Mentoring Skills for Teachers and Education Managers


Mentoring is a system of semi-structured guidance whereby one person shares their knowledge, skills and experience to assist others to progress in their own professional practice. It is a frequently-used paradigm in education, and one which can be of immense benefit to both the mentor and the mentee. However, it is rare that the skills involved in being a successful and effective mentor are addressed. More frequently, mentors tend to be selected based on their years of experience, and while this means they have considerable knowledge to draw on, it does not necessarily lead to a skilful exploitation of that know-how in the mentoring relationship, and can result in frustration for both the mentor and the mentee.

With this in mind, this course is designed to support the development of mentoring in a variety of educational contexts. It takes the view that mentoring consists of a one-to-one relationship that seeks to support professional development of an individual using a range of approaches, frameworks and techniques that most suit the situation in question. The focus throughout is on hands-on experimentation with practical activities and their subsequent analysis for contextual relevance and application.

Course Objectives

During this course you will:

  • explore the qualities and competences of a mentor and how these might be developed
  • identify and practice mentor techniques and activities appropriate for the different approaches
  • analyse the interaction frameworks which might be used in mentor meetings to enhance their developmental impact

Programme details

The course comprises an introductory session and five content modules delivered over a three-week period.

There will be two live tutor-led interactive workshops each week, as well as a number of engaging asynchronous tasks that you complete in your own time.

The asynchronous part of your course will allow you and your fellow participants to extend the learning from the live sessions. Typically, this will include follow up quizzes, extra readings and materials. You will also benefit from opportunities to discuss aspects of each session with your peers in pairs and in small groups, allowing you to reflect on how you might tailor the content of each session to your own teaching context. 

We expect you to devote at least 5 hours each week to your course. Outside the scheduled live sessions, you can study at times that are most convenient for you.

We have capped class sizes at 25 students to maximise opportunities for interaction. 


During your two weekly live workshops, you will be expected to participate actively in discussions and exchanges with your tutor and fellow participants. You will be encouraged to continue your discussions through additional online interaction throughout your course.

The first day of your course will begin with an introductory session to introduce you to the structure, expectations, and goals of an Oxford Teachers' Academy course. You then follow a series of five modules over three weeks. 

All times are UK time (UTC+1).

Introductory Session - Monday 06 July 1.15pm

Module 1: Context of Mentoring - Thursday 09 July 1.15pm

  • Clarifying teaching competencies
  • Exploring ways of developing these competencies
  • The role of a mentor in these processes

Module 2: Approaches to Mentoring - Monday 13 July 1.15pm

  • Defining approaches to teacher support
  • The purposes and limitations of these approaches
  • The qualities and behaviours of a supportive mentor

Module 3: Constructive Mentoring Conversations - Thursday 16 July 1.15pm

  • Exploring frameworks for supportive conversations
  • Adapting framework for our context/approach
  • Effective interventions

Module 4: Teacher Support Activities - Monday 20 July 1.15pm

  • Covering a range of support activities
  •  Analysing the learning processes involved
  • Considering the variety of roles a mentor may take

Module 5: Dealing with Challenging Behaviours - Thursday 23 July 1.15pm

  • Analysing the teacher life cycle and how it can impact on perceptions of professional development
  • Challenges to a positive mentoring relationship
  • Strategies for engaging with these challenges


Oxford Teachers’ Academy courses are certified by the Department for Continuing Education. In order to receive a Certificate of Completion, course participants must submit an Evidence of Learning Journal  which will be evaluated against established criteria. If all criteria are met, participants will receive an electronic Certificate of Completion within six weeks of submitting their journals.

You will also receive a University of Oxford Certificate of Attendance on successful completion of each OTA online summer course.


Description Costs
06-24 July: Mentoring Skills for Teachers and Education Managers £280.00


The Department is, unfortunately, unable to offer any scholarships or reduction in fees for the Oxford Teachers’ Academy online courses at present.


Sinéad Laffan


Sinéad Laffan is a teacher trainer, based in Budapest. She is a member of Trinity College and Cambridge Assessment English teacher training panels, an Oxford Teachers' Academy trainer and teaches on the Department's ELT Summer Schools. She specialises in performance development for English Language teachers, helping language schools retain staff and students by creating and delivering tailored teacher development programs. Her process focuses on helping each teacher find their own best selves as practitioners and professionals. She is a former coordinator of the IATEFL TDSIG.


Please click on 'Book Now' to reserve a place.

Subject to the availability of places, the closing date is 12pm on Friday 03 July 2020.

Further course information notes will be emailed to participants shortly before the start of the summer school.

Any queries?

Please contact the Programme Administrator by email at

Level and demands

It is expected that participants will have some experience of teaching English language.

This course is intended for school leaders and managers.

All participants must speak English to a minimum of a high B2 CEFR level of proficiency.

IT requirements

This programme is delivered online. To participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.