Mentoring in the cooperative education workplace: A review of the literature
Citation:Ayling, D. (2004, March). Mentoring in the cooperative education workplace: A review of the literature. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the New Zealand Association for Cooperative Education, Christchurch. Available from http://www.nzace.ac.nz/conferences/2004.shtml
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/1817
This paper reviews the literature exploring the mentoring relationship between students, their cooperative education workplace and their host supervisors. The literature review will focus on mentoring relationships generally, and consider the learning benefits from structured and informal mentoring. The literature review will form the basis of further research into "students’" and "host supervisors’" perceptions of the mentoring relationship, with a view to identifying key factors of a successful mentoring relationship. When students enter the cooperative education workplace, they are hungry for a mentoring environment. This hunger is the same as that experienced by any degree or high school graduate entering the workforce for the first time. As young adults new to work, there is potential to develop a mentoring environment to provide models and guides. Mentoring is an intentional, mutually demanding and meaningful relationship between two people. The benefits of a mentoring relationship are the provision of support, challenge and vision. Support enables the development of constructive relationships, and encouragement to meet new challenges. Challenge is a new opportunity or threat facing the student, for challenge to be productive as a learning experience, it needs to be just within the students reach. Vision is a key component of the mentoring environment, providing students with a view of the future and their place within it. For students encountering work culture and challenge for the first time, a mentoring environment can be crucial in finding work "flow". Flow tends to happen when the student is fully engaged in overcoming a challenge that is "just about manageable". When students reach a state of flow they are completely focused, with little room for distractions and irrelevancies. As Csikszentmihalyi (Csikszentmihalyi, 1997) explains: “When goals are clear, feedback relevant, and challenges and skills are in balance, attention becomes ordered and fully invested"(p. 31).