To round off a very memorable semester, In2science wanted to celebrate the dedication, enthusiasm and resilience of our mentors through an uncertain and challenging semester. The move, en masse, to online modes of communication and collaboration presented a great opportunity for mentors from our partner universities all over Victoria to join us for a celebration and professional development workshop where they learned skills to use in the future as mentors and in their careers.
In2science collaborated with local Thornbury collective, Groupwork Centre to provide our mentors with a dynamic online session on effective engagement and facilitation skills in mentoring. Facilitators Liz Franzmann and Henry Fowkes designed the workshop to focus on the scientific perspective of how young people engage online and to further empower their mentees with emotional resilience. In learning about the SCARF model, mentors came away with a framework to facilitate meaningful conversations with mentees so participants feel safe and empowered to share ideas and opinions.
This was the first time In2science offered an online professional development session and it was Groupwork Centre’s largest group of attendees in an online training session. Over 50 In2science mentors attended with all partner universities, La Trobe University, The University of Melbourne, Swinburne University of Technology, RMIT University and Monash University well represented. There was a healthy mix of content delivery and application using smaller groups in breakout rooms, with many mentors commenting that 1.5 hours just flew by.
Feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Over 90% of mentors agreed that they learned valuable new content and now had strategies they could confidently apply in their own mentoring. One mentor commented that, “just chatting with other people who have similar values in science education” was a highlight, and another said that the role-playing activity in small groups to illustrate communication micro-skills helped them “learn a lot…since it was a practical and real example of what could actually happen.”
It was a pleasure to host Groupwork Centre and provide In2science mentors with a valuable experience they can use when interacting with young people and others in future workplaces. We look forward to working with Groupwork Centre later in the year to expand the foundational skills presented in this initial workshop.