The Dutch employ the same word to refer to learning and teaching. It makes sense since it is undeniable that when teaching, a person also learns, and when learning, also teaches by at least providing the practical experience for the teacher. Therefore, it is about serving and being served at the same time.
The education field is going through a transition to adjust and cope-up with current and future labor market challenges. Formal training is concentrated at the first stages of the life course, but its projections show a more distributed and continuous training path through the entire life course. This idea is also aligned with blended education and problem-based learning approaches, and continuous training programs. And these required more collegial relationships at work to complement the formal specific and general training.
Mentoring is an essential element when evaluating the meaning and purpose of many jobs. According to Homer in the Odyssey, Mentor was a friend from Ulysses and master and advisor of his son Telemachus. Later the RAE defines the word mentor as advisor and guide, master or godfather. Nowadays, the concept is gaining weight and notice as a best practice within the labor market and companies. Mentoring involves the effective transfer of knowledge and lessons learned from previous experiences, and the convergence of intergenerational learning to pursue advances in the respective fields.
As professor Adriaan van Zon taught me, together with trial-and-error practice, mentors constitute a fundamental component of effective learning. And the mentoring exercise provides the scope to improve intergenerational relationships and advance knowledge and sustainable development in all production sectors. Last but not least, the mentoring practice also generates positive externalities or spillovers at individual and community levels, such as better health and social capital, and cohesion.