Friday, January 24, 2014

EVO Mentoring blog post 2: bags of goodies

So far we have confirmed the symbiotic nature of the mentor-mentee relationship.

The following points have received less attention (again from "A Learning Guide for Teacher Mentors" from the State of Victoria Departrment of Education and Early Childhood Development)
  • post-modern teaching is different: teachers need much more emotional support because they're teaching the children of fractured, poor, or single-parent families
  • is this the future of mentoring? no more mentoring pairs; not only focused on classroom work; integrated part of "broader improvement efforts." I just wonder...
  • good answer to "What's the difference between mentoring, coaching, and counselling?"
    • (on page 20-21 of the Guide)
    • Mentoring: professional - the "critical friend"
    • Coaching: short term, performance oriented
    • Counselling: short term, "developmental, corrective objective."
  • Feedback
    • Warm feedback: builds on strengths
    • Cool feedback: sees what's not in the work and flags it
    • Hard feedback: promotes more global thinking
  • Reflective practice
    • So important! I've asked my DOS to do a workshop on it
    • So many ways!
      • journals, formal/informal conferences, observe each other
    • Reflective questions
      • What's working, not working?
      • How was your lesson?
      • What went as planned?
      • Why do you think the lesson went so well?
      • How can you use what you have learned in another situation?
This Guide contains bags of goodies! Thanks EVO leaders.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

EVO Mentoring blog post 1 of 2: Skills for Mentors

This is part one of a two-part post.

I have read the "Learning Guide for Mentors" assigned by the EVO 2014 Mentoring leaders.

These are the points that stood out for me; this isn't intended as a full summary of the Guide.

Key mentoring skills
  • I find the ideas of generative (Scharmer) and empathic (Covey) listening intriguing, but almost too abstract to grasp (page 4)
    • Generative listening seems to be about the future. How can I simultaneously listen and anticipate a mentee's (another person's) future speech? Why should I?
    • Empathic listening involves both heart and mind. Can it still be non-judgmental?
      • Covey says empathic listening figures when there is high emotion, stress in a relationship, low trust, etc.- this chimes with plenty of other sources on assertiveness, dealing with conflict, etc. It's good.
  • Observation (page 8)
    • Reflective thinking means slow down and be aware of your assumptions.
    • Reflective thinking is an important mentoring skill!
    • You have to be open-minded if you want to be a mentor: that's what reflective thinking does
  • Reflective questions (page 11)
    • plural forms signal there is more than one option
    • tentative language means ideas are open to interpretation
    • enabling language, for example "Given what you know about...."
    • empowering presuppositions, for example: "what goals do you have in mind?"
    • critical inquiry about a situation: a) what is true? b) what don't we know? c) what is impossible to know? d) what can we do to test our mental models? (page 24)
Sometimes the reflection is you!