What is languages mentoring?
Scotland’s Languages Explorers Programme pairs up university students with a lived experience of language learning and internationalism/multiculturalism with secondary state school pupils who will soon make their course choices for their national qualifications. The idea is to give them the opportunity to explore the many benefits of language learning with an inspirational mentor and encourage them to continue learning languages in future. Our mentors do this by running engaging online mentoring sessions with small groups of up to 10 mentees agreed around 13-14 years old. You do not have to be a language expert to succeed in this role and you will not be asked to teach any particular language. Rather, you will be asked to use your own informed personal experiences to bring language learning alive and make it relevant to your mentors.
Why do we have a languages mentoring programme?
The number of learners choosing to study a modern language to national qualification level has been falling in Scotland over the past 20 years. According to a 2020 report by five key UK agencies, “We need urgent, concerted and coordinated action to address the critical situation for languages in the UK. If the UK’s citizens had stronger skills in languages other than English, this would help make the UK more prosperous, productive, influential, innovative, knowledgeable, culturally richer, more socially cohesive, and healthier.”
Scotland’s Languages Explorers Programme has been set up to address this deficit by encouraging learners to see the personal and professional benefits of language learning.
Mentors support and motivate learners in the BGE phase by sharing personal, recent experiences of their own language learning and university life. The aim in doing so is to promote reflection on intercultural competency and communication and the benefits of multilingualism. The 6-week programme aims to:
Support mentees to realise their languages potential and show how awareness of language builds confident, resilient individuals
- Raise aspirations to continue with language learning into the senior phase and beyond
- Encourage young people to develop a love of languages and cultures and a recognition of the value of languages for them
Who are our language mentors?
Our mentors are language activists! Language mentors do not have to be studying languages at university. They are people from all disciplines who know from their own experience the richness and rewards that learning a language can bring to our lives and who want to share that knowledge with their mentees. They are enthusiastic and open-minded with an internationalist outlook. They are active listeners who embrace the opportunity to work with young people and help them to explore languages and culture, allowing them to see themselves as true global citizens and languages as a key skill for their future.
Hear from our mentors
(video – link to video on main page)
What skills and qualities does a good mentor have?
A good mentor is able to:
- create an environment of trust
- be a good listener (showing active, person-focussed listening skills)
- show empathy
- be sensitive
- be respectful
- be honest
- offer encouragement
- facilitate opportunities for mentees to explore and expand on their ideas
- be credible
You will be expected to:
- be an activist for languages
- be aware that you will be working with young people from a range of different backgrounds and with aspirations which may or may not involve university
- encourage and inspire all young people to see the relevance and benefit of language learning in their life
- Wednesday 4 October (2-4pm) – online briefing from SCILT to provide more information about the programme and answer any questions you may have prior to submitting your application
- Monday 9 October – deadline for submission of your application and letter of motivation
- Friday 13 October – deadline for initial selection of mentors
- *Saturday 21 October (10.30am – 4pm) – In-person training day in Glasgow and final confirmation of mentors (reimbursement for travel costs can be applied for via your university)
- *Wednesday 25 October – online training session (2-4pm)
- *Wednesday 1 November – online training session (2-4pm)
- November (date to be confirmed with your partner school) – Meet the Mentor online session: Prior to beginning your mentoring workshops, you will be asked to arrange an online welcome session so that you can start to get to know your mentees, and so that they can get to know you. This will be a structured but informal session to break the ice before your first mentor session
- November - February – in partnership with the contact teacher from your school, arrange a weekly time slot to run your online mentoring sessions (6 weeks in total)
- March – provide feedback on your experiences via a mentor experience survey and short testimonial video
- March (Tuesday 19 TBC) – final online ceremony for all mentors and mentees to share learning and experiences
* attendance at all three training sessions is mandatory so that you are fully prepared to engage in a confident, meaningful and professional way with your mentees. Please check that you can attend all three sessions before you submit your application as absence at any one of the sessions will disqualify you from participating as a mentor for this session.
- The training will take place over three sessions: an initial in-person day at SCILT’s Ramshorn office in Glasgow, and two subsequent online training sessions. Attendance at all three sessions is a mandatory part of being a mentor, so please check that you can commit fully to this before applying.
- ***Rescheduled Dates*** - Saturday 4 November (10.30am-4pm in Glasgow); Wednesday 8 November (2-4pm online via Microsoft Teams); Wednesday 15 November (2-4pm online via Microsoft Teams).
- Mentor training will add valuable leadership and employability skills to your repertoire and will offer you the chance to learn more about leading and facilitating mentoring sessions online. More details will be provided if you are selected to attend the training sessions.
To allow us to get to know you, please complete the mentor application form. This includes a few open questions so that you have the freedom to really give us a flavour of who you are, why you want to be a mentor and what you believe you can bring to your mentees. Here is a summary of the questions included in the application form if you would like to consider them in advance.
Deadline for mentor applications: Monday 9 October.
Mentors will be notified by their university by Friday 13 October if they have been selected to attend the training day in Glasgow. At the end of that first training day, mentor participation will be confirmed by SCILT. Reimbursement for travel costs to Glasgow can be applied for through your university.
Testimonials from previous mentors
“I really enjoyed the sessions and sharing my passion with the pupils, and I really hope they got something out of it and that their perspective on language learning has changed for the good!”