On 23th, November, we start our course — Learning of Expertise. In fact, we have had some learning experience about it in the INTRO course in September. But we are regular to study that course from this time. In the morning, our coordinator, Niina, gave us the introduction and schedule of the course, we know that its learning of formality is mentoring process with EDUTOOL students in this phase, and we are divided into several groups. That is a new and fresh matter for me. Then, Pirkko gave us the lecture of Expert-Novice Scaffolding. Through her lecture, I understand the diversity of novice and expert, how to be an expert from a novice, and I have initiate cognition of mentoring and expert-novice mentoring, and learn more contents about scaffolding. After the lecture, we came into our mentoring process with EDUTOOL students.
In my group, Ana, Päivi, Fatiu, and I are mentees, we have six mentors coming from EDUTOOL students, and they are Pirjo, Ari, Janne, Jaana, Juha, and Hannu, but today we only see four mentors. They have rich teaching and learning experience. So we could learn many knowledge and skills from them. As a mentee, I think I am an initiate, which is a little high level than novice, because I have learned some relative educational theories and technological skills in these two months. But in the mentoring process, I still play a role as a novice, which is because I only have superficial and simple knowledge, I could not apply and reinforce knowledge and conceptions flexibly into real situations to deal with some specific problems. Hence, I need to listen their speaking and discussion carefully, learn more knowledge and skills from mentors’ practical learning and teaching experiences, share my difficulties and challenges in learning with them and accepts their instructions and feedbacks, and participate the every performance in the mentoring process actively. That is what a mentee’s role and doing in the mentoring process.
Our first meeting is very interesting. After introducing ourselves, we play together a game the mentors designed on the cardboard, everyone choose an article to represent yourself, walk several steps on the cardboard according to the number you throw the dice, then answer the question displayed on the location of your article standing. The game began from the decoding of a two-dimension code at the entrance, our mentees use the mobile phone to take a picture and deliver it in the network, and then we can see a video made from our mentors. The game ended still in this way. I highly admire their imagination and application of technology. This game is special and meaningful. For one thing, it is a good way for us to acquaint with each other well; for another thing, we could not only share our ideas and thoughts, even obstacles in studying, but also get many learning suggestions, viewpoints, experience, instruction, and methods from mentors, which is useful for our following learning process. Therefore, all of us believe that the first meeting is successful.
To me, I appreciate this learning chance of mentoring process. Through the mentoring process, I want to gain more instructions, proposal, assistance, and feedback in learning and teaching aspects from our mentors. I want to learn how to be a good learner, how to use strategies in learning and teaching, how to analyze and solve problems accurately, and how to promote ability of self-regulated learning and collaborative learning, how to put learning and skills we learned into practice environment, how to foster learning methods to help students attain self-regulatory skills, how to implement effective collaboration, how to develop to be a learning and teacher expert, and get some ideas about my future career. I really want to learn more knowledge and experiences in the mentoring process, I am a little greedy, but I still hope my mentors could aid me to harvest as I expected.
In the end, I would talk about some contents of the lecture we had on that day. I think the most importance content is about scaffolding. In the learning procedure, we always find this word in many articles. My comprehension about scaffolding is blurry and indefinite, a sense of having only a hazy notion. Pirkko gave us some definitions of scaffolding: scaffolding is pedagogical process, where more knowledgeable others help learners perform tasks they cannot do by themselves. Scaffolding enables learners to realize their potential by providing assistance when needed and removing and fading it as learning occurs (Lajoie, 2005; Vygotsky, 1978; Wood et al. 1976). Scaffolding is most effective when teachers possess both domain knowledge and pedagogy experience, scaffold students’ cognitive needs in the authentic context, and employ technology design in accordance with basic principles of learning (Van de Pol, Volman, Beishuizen, 2010; Lu, Lajoie, & Wiseman, 2010). From the definitions and description of scaffolding, I could understand that scaffolding is a support method given by teachers to students when they perform a task, and it will be faded and transferred when students participate actively in the process and accomplish the tasks independently and proficiently.
Our mentoring process is also a kind of scaffolding process, our mentors are scaffolders, and we are novices. The mentors own domain knowledge and rich experience, for this reason they will give us some support in the learning activities, such as, teach us a number of specific skills to facilitate our new learning experience, help us to deal with uncertain problems and provide particular suggestions, supply many learning and teaching strategies and methods, instruct us to apply different strategies when facing various issues, etc. During the mentoring process, as mentees, we also express our own opinions and ideas and discuss with the mentors to gain mentors’ feedbacks, which assist us to improve our theoretical and technological level so that we can analyze, solve the problems effectively, and succeed in completing the relative tasks. The scaffolding in the mentoring process will still help us to get self-regulated, collaborative, and cooperation skills and competences, which are available and significant for our future learning and working.
Meanwhile, I know that the role of scaffolding will be faded when we master rich domain knowledge and experience, have ability to perform and engage in the tasks effectively, and utilize knowledge and conceptions into practice. Consequently, I expect I will grow up an expert from a novice with the help of our mentors and other scaffoldors in the mentoring process and following learning procedure.
Thanks for Pirkko, some quotation come from her lecture and presentation.