Universidad de Granada (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 1096-1104
ISBN: 978-84-613-5538-9
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-10 March, 2010
Location: Valencia, Spain
When teachers start working in a university department for the first time they usually feel completely alone when it comes to their teaching career. They need time, perhaps even years, to adapt to their job, to the idiosyncrasies of university teaching, and to the legislation in place. Most universities are not aware that by employing an official Mentor they could help improve the level of teaching and, consequently, the standard of training of students.
The Tutoring Programme implemented by the University of Granada during the academic year 2008/2009 is an exceedingly important initiative in terms of the quality of university teaching. Universities such as the University of Barcelona and, more recently, the University of Seville have been offering this Tutoring Programme to their new teachers for many years. The system means that teachers that have been working in a department for some time help the new recruits to settle in, both socially and in terms of the teaching work itself. The positive results that these Programmes have had can be seen each year, when new and old teachers repeat the process.
This Programme also aims to raise the status of the work carried out by university teachers, starting at the point when they themselves are training as they study for their degrees. A change in mentality is required so that those who want to become university teachers have the training tools that they need, provided by the university that is going to contract them. However, this training is currently non-existent, perhaps because research work is deemed more rewarding than teaching work. A good teacher is not the one that does the most research, but the one who teaches most effectively. We have all seen cases of teachers working on various lines of research who look down upon students and do not want to waste their time teaching because they have more important things to do.
The work carried out by these Mentors aims to fill the gap which is apparent in universities today, and has two main aims: firstly, to train university teachers and, secondly, to help integrate new teachers into the department and workplace. For some time, efforts have been made to achieve these aims at all levels of education except the university level. These two parts of the Programme are important and essential for high-quality university teaching. However, the second, relating to the integration of new staff, seems absolutely vital given that it is something that does not depend on one person, but on everybody around that person.
New teachers who start work at the University need to expand their teaching skills in a reflexive manner. In order for this to happen, the departments need to improve the training of the teaching teams who help to improve the work done by the new teacher, the Mentor and the institution as a whole.
As participants in this, programm we are going to develop a Project which can be applied in the Faculty of Fine Arts, a department which has a number of special characteristics in terms of teaching which make this intervention a necessity. We hope that the Programme will help the Faculty to acquire the professional competences needed to allow new staff to accept the commitment required of university teachers, to encourage the use of knowledge-building processes and to use an innovative, reflexive and research-based approach to teaching practices so that new teachers aspire to become expert teachers in the future.
Tutoring, Teachers, Mentor.