The teaching entanglement

As an educator or mentor, engaging your students or mentees is crucial to their learning and development. Active engagement helps to build a connection between the student and the material being taught, allowing for better understanding and retention. However, it can be a challenge to keep students engaged, especially in today’s digital age where distractions are plentiful. Here are some tips on how to more actively engage your students and mentees:

Create a welcoming environment

The first step in engaging your students or mentees is to create a welcoming environment. This means being approachable, supportive, and non-judgmental. When students feel comfortable and safe, they are more likely to participate actively in discussions and ask questions. You can create a welcoming environment by starting each session with a brief introduction or icebreaker activity, and by encouraging everyone to participate.

  • Start the class or session with an icebreaker question, such as “What is something interesting you learned or did over the weekend?”
  • Make yourself approachable and available for questions or concerns before and after class or session.
  • Use positive body language, such as smiling, making eye contact, and nodding to show you are actively listening.

Use a variety of teaching methods

Using a variety of teaching methods can help to keep students engaged and interested in the material. Some students may be visual learners, while others may be more auditory or kinesthetic learners. By incorporating different teaching methods such as lectures, discussions, hands-on activities, and multimedia presentations, you can cater to different learning styles and keep everyone engaged.

  • Use multimedia presentations such as PowerPoint, videos, or podcasts to supplement lectures.
  • Incorporate hands-on activities, such as group discussions, case studies, or role-playing exercises.
  • Use online educational platforms, such as Kahoot or Quizlet, to create interactive quizzes or games.

Provide feedback and praise

Providing regular feedback and praise is a great way to keep students motivated and engaged. Positive feedback can boost confidence and encourage students to continue working hard. Be specific with your feedback and praise, highlighting specific accomplishments or improvements. This can also help students understand what they are doing well and what areas they need to work on.

  • Instead of just saying “good job,” be specific with your praise. For example, “Great job on the research project! Your analysis of the data was really insightful.”
  • Provide constructive feedback that identifies areas of strength and areas for improvement.
  • Encourage students to self-reflect on their progress and set goals for the future.

Incorporate real-life examples

Incorporating real-life examples and case studies can help students see how the material they are learning applies to the real world. This can make the material more interesting and relevant, and help students understand its practical applications. You can also encourage students to share their own experiences or ask them to research real-life examples related to the topic being discussed.

  • Use current events or news articles to illustrate how the material being taught applies to real-world situations.
  • Use case studies or success stories to show how individuals or organizations have applied the concepts being taught.
  • Ask students to research and share their own examples of real-world applications related to the topic.

Encourage collaboration and group work

Collaboration and group work can help to keep students engaged and foster a sense of community in the classroom. By working together, students can learn from one another, share their perspectives, and develop teamwork skills. You can encourage collaboration by assigning group projects or activities, and by setting clear expectations for participation and teamwork.

  • Assign group projects that require students to work together to solve a problem or create a product.
  • Set clear expectations for participation and teamwork, such as assigning roles or responsibilities.
  • Provide opportunities for students to give and receive feedback to each other to improve collaboration skills.

Be flexible and adaptable

It is important to be flexible and adaptable in your teaching or mentoring style. Each student or mentee is unique and may have different learning styles, needs, and preferences. By being open to feedback and willing to adjust your teaching style as needed, you can better engage your students and help them achieve their goals.

  • Consider using different teaching methods if a particular method is not engaging students.
  • Be open to feedback from students and adjust teaching or mentoring style accordingly.
  • Modify assignments or projects to better meet the needs of individual students or mentees.

Use technology to enhance engagement

It is essential to be following the technology trends, and to adapt to them. Let it be adding PowerPoint slides to your zoom background, this way not needed for listeners to split their focus between the slides and your body language; or using other online services, you can do a lot to increase the value of your teachings.

  • Use interactive whiteboards or smartboards to display multimedia presentations or virtual simulations.
  • Use online platforms, such as Google Classroom or Blackboard, to post resources, assignments, and communicate with students outside of class.
  • Use educational apps or software to gamify learning and make it more engaging.

Make learning relevant to students’ interests and goals

This is about understanding your audience and adapt towards them – there is no material that is “one size fits all”. Start with the necessary interaction to better get their views, and make sure you apply this knowledge on the fly.

  • Incorporate students’ interests and hobbies into class discussions or projects.
  • Create assignments that are relevant to their future career goals or personal aspirations.
  • Encourage students to share their personal experiences or perspectives related to the material being taught.

Use storytelling and humor

Nothing keeps a message fresher than a good timed joke. It can be incorporated into the material, can be ad hoc – this and the use of a story will make wonders to make sure the material stick for longer time.

  • Use storytelling to illustrate complex concepts or to make a point.
  • Use humor, when appropriate, to make the material more relatable and memorable – this might be the good time to use the memes.
  • Use anecdotes or personal stories to make connections between the material being taught and real-world situations.

Provide opportunities for reflection and self-assessment

Labs and other tools that would help try out the newly formed skills are quintessential to make sure the material will stay with the studentele. This does not necessarily mean you as a teacher needs to evaluate – providing a way to self assess is many cases more useful.

  • Use reflection questions or journal prompts to help students think more deeply about the material and their own learning.
  • Use self-assessment tools, such as rubrics or checklists, to help students evaluate their own work and progress.
  • Encourage students to set their own learning goals and track their progress towards achieving them.

In conclusion, actively engaging students and mentees is essential to their learning and development. There are many ways to actively engage students and mentees, including creating a welcoming environment, using a variety of teaching methods, providing feedback and praise, incorporating real-life examples, encouraging collaboration, being flexible and adaptable, using technology, making learning relevant to students’ interests and goals, using storytelling and humor, and providing opportunities for reflection and self-assessment. By incorporating these strategies, you can help your students and mentees stay motivated and interested in the material, leading to better learning outcomes and success.

Mentors and sponsors – why both?

This post is inspired by an amazing TED talk snippet from the breathtaking Carla Harris. So, I already wrote about mentors, and you might have even started to look for one based on it – and now I come with this “sponsor” thing, looks like I cannot make up my mind? So, what is actually a sponsor? When and why do you need one?

Big multinational companies offer numerous opportunities for professional growth, but they can also be complex and challenging work environments. For this reason, having a sponsor can be incredibly valuable. A sponsor is an influential person within the organization who advocates for and supports a protégé’s career advancement. In this post, I will explore the value of having a sponsor if you work at a big multinational company.

Increased Visibility

One of the most significant benefits of having a sponsor is increased visibility within the organization. Sponsors are usually high-ranking executives or senior leaders who can offer valuable exposure to their protégés. This increased visibility can help you gain recognition and establish a reputation for excellence. Moreover, it can also provide valuable networking opportunities, which can lead to more significant opportunities and promotions.

Access to Resources

Working at a big multinational company can be challenging, and it can be challenging to navigate the various departments, teams, and stakeholders. A sponsor can help you gain access to resources that are critical to your success, such as training programs, mentorship opportunities, and important information about the company culture and policies. Sponsors can also offer guidance on how to navigate the complex organizational structure and offer insights on how to manage competing priorities and stakeholders.

Accelerated Learning

Another valuable benefit of having a sponsor is accelerated learning. A sponsor can offer invaluable advice and guidance, drawing from their own experience to help you avoid common pitfalls and achieve your career goals more efficiently. They can also help you identify opportunities for growth and development and provide insights into the skills and competencies needed for advancement within the company.

Advocacy and Support

A sponsor’s most significant value is their advocacy and support for their protégé’s career advancement. Sponsors can use their influence and network to open doors and create opportunities that might otherwise be inaccessible. They can also provide valuable feedback and offer guidance on how to develop critical skills and competencies that are necessary for success within the organization.

Increased Engagement and Retention

Finally, having a sponsor can help increase engagement and retention within the organization. Employees who feel supported and valued are more likely to be committed to their work and stay with the company long-term. Furthermore, sponsors can help employees understand how their work fits into the larger organizational goals and provide insights on how to make a more significant impact.

So, sponsor or mentor?

The short answer is: Both. In addition to the benefits of having a sponsor, it is important to understand how having a sponsor differs from having a mentor. While there is overlap between these roles, there are some key differences to consider.

A mentor is typically someone who provides guidance and advice on a broader range of topics, including personal and professional development. Mentors can come from within or outside of the organization, and they often have expertise in a particular field or industry. Mentors may provide support, feedback, and encouragement, but they are not necessarily in a position to advocate for their mentees within the organization.

A sponsor, on the other hand, is someone who actively supports and advocates for their protégé’s career advancement within the organization. Sponsors are typically higher up in the organization and have the influence and power to open doors and create opportunities for their protégés. Sponsors also provide critical feedback, guidance, and support, but their focus is on helping their protégés achieve their career goals within the organization.

In summary, while both mentors and sponsors provide valuable support and guidance, their focus and scope differ. Mentors provide guidance on personal and professional development, while sponsors focus specifically on career advancement within the organization. It is essential to understand the differences between these roles and identify which one is best suited for your specific career goals and needs. In some cases, having both a mentor and a sponsor can be beneficial, as they can provide complementary support and guidance in different areas of your professional development.


In conclusion, having a sponsor is incredibly valuable, especially for employees working at big multinational companies. Sponsors can provide increased visibility, access to resources, accelerated learning, advocacy and support, and increased engagement and retention. If you are looking to advance your career and make a more significant impact within your organization, it is essential to seek out a sponsor who can help guide and support your professional growth.

Thank you for coming to my TED talk 😉

(Reverse) Mentoring in 2023

The concept of reverse mentoring is often attributed to Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric. In the late 1990s, Welch implemented a reverse mentoring program at GE to help senior executives learn about new technologies and the perspectives of younger employees. The program was seen as a success and inspired other companies to adopt similar programs.

Mirror or Reverse Mentoring

There are several potential benefits of reverse mentoring:

  • Transfer of knowledge: Younger employees can share their expertise in areas such as technology and digital media with more experienced colleagues.
  • Improved communication: The mentoring relationship can foster open and honest communication across generations, breaking down barriers and fostering a more inclusive work culture.
  • Expanded perspective: Senior executives can gain a fresh perspective on the company and its operations from a younger employee’s point of view, helping to promote innovation and change.
  • Career development: Younger employees can benefit from the guidance and mentorship of more experienced colleagues, helping them to develop their careers.
  • Increased productivity: Reverse mentoring can improve cross-functional collaboration and increase overall productivity by leveraging the strengths of employees across all levels of the organization.
  • Improving diversity and inclusion initiatives: Reverse mentoring can be a tool to create an inclusive culture. It can facilitate learning, understanding and mutual respect between different generations and also different cultures, promoting diversity in the workplace.
  • Improved understanding of generational differences: Reverse mentoring can help to bridge the gap between different generations, allowing for better understanding and communication between employees of different ages.
  • Increased job satisfaction: Reverse mentoring can provide a sense of fulfillment for both the mentor and mentee, as both parties can learn from one another and grow as individuals.
  • Building networks: Reverse mentoring can also help employees to build a strong professional network, connecting them with individuals across different departments and levels of the organization.
  • Developing leadership skills: Reverse mentoring can be an opportunity for both the mentor and mentee to improve their leadership skills, as they learn to communicate effectively, manage their time, provide feedback, and resolve conflict.
  • Improving organizational culture: Reverse mentoring can also foster a positive organizational culture by promoting collaboration, mutual respect and understanding, and a shared sense of purpose across the organization.
  • Enhancing brand image: Reverse mentoring can be great internal and external recruitment tool. It can enhance the company’s brand image as a progressive organization that values the contributions of all its employees, regardless of their age or experience level.

I recently got involved in reverse mentoring – but I do not think I could be sharing more on this 🙂