The Use of Written Feedback Strategies to Reduce Tensions in Mentoring Relationships: A Reflective Case Study

near-peer mentoring, feedback, rapport, mentoring relationships, reflective case study


  • Nusrat Gulzar
    Doctoral Researcher, Department of Applied Linguistics, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK
January 17, 2023


In this paper, the author adopts a reflective case study approach to evaluate the management of rapport and power issues in her relationship with her mentee at a postgraduate mentoring programme at a British university. The evaluation focuses on the outcomes of adopting suitable feedback strategies and language constructions for providing verbal and written feedback to her mentee to mitigate tensions in the relationship. The paper also presents insights into the author’s reflective evaluation of her mentoring approach, the nature of the tensions encountered and how she addressed those challenges through feedback techniques. Audio recordings from pre- and post-observation meetings and the researcher’s written feedback reports were used as data in the study. The analysis’s primary focus was identifying distinct language patterns in vocal and written communication and how they might have assisted and constrained the possibility of mentee reflection and rapport. Findings indicate that careful use of language structures, namely, hedged markers, first-person references, conversational registers, and reflective questions, may assist in establishing rapport in mentoring relationships and, consequently, reduce tensions to some extent. The study is helpful for new mentors and teacher educators interested in knowing more about the nature and complexities of near-peer mentoring relations and effective feedback techniques.