Objective of the Planning or Pre-Observation Conference: To determine the professional development needs of the mentee while addressing the learning needs of the mentee's students and the learning outcomes of the school.
Assumption: The mentor and the mentee have concluded their preliminary introductory remarks.
The Collaborative Approach to Mentoring (*Glickman, 2002)
The collaborative approach invites mentees to jointly design their professional development program with the mentor. The approach is ideal for advanced beginning and some experienced teachers who possess (a) a sophisticated knowledge of Judaics, and (b) an abundant knowledge and varied repertoire in teaching and learning. These highly self- motivated mentees are eager to co-design with the mentor staff development initiatives that meet the needs of the mentee, and their students, and also the learning outcomes of the school.
Sample Dialogue Between the Mentor Teacher (MT) and the Mentee (M)
MT: “Mrs. Keller, let's talk a little bit about your goal or goals for this year. Is there something specific that you would like to do with your students?”
M: “Yes, there is, Dr. Solomon. I'd really like to get my students more actively engaged in the lessons I teach. When I talk to them too much I see boredom in their body language, and I want to change that. I know other teachers are more successful at getting their students energized about Judaics, but I don't know how to change my style of teaching.”
MT: “Okay, I have a thought; let's brainstorm a list of things that you can easily do to get your students to become more actively engaged in learning in your classroom. Name one simple change you can make that might energize your students, and I'll record it on this paper. Then, I'll offer a suggestion.”
M: “How about asking my students what they want to learn in this class?”
MT: “Okay, I'll write that down. Let me offer another idea. How about using, Turn to Your Neighbor”.
M: “Oh, I know that one; that's easy. I just never tried it. That reminds me, I could try Think-Pair-Share with my students. That also seems simple to do.”
MT: “You could also do a Two-Step or Paired Interview.”
M: “What's that?”
MT: “That's where you pose a question to your students; they form pairs, and interview each other.”
M: “That doesn't sound complicated, but I don't want to give myself too many things to introduce to my class right now.”
MT: “Fair enough, which one or two would you like to try to implement?”
M: “I definitely want to try Turn to Your Neighbor and Think-Pair-Share.”
MT: “Great. Would you like me to do a demonstration lesson on how to implement these activities with your students?”
M: “Not really, but I'd like to observe how Ms. Sherling uses these cooperative procedures in her classroom. Can you make that happen, Dr. Solomon?”
MT: “Let me talk to Ms. Sherling about that, and I'll get back to you. But in the meantime, perhaps you can practice Turn to Your Neighbor and Think-Pair-Share with your family at home. That's how I started. I told my wife and children that I needed to practice some teaching methods at home before I brought them into my classroom. I'm so thankful they agreed to give it a try.”
M: “That's not a bad idea. I'll try these on my two kids and husband tonight at dinner.”
MT: “Sounds like a plan. In three weeks, we'll set up a time to observe you using these active learning instructional strategies in your classroom. We'll also discuss and perhaps co-create an observation instrument that would best work for you. How does that sound, Mrs. Keller?”
* Glickman, C. D. (2002). Leadership for Learning: How to Help Teachers Succeed.Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
On the next post we will describe the Nondirective Approach to Mentoring (Glickman, 2002).