The Erasmus + Promentors Project was hosted by the European partners from John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland for an inspiring four day conference focusing on mentors work in the Polish educational system and its possible impact on Israeli teacher mentoring. The first day began with a thought- provoking lecture by Rev. prof. dr habil. Marian Nowak about the anthology ofteacher mentoring as reflected in anthropological-ethical foundations and challenges of teacher education for today and tomorrow. The second lecture of the morning, given by dr habil. prof. KUL Dorota Kornas-Biela, gave an overview of the Polish educational literature dealing with teacher mentoring. Both lectures gave a helpful foundation for the partners’ understanding of the Polish teacher mentoring system. That understanding became clearer and more concise as a result of the workshops on including the personalistic thinking into the mentoring process. Topics included personal and professional tutoring and mentoring, teacher training in practice, mentoring at school and at the university – students and teachers’ experiences, and mentoring in teacher’s experience. There was a wonderful surprise musical instrument performance of primary school students and then a tour of the university with an emphasis on its long and important history. The first day concluded with an experience of the use of mindfulness and photography as a tool to prevent burnout by teachers and reflections on the day. We then met for a dinner at the Lublin Yeshiva of the Wise Men, an important historical site in Jewish history.
The second day of the conference focused on field trips to schools. The visits exposed the partners to various types of schools and how each deal with mentoring of new teachers, as well as the community aspects of the educational system in Poland. During the reflection, the partners were able to learn even more about the schools and mentoring in Poland and discussed comparisons with the Israeli system and what can be adapted.
The third day of the conference was an international conference, Mentoring in teacher training – AAA – Agents, Aspects, Aspirations, under the auspices of the university and the Polish Ministry of Education which allowed the Promentors participants, university students and other distinguised guests to learn about various aspects of mentoring in Israel, Poland and beyond. The topics included From the PROMENTORS’ perspective, positioning the mentors in the process of professional development – Insights from the Promentors project; The Promentors projects’ Evaluation – results of 1.5 YR. of implementation; “Speaking Without Words”- The MIT as a Tapestry of Professionalism and Humanity; Israel Autonomy- based mentoring: Developing need satisfaction and autonomous; Motivations among mentors and mentees, a SDT perspective; Determinanten des Lehrer-Mentoring – ein Forschungsbericht; The Principle of Continuity in Promentors MITs in Rishon LeZion and Eilat; Agents of Change – Mentor Course Facilitators within MITs: Role Perception and Operational Mode; Promentors: Mentoring and school counseling – an initial adventure of integrating a mentoring-course in school-counseling training; The experience of mentoring, as assessed by student interns preparing to become teachers and Mentoring needs in and for inclusive education among teachers, special pedagogues and special education students. The partners then spent a wonderful afternoon together visiting Kazimierz Dolny and walking on the bank of the Vistula River.
The final day began with reflection on the enlightening learning experiencesof the four day conference, both in the field and at the university, of all the participants. The conference was exceptional both in its scope and level of professionalism. It both inspired all who attended, as well as began discussions of what the future holds for mentoring in Israel and Europe. In addition, it became a catalyst of continued work on the topic of mentoring and the project’s impact now and in the future in the field of education.
The local T.V station of Lublin shared an item about the project and the seminar: