What is Choutari Mentoring Project (CMP)?
Here is the video about this project presented at the 19th International Conference of NELTA.
The Choutari Mentoring Project is developed to establish connections between emerging scholars/writers and relatively more established ones in order to create an encouraging environment for the former to realize their potentials.
It may be easy or difficult to define the concept of mentoring. However, it becomes evident when someone who has benefited directly from mentoring says what it is. For this reason, I like the definition of a mentor given by Oprah Winfrey, one of the most successful women in the American history. Oprah defines a mentor as ” … someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.”
But, needless to say, mentorship benefits both parties because conversations on professional issues–as well the sharing of specific skills such as writing, research, and networking–can benefit mentors as well. Please click on the image [Inspire a Scholar] to offer your mentorship to an emerging writer/scholar and create your legacy!
The specific objective of the Choutari Mentorship Project is to connect less experienced writers/scholar toward producing effective writing for the Choutari blog. Because mentors are relatively more experienced and are familiar with the writing process, they can make the process look like a viable activity rather than an intimidating one and inspire their mentees toward becoming independent writers in the long run. Please click on the image [Be Inspired] to request a mentor.
However, while pursuing the objective of giving/receiving help toward producing and submitting a blog post for Choutari, mentees will also gain tremendously in other ways: the opportunity to network with a more experienced colleague, conversation on area of interest/expertise, getting to know each other, and inspiring other writers and scholars.
Some Suggestions for Mentees
- ask for and have periodic meetings with your mentor — if possible in person or via phone/chat and ideally with a specific agenda item or specific text
- follow up on conversations by email or other medium — when you receive feedback, have questions, etc
- continue your writing in the background — even if it is a paragraph every week so that you have actual text on which to seek support/feedback from your mentor
- work on a timeline — try your best to produce and submit one blog post from the mentorship
- use the opportunity to increase your knowledge about shared topics with your mentor — enjoying the conversation while making the project purposeful, regular, and fun
Note: Because we will naturally have fewer mentors than mentees, we have decided to rotate new mentees to the available mentors every six months. The incidental benefits of this mechanism is that mentees are likely to produce something tangible, optimizing the opportunity of mentorship. The number of connections will also increase as a result.
Some Suggestions for Mentors
- help to set/achieve specific writing goals (e.g. writing and submitting one blog entry within the next three months, improving organization, polishing syntax and clarity, effective wording, etc)
- find/provide helpful resources so as to make the task of writing a step by step process
- use interactive media — e.g., Google Hangout or Skype — where possible
- Use a timeline (we’d like to rotate mentees every six months, so there is some pressure for the mentees to benefit from your support)
- Produce something concrete (i.e., writing for the blog; while there are benefits of networking per se, professional development of the mentee ultimately happens when he/she produces scholarship)
- Keep cross-cultural and geopolitical dynamics in mind (some mentees may view the opportunity too ambitiously)
- Allow it to be a learning opportunity for both sides (working across cultures/contexts can teach great lessons and perspectives)
- Throw the ball in their court (let the mentee follow up, seek support; don’t make it a burden for yourself; don’t worry)
- Share expertise and perspectives that you are best at (instead of trying to only limit to what the mentee “needs”; often, new avenues open up when the mentor offers to suggest/teach new areas of knowledge)
Note: Time commitment on the part of mentors could be either one or two hours per week or it could be based on a “timeline” created by the mentee for completing the project. In any case, communication and being on the same page is important.