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Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Role of a Mentee’s Ability to Think Abstractly as a Variable in Mentoring Teachers

In this section of the blog we are focusing on a body of knowledge about learning to teach that a mentor needs to understand in order to provide constructive assistance to their mentees.

In this post we will discuss the work of *Carl Glickman (2002), a noted authority on supervision, who suggests that the mentor should take into account a mentee’s ability to think abstractly as an important variable when assisting a mentee.

According to Glickman's analysis, the mentee's level of abstract thinking is reflected by these indicators: The mentee's:

· ability to define and see problems from multiple perspectives

· ability to generate alternative ways to solve a problem

· ability to formulate a comprehensive plan for problem solving

A summary of Glickman's thinking on the levels of a mentee's ability to comprehend abstract ideas is reflected in the chart below.

Carl Glickman on the Levels of Mentee's Abstract Thinking

Low Level of Abstract Thinking

Moderate Level of Abstract Thinking

High Level of Abstract Thinking

Mentee is confused about the problem.

Mentee can define the problem.

Mentee is able to think of the problem from multiple perspectives.

Mentee does not understand what can be done to solve the problem.

Mentee can think of one or two possible solutions to the problem.

Mentee can generate many alternate ways to solve the problem.

Mentee wants to be told how to solve the problem.

Mentee has difficulty thinking through a comprehensive plan for solving the problem.

Mentee is able to choose a comprehensive plan, and can carefully think through each step of the problem.

* 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 discuss the role of adult learning principles as a variable in mentoring teachers.

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