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discussion What prevents you from mentoring?


James Yuen

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14 minutes ago, Ryan Alderton said:

In my opinion, the only real reason for reports - if you do a verbal debrief - is for the next mentor to be able to know what was covered. I usually just tend to put "No issues" or "We didn't cover this", and include any important links that may be required, as I verbally debrief the student in the session, as I find it to be easier to get your point across.

What about students looking back through things they've done? I certainly don't remember most of the debriefs I've ever had.

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That's absolutely ridiculous. Any kind of 'check' is there for a reason... Yeah you did it before, woop de doo...(!) New things get implemented all the time, new SOPs, new software, new developments.

It would seem you've made two statements that are at odds with one another?  Given that it's been nearly 4 years since your last mentoring session, by your own admission there should be a process of "

Would gladly come out of retirement and mentor again but I'm not prepared to take an OTC to do something I used to do before (city..Biggin..Thames..Gatwick etc)  and I'm more then likely to be more ex

2 minutes ago, Andy Ford said:

What about students looking back through things they've done? I certainly don't remember most of the debriefs I've ever had.

If the student is relatively new or they need more guidance, then I would put more detail - however when you're getting towards the end of the training when mistakes are getting less frequent, then I revert to the tactic I mentioned above.

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41 minutes ago, Luke Brown said:

Filling in mentoring reports.

Last time I was properly mentoring, we had to include tons of gumpf for each session.

I do enough paperwork at work, filling in a long winded session report doesn't entertain me

If I can give a good verbal debrief, explaining with a couple of screenshots maybe, then it's up to the student to take notes on that, right?

 

This should no longer be an issue with the CT courses being written and released one by one, as you can just refer the student to the particular part of the moodle course should they lack the theory knowledge in a certain area. 

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1 hour ago, Luke Brown said:

Filling in mentoring reports.

Last time I was properly mentoring, we had to include tons of gumpf for each session.

I do enough paperwork at work, filling in a long winded session report doesn't entertain me

If I can give a good verbal debrief, explaining with a couple of screenshots maybe, then it's up to the student to take notes on that, right?

 

 

I do mentor but this is the task I dislike the most. The APP mentoring progress sheet is significant in size and I feel that duplication occurs in some areas of the report e.g. UKFIS. Not only does this take more time, but it often isn't clear as to where comments on certain criteria are best placed.  Although I feel we are going around in circles on this particular issue.

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3 hours ago, Callum Axon said:

 

I do mentor but this is the task I dislike the most. The APP mentoring progress sheet is significant in size and I feel that duplication occurs in some areas of the report e.g. UKFIS. Not only does this take more time, but it often isn't clear as to where comments on certain criteria are best placed.  Although I feel we are going around in circles on this particular issue.

I agree. I think this is a good point and the progress sheets definitely need looking at. 

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Alex Hodgkinson

I don't mentor for the following reasons:

1) It uses up a large quantity of my own time. I wasn't getting the satisfaction out of it because;

2) Students simply did not take on board your advice. They want the rating yesterday and have no interest in reading a 40+ page document that tells them everything they need to know.

3) Other mentors deciding that they knew best and move students closer to 'test standard' than they actually were. This was a problem not only for me as I felt that I wasn't being taken seriously and also for the student who thought they were better than they actually were and then became completely demoralised when I moved the progress ticks back to where they should have been

4) Students emailing/facebook messaging/twitter DM's/teampseak pokes and even messaging me whilst I'm online controlling or flying me for sessions at the drop of a hat. That simply [auto-mod: lovely language]ed me off.

All in all, I got so irritated with it I gave up. To be honest, some of the mentors I've experienced first hand recently puts me off even more as they are so unfamiliar with the position themselves, they don't know what should be happing when; let alone helping the student out.

I doff my cap to those who continue to grind away at the coal face and train all of us that want that next rating; but I'm not that committed enough anymore. I'm sorry.

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1 hour ago, Alex Hodgkinson said:

2) Students simply did not take on board your advice. They want the rating yesterday and have no interest in reading a 40+ page document that tells them everything they need to know.

.......

All in all, I got so irritated with it I gave up. To be honest, some of the mentors I've experienced first hand recently puts me off even more as they are so unfamiliar with the position themselves, they don't know what should be happing when; let alone helping the student out.

First point, totally agree - I think theory should be stressed more as much of the time, it's a matter of some reading and using that knowledge and applying it to controlling. Would it be fair to say that the more 'reading' they do outside of sessions, the quicker they progress (on a general basis)

Secondly, 'unfamiliar with the position' as in that specific one or as APP/TWR as a whole. Are we teaching them how to tackle APP as a whole or just that specific position? My point of view is that mentors should not just have experience on one position, but have a general overview of a range of positions and a skill we should teach is being able to familiarise yourself with an unknown position as opposed to repeatedly going over the same sweatbox over and over and over again. 

 

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Trevor Hannant
1 hour ago, James Yuen said:

Secondly, 'unfamiliar with the position' as in that specific one or as APP/TWR as a whole. Are we teaching them how to tackle APP as a whole or just that specific position? My point of view is that mentors should not just have experience on one position, but have a general overview of a range of positions and a skill we should teach is being able to familiarise yourself with an unknown position as opposed to repeatedly going over the same sweatbox over and over and over again. 

 

 

Having experience on a range of positions is good but if they're not FULLY conversant with local procedures/intricacies...   If someone's going to mentor at a particular airfield, then I'd suggest they need to have a minimum time controlling there - not the single connection for <2 hours that one mentor had prior to mentoring me on a position and was reading up the vMATS as we were in progress...

We need to set standards for mentors as well as students - and position familiarity has to be one if we want students to progress effectively.  Yes, we should be teaching a rating as a whole, not just how to control somewhere specific* but when a mentor isn't 100% on a particular position as they've not had any time there, then we need to reconsider how we approach mentoring.

*Side point:  This was one of my issues around how CTS is being implemented - we should be moving students around a few different airfields so they're learning how to use the skills in different places/situations, but that's another topic entirely...

 

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4 minutes ago, Trevor Hannant said:

 

Having experience on a range of positions is good but if they're not FULLY conversant with local procedures/intricacies...   If someone's going to mentor at a particular airfield, then I'd suggest they need to have a minimum time controlling there - not the single connection for <2 hours that one mentor had prior to mentoring me on a position and was reading up the vMATS as we were in progress...

 

 

Fully agree with that Trever , I find that shocking that he was mentoring you at an airport he wasn't familiar with ,goes back to what I said above and that's to be a mentor you should have a min of x amount of hours at the Airport they wish to mentor at.

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1 hour ago, Richard Keen said:

Fully agree with that Trever , I find that shocking that he was mentoring you at an airport he wasn't familiar with ,goes back to what I said above and that's to be a mentor you should have a min of x amount of hours at the Airport they wish to mentor at.

Mentors teach generic app skills. That is what you are being examined on. You can learn airfield specifics in your own time after you gain the rating. Therefore, neither the mentor or the student needs a huge understanding of the airfield. Of course, they need to understand some 'basics' of the airfield, such as agreed levels for inbounds, stacks, CAS structure etc. 

Edited by Fraser Cooper
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30 minutes ago, Fraser Cooper said:

Mentors teach generic app skills. That is what you are being examined on. You can learn airfield specifics in your own time after you gain the rating. Therefore, neither the mentor or the student needs a huge understanding of the airfield. Of course, they need to understand some 'basics' of the airfield, such as agreed levels for inbounds, stacks, CAS structure etc. 

I'm not some new S1 I've mentored before so I know exactly what mentors teach , I still stand by what I say in that mentors should have a min amount of solo controlling time before they can be considered for a role of a mentor  ,lost count  the amount of times I've picked up on errors that the mentor didn't while I was controlling above them and a student  ..wrong sids and FLs etc etc .

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12 hours ago, Trevor Hannant said:

Having experience on a range of positions is good but if they're not FULLY conversant with local procedures/intricacies...   If someone's going to mentor at a particular airfield, then I'd suggest they need to have a minimum time controlling there - not the single connection for <2 hours that one mentor had prior to mentoring me on a position and was reading up the vMATS as we were in progress...

 

You could be referring to the mentoring you received from me, or someone else I see in your history, but believe it or not, I only had 2 hours on EGGD APP before mentoring you. I was one of several Instructors drafted in to assist at Bristol because you and others weren't getting enough mentor time... I never claimed to be a local prodigy, but I certainly remember covering a good deal of S3 content! Apologies if this was a complete waste of time for you, but as an examiner, we are certainly more fussed about someone's generic skills than getting local details correct.

---

Anyway, I don't mentor anymore because I don't like committing to it a couple of days before. I only really know if I'm going to be staying in on an evening on the day, and I tend to hold off picking sessions up in case it's not enough notice!

Oh, and the session reports are quite long but I've never felt obliged to fill 'em! I've always just put in what I thought was necessary, and I would have thought all mentors could do that. In fact, I'd quite like to do a session now...

Edited by Harry Sugden
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13 hours ago, Richard Keen said:

Fully agree with that Trever , I find that shocking that he was mentoring you at an airport he wasn't familiar with ,goes back to what I said above and that's to be a mentor you should have a min of x amount of hours at the Airport they wish to mentor at.

Honestly Richard, the fact you are making this comment in my mind shows that you are a little out of touch. 

The whole idea of the CTS (as I interpret(ed) it) when it began was that there was far less emphasis on learning local procedures. You are no longer trained to become a local hero and know your airfield inside out as in reality this doesn't benefit you much going forward. 

You should now be mentored to a generic standard meaning you learn how to do things big picture and not specific to a local field - I feel this significantly damages the argument you are making. 

If CTS has changed in this respect then I am wrong, but that's the way I've understood it. 

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On 17/09/2017 at 21:14, Fraser Cooper said:

I agree. I think this is a good point and the progress sheets definitely need looking at. 

It's on the list - working on it. I'm looking for an improvement to how we record session reports though, not just to shorten them. 

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Trevor Hannant
6 hours ago, Harry Sugden said:

You could be referring to the mentoring you received from me, or someone else I see in your history, but believe it or not, I only had 2 hours on EGGD APP before mentoring you. I was one of several Instructors drafted in to assist at Bristol because you and others weren't getting enough mentor time... I never claimed to be a local prodigy, but I certainly remember covering a good deal of S3 content! Apologies if this was a complete waste of time for you, but as an examiner, we are certainly more fussed about someone's generic skills than getting local details correct.

No Harry, wasn't you... :)

Edited by Trevor Hannant
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Alex Hodgkinson
21 hours ago, James Yuen said:

Secondly, 'unfamiliar with the position' as in that specific one or as APP/TWR as a whole. Are we teaching them how to tackle APP as a whole or just that specific position? My point of view is that mentors should not just have experience on one position, but have a general overview of a range of positions and a skill we should teach is being able to familiarise yourself with an unknown position as opposed to repeatedly going over the same sweatbox over and over and over again. 

 

 

I was talking about specific positions. I feel that central training hasn't helped overly with regards to this; but at the end of the day the onus is on the mentor knowing what they're teaching and in a few cases where I've either being controlling adjacent positions or flying for students and being deliberately 'tricky' the mentor hasn't helped the student or themselves because they don't know what the SOP is.

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Alas, I let mentoring go aside while I did my C1, and that ended up taking over two years! 

The problem for me was always reading other people's reports and wanting to poke rusty nails in my eyes. The colors, the bumff and waffle, the condescension, it all got too much and started to seem like a willy swinging exercise as to who could look the most officious. It got very very detailed too, people split hairs over the order of words on a VFR joining clearance for example (which I know has its place) but in the same report the student was noted that their approach vectoring was appalling. It never seemed to be about the bigger picture of progressing the student, always about the minutiae. 

I know from speaking to the students too they found this disheartening, as progress grinds to a halt and we end up in the situation Parker describes of 'just one more session for x' 

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I left mentoring for some of the reasons given in this forum topic.I also found that as there was no de facto references being used and that some  mentors taught different procedures causing confusion to some students. I do not think that mentors are teachers but advisors. I also understand that future students would be taught via e-learning and would be expected to known all the 'theory' before practical training at specified airfields. The proposed S1/S2 and S3 appear to be much more comprehensive and a higher standard of knowledge expected than I had during my training. New mentors will need to be up to speed with the new training requirements to mentor/advise future students and for current mentors, attend a mentor familiarization session on the prosposed new syllabi. I note on another forum that there is a 'new mentor' training session taking place at EGGP tonight - is this a first? A big committment will be expected of new mentors both in terms of time and ATC knowledge, only time will tell if we expect too high a standard for what after all is a game.

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A few small points from me:

On 18/09/2017 at 19:17, Alex Hodgkinson said:

2) Students simply did not take on board your advice. They want the rating yesterday and have no interest in reading a 40+ page document that tells them everything they need to know.

Unfortunately, this is always going to be the case: for many, the training/rating is simply a hoop to jump through in order to reach the goal, i.e. the ability to control X position. C'est la vie; whilst it would obviously  be lovely if everybody was simply doing it for the sake and experience of learning (and such students are always a joy because they make the instructor's life very easy!) the reality is that it is unrealistic to expect it to be so. A large part of the role (and the challenge!) of the instructor/mentor is to motivate and inspire the student and finding strategies to get around such issues: simply dumping a 40+ page document in a student's lap (I'm not saying that you specifically did this, Alex -- but as a general point) and telling them to read it will probably work fine for a motivated student but not so for the 'average' student. In this case, perhaps focusing on a small segment relevant to the next session, introducing it during the debrief from the previous and testing understanding in the brief prior to the next session may make it more manageable/less intimidating?

On 18/09/2017 at 19:17, Alex Hodgkinson said:

3) Other mentors deciding that they knew best and move students closer to 'test standard' than they actually were. This was a problem not only for me as I felt that I wasn't being taken seriously and also for the student who thought they were better than they actually were and then became completely demoralised when I moved the progress ticks back to where they should have been

This, obviously, is a standardisation issue: did you ever try contacting these other mentors to ask how they arrived at their assessment and/or raising the issue with lead mentors etc? Do mentors get together to discuss such matters at all? Is there feedback from examiners regarding general areas that mentors may be being overly generous etc? We also have a feedback form which students are encouraged to complete after each lesson; one of the questions is "How would you rate the assessment you were given?" -- you may find in some cases that said student feels a particular grade was excessively generous!

You raise a very valid point -- ultimately it is something which can only be solved by communication in all directions, though.

On 18/09/2017 at 22:33, Trevor Hannant said:

If someone's going to mentor at a particular airfield, then I'd suggest they need to have a minimum time controlling there - not the single connection for <2 hours that one mentor had prior to mentoring me on a position and was reading up the vMATS as we were in progress...

I thought (as above) the idea was to shift away from worrying about regurgitating the vMATS for a particular airfield and focussing more on generic skills. Is it more important for the mentor to teach that at Airfield X, on odd-numbered days of the week you should route C172s down taxiway Z or is it more about whether you know and can apply the universal separation standards etc?

Quote

Filling in mentoring reports

Lots of people have mentioned this.

I think the first question which needs to be asked is -- what is the purpose of a mentoring report? Who is it aimed at?

At BAV our training reports are a simple free text field attached to a particular session (thus it sits within the context of a particular session with particular defined objectives). The report itself, though visible to the student, is primarily intended for the reference of any other instructor who may pick up a session with said student in future, as well as a record of training completed (for the benefit of the PTD auditors!) . Thus they are generally written in the third person and usually consist of a few short paragraphs which is not usually too onerous to write. The emphasis is on the verbal debrief at the end of the session as it is much more effective to facilitate a discussion with your student and get them to understand for themselves what happened and why than it is to write them an essay. Indeed, I'd even go so far as to say that if you haven't talked about something in the debrief it probably shouldn't go on the report.

Is there any support/guidance for mentors regarding briefing/debriefing techniques? Indeed, is there any guidance on what should go in a report and how to complete it?

Edited by Simon Kelsey
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