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Thursday, April 30, 2009

What is the Conflict Resolution Method (CRM)?

The Seven Step Conflict 

Resolution Method 


1. The mentor and the mentee are in conflict.

2. Both want to resolve the conflict.

3. The mentor and the mentee find a convenient time and  place to resolve the conflict.                

Step Number

Step Explanation


The mentor and mentee find a time and place to resolve their conflict.


The mentor invites the mentee to state how he or she sees the problem. The mentor listens, and paraphrases the mentee's statement.


The mentor states how he or she sees the problem, and the mentee listens, and must correctly paraphrase the mentor's statement.


The mentor and mentee continue speaking, and listening to each other until they both are satisfied that they understand each other's thoughts and feelings.


The mentor and the mentee brainstorm how to solve the problem.


The mentor and the mentee create a plan to resolve their differences.


The mentor and mentee agree to meet again to evaluate how the plan is working.

On the next blog post we will present a sample dialogue between the mentor and the mentee during which they apply the seven step Conflict Resolution Method. 

How Do the Mentor and the Mentee Negotiate Expectations?

Before we answer the question ( how do the mentor and he mentee negotiate expectations?) let’s explain (a) the meaning of expectations, and (b) why expectations need to be negotiated by the mentor and mentee. Kindly refer to the graphic at the top of this post.

According to Sherwood and Gildewill (1973) [1], expectations are silent demands between and among people. Thus, in the mentor/mentee relationship each person has hidden demands of the other. When those silent demands remain unvoiced, feelings such as frustration at best, and sometimes resentment, anger and hostility may arise. Moreover, when these negative feelings are not addressed, the relationship can deteriorate to the point of being unproductive and dysfunctional. Thus, Sherwood and Gildewill strongly suggest that at the beginning of a professional relationship each party should share (a) what he or she expects to do, and (b) what he or she expects from the other person. Once these expectations are voiced, and any issues emerge, these once- hidden concerns can be openly resolved or negotiated. They argue by extension that expectations negotiation is the sine qua non for a successful mentor/mentee relationship. It is, therefore, both a relationship and trust-building exercise.

Exactly How Do the Mentor and Mentee Negotiate Their Expectations?

1. Both the mentor and mentee complete these sentences.

As the mentor, this is what I expect to do for my mentee...

As the mentor, this is what I expect from my mentee...

As the mentee, this is what I expect to do in and outside of the classroom to prepare for this experience (i.e. serving as a madrich, student teacher, co-teacher, teacher, etc.)...

As the mentee, this is what I expect from my mentor...

2. They share their expectations and resolve any differences.

3. They implement what they have agreed to do.

4. If and when a problem emerges, they renegotiate and resolve their differences.

In a tomorrow’s blog post we will discuss how to resolve mentor-mentee issues through an interpersonal procedure called the Conflict Resolution Method (CRM).

[1]Sherwood, J.J. & Gildewill, J.C. (1973). Planned Renegotiation: A Norm-Setting OD Intervention. The 1973 Annual Handbook for Group Facilitators. Jones, J.E. & Pfeiffer, J.W. (eds). San Diego, CA: University Associates, 195-202.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What is the Mentee to Do Upon Receiving Feedback From His or Her Mentor?

Let’s assume the mentor gives this feedback to his or her mentee: “ There are many things you did in class today that showed major improvement including the use of ‘think time’ and ‘peer rehearsal time’. However the next time  I visit your class I want you to use a “Quiet Signal” to get students to stop what they are doing, and listen to your next instructions.

1. Ask for clarification. “What do you mean by a Quiet Signal?"

2.  Paraphrase the feedback. “Dr. Solomon, let me be certain that I understand what you are telling me. You’re  saying you liked how I used ‘think time’ and ‘peer rehearsal time’, but you want me to start using a quiet signal. Is that correct?”

3.  Ask the mentor to demonstrate the practice. “Would you mind showing me how to use a Quiet Signal?”

4. Ask for another example. “I see how you use the quiet signal, and that seems to work very well for you. But are there other ways to stop students from off-task talking, and focus their attention on my instructions?”

Let’s assume the mentor offers these alternatives: “The quiet signal can be a timer, a set of hand claps, a short tune, counting down from five to zero, or any visual or auditory prompt that ends off-task peer conversation.”

Let’s assume the mentor also shares the poster below which describes a quiet signal, and later demonstrates how to use it in class.











5.  Thank the mentor- self-explanatory

6.  Implement the practice- self-explanatory


In tomorrow’s blog post we will answer this question: How Do the Mentor and the Mentee Negotiate Expectations?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Special Announcement: Jewish Reconstructionist Federation (JRF) Launches New Post B'nai Mitzvah Program

Dear Colleagues and Friends:

Here is a new program sponsored by the JRF that is designed to meet the Judaic and social needs of post b'nai mitzvah teenagers while doing service to the community.

Jewish Reconstructionist Federation Announces Launch of

TEL Post B’nai Mitzvah Program in Fall 2009


JRF is proud to announce that it will launch the TEL Post B’nai Mitzvah Program in the fall of 2009.  Tel is the Hebrew word for an archeological hill, and JRF is using the word as an acronym for Teens: Experience and Learning. JRF seeks to create a true tel experience for our teens based on the opportunity to dig through first-hand “life-centered” experiences and sift out new, meaningful educational gleanings that are personally relevant to their lives.


The TEL program was created in response to the need expressed by Reconstructionist Education Directors for effective post b’nai mitzvah programming.  


All JRF congregations and havurot are welcome to participate if they can put together a “team” of youth willing to try out the program.  The first year will be geared towards eighth and ninth graders, with subsequent grades added in each successive grade until the TEL program includes eighth through twelfth graders.  As with most teen programs, developing a critical mass will be key to making this program work in each community.  We encourage JRF congregations that are close to one another to explore combining youth to help develop critical masses.


Each community will also need to hire a madrih/a (educator/counselor) to teach the curriculum.  JRF will provide support in identifying madrihim (educators/counselors) wherever possible and will provide ongoing training and support to these people. 


This program is framed and anchored by two kallot (retreats) at Camp JRF.  The first will take place October 16-18, 2009 and the second May 7-9, 2010.  They will be similar to the successful No’ar Hadash kallot, and suitable for those who have and have not participated in those programs.  Eighth and ninth graders across the continent will stay connected to one another throughout the year with a TEL listserv.


In between the kallot, eight two hour havayot (experiential learning opportunities) will be held in each community.  These will be based on the effective havaya model of Camp JRF.  If a congregation or havurah wishes to supplement the eight havayot with more frequent programming (such as bi-weekly or even weekly gatherings), JRF will be interested in how your community is doing that and will connect you to other congregations and havurot with the same intention.


The curriculum of the TEL Program is based on the Values of Spiritual Peoplehood, one of the key approaches to Reconstructionist education and the basis of the Camp JRF curriculum.  Each year will have a theme.  The first year’s theme will be Tikkun Olam (Social Justice/Repair of the world).


The havayot will generally be structured according to the following arc: two sessions actively learning about the topic or value in greater depth, two preparing for activities related to that value that the eighth and ninth graders develop (on their own or from a menu created by the curriculum writer, the madrih/a and the education director), two sessions devoted to doing the activity or action, one planning how to share their experience with their larger community and the final session creatively communicating their experiences to their community.


At the spring kallah, the eighth and ninth graders will be reunited with old friends in person and will share the learning they did over the course of the year.  They will then be able to deepen their social relationships and learning together with another layer of culminating experiences and activities.  


Congregations interested in participating in the program should contact Rabbi Erin Hirsh, JRF Director of Education. ( – 215-885-5601 extension 16).


The JRF is grateful to the Schocken Foundation for making this program possible.  If you or someone you know is interested in more information about supporting the TEL program, please contact Marla Friedenberg, JRF Development Associate ( – 215-885-5601 ext 28.).


What are the Four Types of Feedback a Mentor Can Give His or Her Mentee?

What is feedback? Feedback is the observational data the mentor gives to the mentee.


Why is feedback given to the mentee? As a madrich/madricha, student, novice, beginning, advance beginning, or veteran teacher we cannot see everything that occurs when we are working with students or teaching. The purpose of giving feedback is to help the mentee improve his or her professional practice.


There are four types of feedback: Technical, constructive positive, constructive negative and corrective feedback. In the chart that follows definitions and sample applications of the four types of feedback are given.


Note: Lisa is the mentee in the application of these interpersonal skills.


Interpersonal Skills

Definition as it

Applies to a Mentee

Sample Application of the Mentor Teacher

Giving technical


To let the mentee know what you have observed without making any value judgments.

“Lisa, I saw four students resting their heads on their desks while you were teaching. I also noticed that their eyes were closed. You didn’t make any intervention. Tell me more about that.”


constructive positive


To let the mentee know that you have observed some teaching practice that she did well.

“Lisa, I noticed that you used three seconds of "wait time",[1] and asked the students not to raise their hands until you gave them a signal to do so. That was excellent. This insures that more students will respond to your questions, and at a higher level of thinking. I'm pleased to see this.”

Giving constructive negative feedback

To let the mentee know that you have observed a teaching practice that she did not do well.

“Lisa, we’ve discussed several times that you would start the lesson with a "quiet signal"[2] to let the students know that you are ready to begin instruction. It took you five minutes to begin your lesson. I'm not pleased.”

Giving corrective feedback

To let the mentee know what she can, and should do to improve her professional practice.

“Lisa, I noticed that when you asked your first question, you used three seconds of wait time; that was excellent. Next time, I’d like you to use wait time and peer rehearsal time[3]. That is, have students form pairs, and discuss their answers for a brief period of time before you ask for their responses. Okay?”

[1] Wait time is another term for think time.

[2] We will elaborate on the quiet signal in another blog.

[3] Peer rehearsal time is pair practice before sharing information with the entire class.


In tomorrow’s blog post we will discuss this question: What is the Mentee to Do Upon Receiving Feedback From His or Her Mentor?

Monday, April 27, 2009

What Does It Mean to Validate a Mentee?

In the previous blog we discussed three different types of listening: simple, emotional and respectful listening. Today we focus on another very important core interpersonal skill that the mentor should have as part of his or her repertoire, validating.

      Note: Lisa is the mentee.




   Definition: To validate a mentee is to let that person know through your verbal and nonverbal language that you support, understand and appreciate the feeling, the experience or the thought that he or she is sharing.




  Setting: Suppose your mentee, a new Judaics  teacher at a day school, shares this message with you.


                        "I’m twenty-three years old and I’m so frustrated. I thought I wanted to be a Judaics teacher, but it’s so hard. I spend hours planning lessons every night, and the students seemed bored to tears. Why am I so unhappy? I’m a failure as a Judaics teacher. "


  Validating: "Lisa, first of all I really appreciate your sharing this with me. I feel honored that that you could tell me what's going on inside of you. I want you to know that I have not exactly gone through what you are telling me,  but I can honestly say ]\ that my first year of teaching was the most challenging one of my professional life. I was my worst critic. When my lesson didn’t go well, I’d go home and feel devastated. Many a night I would have the hardest time sleeping, thinking that I could not face the students the next day. I realize that this is not exactly what you are feeling and experiencing, but this is what happened to me.”


  Discounting:"Lisa, I know exactly how you feel because I went through the same thing when I started teaching. You see..."




  Invalidating: "Lisa,  I care about you and I know that you are a very sensitive and caring teacher. Take my advice. Don't worry about it. I can assure you that these feelings will all go away next year. It will all work itself out. Believe me. Now let's go and have a cup of coffee.  Okay?"


In tomorrow’s blog post we will introduce four different types of feedback:technical,   constructive positive, constructive negative, and corrective feedback.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Three Essential Listening Skills In the Mentor's Repertoire of Interpersonal Skills: Simple, Emotional and Respectful Listening

Three Essential Listening Skills in the Mentor's Repertoire:

Simple, Emotional and Respectful


Note: Lisa is the mentee in these applications.

Interpersonal Skills

Definition as it Applies to a Mentee

Sample Application of the Mentor Teacher

Simple Listening

To listen to the words of the mentee. To accurately summarize or paraphrase a mentee's thoughts.

Leaning forward and making eye contact the mentor teacher says, “Lisa, let me see if I understand what you're saying. You’re telling me ..."

Emotional listening

To listen to the underlying feelings of the mentee.

"Lisa, it looks and sounds like you're feeling upset. Is this true?"

Respectful listening

To paraphrase, probe and disagree respectfully.

“Lisa, you're saying ... Can you tell me what you mean by ...? I'd like to respectfully disagree with your point of view ...”

On tomorrow’s blog post we will answer this question: What does it mean to validate a mentee?

Jewish Education News Blog

Richard D. Solomon's Blog on Mentoring Jewish Students and Teachers