice and regional hub meetings can contribute to overcome the isolation of the teaching profession and help teachers acquire digital skills to become competent users of technology in their classroom, so that they can make the right choices about the tools to be used to foster students’ learning agency. 
We heard from some of the MenSI national coordinators how mentoring face-to-face meetings were important to disseminate innovative learning methodologies through school visits and class observations, how mentoring is also about driving organisational development in schools with a focus on improving leadership, peer learning and communication between schools, and how it is important to acknowledge, reward and provide preliminary training to the teachers that are going to be involved in mentoring.

During the workshop, it was highlighted that to be effective mentoring and networking between schools should involve and be actively supported by school heads and ministries of education. All stakeholders should share the same vision and speak the same language. It was also suggested that the project would resonate more with MoEs and policymakers if it is presented as a set of practical guidelines to help schools develop as learning organisations. 
Finally, concerning the use of survey data in mentoring, it was suggested that these should include pre-intervention data to make teachers reflect on their expectations at individual level and after-intervention data in order to identify how the mentoring processes have actually contributed to school improvement.

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Mentoring Policy Exchange

MenSI is extending its reach by inviting relevant stakeholders to participate in the project’s Mentoring Policy Exchange Mechanism. By adopting this “policy-connected approach”, MenSI has developed a new space for discussion open to educational policymakers working at both national and regional level. This new forum will continue to be offered as an on-going service to policymakers under the EUN’s independently-funded Future Classroom Lab initiative.

The Policy Exchange Mechanism is currently composed by the MenSI Advisory Members and by Ministry of Education Working groups such as the Small and Rural Schools Interest Group and the Interactive Classroom Working Group.

Following the model developed for existing EUN ministry working groups, the Policy exchange includes both regular online and face-to-face meetings. In this regard, it provides a forum within which project partners can exchange on MenSI findings and recommendations with ministries and other Advisory Members interested in the project’s work. Ministries supporting this new mechanism may also seek to involve and obtain support for additional / future work on whole-school mentoring from the 30+ industry partners currently supporting the EUN Future Classroom Lab.