Mentoring for text editors: Fit for purpose in the era of freelancing, more so than alternative development strategies
AbstractIn this article, the supportive role that mentoring relationships currently do and should play in the development and careers of text editors is described against the background of the particular circumstances of these service providers in a sector experiencing great organisational and technological changes. This is a group that is much neglected in the literature on mentoring. Since the mentoring of text editors is distinct from other forms of mentoring in a number of key respects, this article draws together what the literature has to say about both conventional and online or distance mentoring as performed in a range of contexts. I consider the application of Knowles’ (1970, 1984) adult learning theory and Bandura’s (1977) self-efficacy mechanisms to be important potential contributors to the success of mentorships, in particular those involving adult text editors. The article also critically analyses how mentoring for text editors can be distinguished from alternative development strategies such as coaching, training, teaching and counselling. It shows that mentoring is fundamentally different from these strategies according to ten criteria, and is better suited to text editors’ need for professional development as a form of lifelong adult e-learning. The lack of any form of assessment of mentees, in particular, is regarded as a weakness of the currently available mentorship programmes aiming to professionalise adult text editors through a process of lifelong learning.
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