The Promentors Erasmus + Project convened its final international conference at The University of Exeter, School of Education from May 9th- 12th, 2023. The conference was a wonderful opportunity to summarise and reflect on what the project has accomplished in the field of mentoring new teachers and mentoring models and plans for the future of its impact and implementation in the Israeli mentoring system. The first day began with a warm welcome. The partners learned about mentoring in the teaching profession in Britain, the support new teachers receive and the format and timeline of new teachers’ mentoring and professional development. The participants were introduced to the positive aspects of mentoring in Britain, as well as the challenges. The role of the universities, school, as well as the government were presented, as well as the partnerships and interconnections among the various stakeholders.
Day 2 focused on the implementation of mentors’ courses in Promentors beginning with an interactive workshop that encouraged the participants to reflect on the courses and to reflect on how the Promentors project has impacted mentoring systems, preparation and practices. Richer theorization of mentoring, advancement of multiple textualized practices, mentoring as a pedagogical , social practice, mentoring as professional development were the main aspects of the first session of the day. The second session of the day gave an overview of design logs of best practices of Promentors training courses and the development of a Mentoring Training System within the MIT, incorporating the preparation stage, and the designing of Mentoring Courses stage with the final stage being conclusions, implications and the development of a tool for reflecting success and challenges, built on the preservation/ improvement model. Recommendations were given, according to this model. The next session of the day dealt with research findings, reflections and recommendations focusing on the experiences of mentors courses, based on the evaluation in Promentors, as viewed from different stakeholders’ perspectives and findings from interviews at the end of 2022. There was a short overview of the process and requirements for the Proteach/ Promentors book being published by the Mofet Institute. The final session of the day was the project in a nutshell, an overview of the three year project, its impact and future implementaion.
The third day began with a seminar on the ecological approach in Promentors with a presentation and discussion of what is mentoring for? “Being at home in the world.” and reflection. This session included a thought- provoking discussion of the main aspects and issues of the project’s goals. The day continued with an overview of the dissemination of the project on social media, the website, in the academic institutes and with various shareholders and beyond. The final part of the day, the participants were divided into groups to finalise and then present, what were the main focuses of the project, what has been gained and what are the future implications for the mentors, mentees, mentor trainers and stakeholders.
The final day of the conference focused on meeting mentees from the field, an Afghanistan military veteran and three teacher trainees. They shared their experiences, what they have learned and gained from the mentoring process and their insights for both other mentees , as well as mentors. It was an excellent opportunity to hear authentic voices based on their personal and professional experiences.
The conference was successful as a reflective platform to share the experiences of the partners and others who have been part of the projects whether in MITs, mentors courses, accreditation courses or as stakeholders from schools, municipalities and the Ministry of Education. It is clear that the Promentors project has made significant changes in both the philosophy and the implementation of mentoring new teachers in the field in Israel and in the European partners’ educational systems.