Training EMOTION 4 EVS MENTORS
Above you can see the next training course EMOTION FOR EVS MENTORS, realized with the video material from the last EMOTION FOR EVS MENTORS, in Murcia, Spain
What is EMOTION (4 EVS)?
During past ten years a wide array of trainings where organized for and with youth in Europe. The trainings covered such as intercultural learning, democratic values, youth participation and activism and parallel with that process the process of training of trainers (TOT) and development of new training materials and curricula took place.
In our opinion in the majority of training for trainers and other courses for youth workers as well as in other developed curricula some components are very often missing and those are the skills that will help youth workers to deal with some topics that are equally important for the training impact. It is not unusual that dealing with some difficult social issues (like mentoring specific target groups, workshops about gender based violence, youth work with ethnic minorities, etc) some participant may feel and express anger, fear, sadness, guilt, etc.
Sometimes, youth workers are not prepared to have a creative response on that, and don’t know how to handle intensive feelings in the group of participants, but also how to handle their own emotional reactions. Not being able to cope with that can and is influencing the overall result of any learning experience itself.
In non-formal education, participant is perceived as the whole (totality) that has different needs for development – intellectual, but also social and emotional. So, it is our opinion that youth workers (EVS mentors in this case) need to have more skills and knowledge about how to give support to participants and how to support them in a context of emotional management and stress relief. This training involves a chance to develop their emotional competence what will enable them to deliver of better quality trainings and educational activities within the Erasmus + Programme.
In this sense EMOTION as a training concept is born in 2010 and it is firstly implemented in Lorca (Spain) in 2011, later on in Iceland (2012), Serbia (2013), Iceland (2014) and last time in Caravaca de la Cruz, Spain in 2015 with this edition dedicated to EVS mentors.
Aims and objectives
The aim of the course was to develop the professional skills of those working as mentors of European volunteers for the enhancement and effectiveness of these processes accompanying youth volunteers in EVS.
The specific objective was:
To develop emotional competence (development of listening skills, communication, assertiveness and especially empathy) and the mentors' ability to support european volunteers during mentoring sessions.
Partner countries and participants in the project
We had 25 participants in Emotion for EVS Mentors plus 3 trainers from Spain and Serbia.
The expected results of the project were the improvement of professional skills and employability of participants through the development of skills in the following areas:
1) EMOTIONAL COMPETENCE.
2) LANGUAGE COMPETENCE in English.
3) SOCIAL AND CULTURAL COMPETENCE.
4) LEARNING TO LEARN COMPETENCE.
These results were further developed and reflected upon by each participant when having to realize their own YOUTHPASS certificate when it comes to those competences.
Apart from them participants created a kind of manifesto about EVS mentoring and Emotional Competence where they drafted some recommendations about what an EVS mentor should consider or do regarding the development of this important competence. See below
CHALLEGES FOR EVS MENTORS
RECOMENDATIONS FOR EVS MENTORS REGARDING THE EMOTIONAL COMPETENCE DEVELOPMENT
Recomendations for EVS MENTORS:
* Regarding EMOTIONAL COMPETENCE:
Recognizing your emotions, being aware of your own feelings and expressing them in a way that respect yourself and the other people. They are the resources we have to cope with all situations and to deal with other’s emotions. It is a key competence in a lifelong learning perspective and specially for EVS mentors.
* Regarding what to do in the case of a volunteer getting aggressive, if the mentor cannot handle the situation he/she could ask for help from specialists, for example. It os important to give the volunteer space and time to express anger. In this process we should set limits to prevent the volunteer to harm us, the environment or him/herself. It is crucial to give empathy to the volunteer. At the right moment and when the situation is calmer mentor could discuss and reflect with the volunteer about the reasons behind his/her anger.
*Regarding how to confront volunteers in a healthy way, it is important to create a private and safe atmosphere for conversation, making sure that mentor is not dealing with strong emotions at the moment. To avoid guilt and use more questioning to the volunteers and not to talk from a position of authority it is necessary to make an effort to create positions of equality in this discussion. Use facts and not assumptions. Use also “I speech” and “empathy” if necessary.
* In relation with dealing with guilt during the mentoring of EVS volunteers it is important to clarify the different roles stated in the agreement between the volunteer and the hosting organization. Define and agree (by written or oral form) the acceptable limits in the relationship volunteer-mentor. If possible mentor should undergo for practical and specialist training for detecting and improving his/her emotional competences for such role. To investigate his/her personal tendencies towards feeling guilty and become aware of it when dealing with the volunteers. Using “I speech” technique when setting limits and discussing communication problems.
*Regarding the social aspect of EVS and the role of the mentor, it is important that s/he can provide socialization opportunities for the volunteers as well as to support that process in a progressive way so that the volunteer does not depend on the mentor for having a social life.
*Regarding the support for volunteers in situations where they face fear or feel scared it is important that the mentor takes time to sit and listen to the volunteer giving him/her empathy. After that, to develop together a strategy so that the volunteer can deal better with the fear as such. The role of the mentor in this case is to empower and also coach the volunteer to keep going in dealing with the fear but giving him/her the space and time necessary for it.
If the situation regarding the fear is outside the possibilities of the mentor, professionally speaking, s/he should forward the volunteer to the right direction, according to his/her needs.
*With regard to the issue of the mentor being friend or not of the EVS volunteer, we could say that if the mentor and the EVS volunteers become friends, it is ok as long as the mentor is able to perform his/her role and keep professional, empathic and trustful within the EVS relationship. If the mentor and the EVS volunteer does not become friends, it is fine too, as long as the mentor keeps in mind his/her role as written above.
*In relation with the EVS volunteer showing sadness (scenes of crying), the mentor should allow space for this and not avoid such feeling of expression of it. In this sense the mentor will try to comfort the volunteer creating a trustful atmosphere that allows this kind of things. Option 1: If the volunteer starts talking, the mentor will listen actively. Option 2: Ask the volunteer if s/he is ready to talk. Option 3: The mentor could say “If or when you are ready/willing to talk, I’m here” or will try to communicate with the volunteer in an empathic way, focusing on the volunteers’ needs.
*Regarding how to enhance volunteers’ responsibilities the mentor should remind the volunteer about his/her responsibility as stated in the activities agreement in terms of work and housekeeping. It is important that the volunteers’ coordinator announces and conduct regular check ups. It is also necessary to explain the importance of volunteer work to the final target group, explaining the consequences of irresponsible attitude/behavior for the project, its beneficiaries and the hosting and sending organizations.
(This document was drafted by the group of participants in Emotion for EVS Mentors in Caravaca de la Cruz, 9-17 February 2015)
Reflecting on helping relationship in EVS Mentoring
Examples of different ways to deal with Anger
Reflecting on helping relationship in EVS Mentoring