Mentoring is not the Same as Teaching

Uttara.J. Malhotra
Uttara.J. Malhotra Dec 09 2017 - 3 min read
Mentoring is not the Same as Teaching
A lot of educationists confuse the word mentoring. It is not the same as teaching.

It is a fact that mentoring is not the same as teaching and visa versa.  For starters, teaching is merely about disseminating knowledge or data to the learner. It would ideally use a detailed lesson plan and a step by step approach by a professor or teacher in school.  Methods of assessment are also formalised and usually in a written examination format.  In comparison, mentoring is more about developing an informal relationship with your learners and creating a learning experience for them.  Here, a mentor actually ‘acts as an advisor, sharing knowledge based on lived experiences. There’s more sharing between the two as mentors strive to help their mentees grow into peers.’ This kind of a learning process is more alive and engaging.

How versus Why

Another great difference between teaching and mentoring is the end result. A teacher would need to perfect his/her techniques to make a lesson or the learning effective. A teacher has to be thorough with the basics, the formulas, the techniques, the terms and more. But a mentor would always be more concerned about what is the end result of the knowledge disseminated. Has the knowledge been applied effectively, has it motivated the learner to go a step ahead in the learning curve, is the method effective to give positive result. Therefore, ‘mentors are meant to actually impart wisdom, practical insight, and creativity to encourage learners to express and develop their own skills.’ Mentoring is aimed at self actualisation of the learner.

Mine versus Yours

Another significant difference between mentoring and teaching is not to impose your style and mannerisms on the learner. This is an intrinsic defining point of a mentor. A mentor facilitates and shows the path ahead, but will never impose his or her style of writing, instruction or examples to be replicated the learner. A mentor, in fact, would want to inspire and motivate by example; a teacher may be caught in the temptation to impose example, instruction or mannerism which prevents the learners’ inherent potential to come to play.

Indian Educational Scenario

Our problem today is not that we don’t have teachers; that is an obvious challenge we are already facing. The problem crucial problem facing the young India is that these teachers don’t know how to mentor their learners. So, in fact, even before we start with asking teachers to mentor, we need to find mentors who can mentor the teaching force of India and ready them for this inevitable learning challenge. The new age learner has all the knowledge it needs; barring those who are living in the villages and are still not exposed to the virtual medium of learning. These new age learners are making great use of the Internet to meet their knowledge needs. This is where the teaching force has to learn to become a mentor that can inspire and direct the knowledge input to a better well-turned out morally upright and confident Young India.

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