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Thursday, 29 September 2016

A HELPING HAND

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Last year, a number of KY students offered to work with some of their peers who were having difficulties in certain subject areas. This was a bit ad hoc, although we quietly encouraged it. In a boarding school, where we all live and work together, it's relatively straightforward to get willing participants together for their mutual benefit. Student mentors were able to talk about the help they had been providing on their personal statements when applying for university. Mentees, we sincerely hope, benefited from the extra tuition. It seems like a win-win situation.

However, there is more to this than meets the eye, I think. Firstly, mentoring encourages a greater sense of teamwork and mutual cooperation. Study groups of this kind flourish at most universities, so any practice that students get beforehand is a plus. Next, shy or nervous students are often more willing to accept assistance from their peers than to confess to their teachers that they could use a little extra help. I have mentioned in previous posts that teaching and learning is a two-way process. As an educator, I have learned a great deal from my students over the years, and several of our proto-mentors of last year have told me that in helping others, their own understanding of a subject has significantly improved. 

None of this should detract from the value of the classroom instruction done by our dedicated teachers. Nor should it remove the need for formal remediation as and when it is required. This is an extra service, a bonus, in which both sides potentially gain a great deal - not just specific subject knowledge. Moreover, it is a service that grew of itself and blossomed. It is not something that can be legislated for, or imposed from above. Maybe this year it won't happen; maybe it's something that will become a KYUEM tradition. I'd like to think it will.

Also this week, I would like to thank many of last year's seniors for updating me, via Facebook, on their arrival in the UK and elsewhere, and their initial impressions of university. It is heartening to read their enthusiastic reports and to see a whole host of lovely photographs. I think my FB friends are 90% KY or ex-KY students, these days. It is uplifting to read about their exploits in a new country.

I end this on the first Thursday of our internal examination fortnight. Seniors will be finished by tomorrow, juniors start next week. The very best of luck to all of you.

2 comments:

  1. Bravo to all the mentors! Good job done. The very best of luck to all seniors and juniors with their examinations, indeed. Great to see some of the 'oldies', and looking forward to seeing you next year again.

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  2. Enjoy your semestar exams seniors & juniors & all the best.I belief this is the barometer to gauge your performance & get ready to the actual A level exams next year June ....

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