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Mentors and Mentees: Continuous Improvement as a Collaborative Process Ron Nash Welcome to.

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1 Mentors and Mentees: Continuous Improvement as a Collaborative Process Ron Nash Welcome to

2 Administrators, teachers, & teacher mentors – participation on multiple levels… Pick up some suggestions on how to make your working relationships powerful and efficient. Identify some active-classroom “look-fors” for pre- observation discussions and classroom observations. Find process-related applications in your content area or grade level. Take away something you can use for your own speaking & listening skills as teachers and administrators. Give in to the temptation to groove and tap your feet.

3 “Learning should be an active process. Too often, students come to school to watch their teachers work.” - International Center for Leadership in Education

4 Attendees go to a better place in their minds. Participants participate. Participants experience. Participants learn.

5 “Students spend 85 percent of their time listening (or pretending to listen) to a teacher talking…. - Yair (2000), in Hattie (2012)

6 “Many teachers like explaining and think they are good at it. And they may, in fact, be good at it. But this method is no longer relevant, because students are no longer listening. I often liken this to Federal Express: you can have the best delivery system in the world, but if no one is home to receive the package, it doesn’t much matter.” - Marc Prensky, Teaching Digital Natives (2010)


8 “When one says that learning needs to be ‘active’, it implies that the learner is at least as important as the teacher in determining the success of lessons.” - Douglas Barnes, in Mercer & Hodgkinson (2008)

9 “Too many students are ‘physically present but psychologically absent.’” - Steinberg, Brown, & Dornbusch (1997) in Hattie (2009)

10 Businesses want employees “who are literate, numerate, who can analyze information and ideas; who can generate new ideas of their own and help to implement them; who can communicate clearly and work well with other people.” - Ken Robinson (2011)

11 Survey of executives of 200 U.S. companies: “…74% said writing skills, oral communication skills, and people skills were the hardest to find in job candidates.” - Heyman (1994)

12 Developing and maintaining a purposeful and learning- focused dialogue between mentors and mentees requires face-to-face meetings free of distractions. Mentors and mentees should commit to the employment of excellent communication skills. Each ought to demonstrate an understanding of the importance of body language, paraphrasing, encouraging each other in conversation through the use of nodding and smiling, and constantly seeking clarification during dialogue. Frequent learning- centered conversations provide opportunities for the kind of interdependent reflection that accelerates the continuous-improvement process for both mentors and mentees. Teaching is learning. This is why teachers will often admit they learned more about their subject matter during the first year of teaching than in several years of college.

13 “Ten minutes of our complete and focused attention is worth much more, in terms of maintaining a relationship and supporting learning, than thirty minutes with distractions.” - Lipton & Wellman (2003)

14 As you shared during this CLOZE activity, did you “negotiate” meaning to arrive at one or two possible choices? Do I really care about getting the “right” answers here? I want students to think out loud and share their thinking with a partner.

15 Building working mentor/mentee relationships Mentees’ willingness to seek feedback in the interest of continuous improvement Plenty of formative feedback from mentors and administrators Active collaboration that results in mentors and mentees learning something new Constant search for strategies that engage students in ways that accelerate academic growth Thirst for knowledge in the areas of content and process Seeking out other teachers for planning purposes and gobs of reflective dialogue in the name of continuous improvement

16 Learning begins when students ask questions. Some questions are spontaneous. Some are invited in a structured setting.

17 The simple, direct answers “Yes” or “No” provide feedback to the group. What makes you say that? What do you see that makes you say that? What did you hear that made you say that?

18 “Curiosity is the engine of achievement.” - Ken Robinson (TED Conference)

19 “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original. Students are frightened of being wrong.” - Ken Robinson (TED Conference)

20 Thinking in search of understanding… 1.Observing closely and describing what’s there 2.Building explanations and interpretations 3.Reasoning with evidence 4.Making connections 5.Considering different viewpoints and perspectives 6.Capturing the heart and forming conclusions 7.Wondering and asking questions - Ritchart, Church & Morrison (2011). Making thinking visible. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

21 What does engagement look like? I see no outward signs of fatigue or distraction from external stimuli (the task or activity overrides the RAS). Students appear to know what they are supposed to do. Student-to-student reflection (pairs, trios, quartets) seems to be the norm (not forced). Students help each other, providing feedback as a matter of course, checking with peers first (unlike Eddie) for help. Body language says they enjoy being in that room. Students use checklists and rubrics for self-feedback while writing or working on some task. They transition and then engage quickly with peers. Students appear to accept the environment as ‘safe’ in every way. The restroom pass is not used like a relay baton.

22 A few attributes of engaging work…motivators: Emotional safety Clear models (for example, an anchor essay and/or rubric) Teacher clarity (verbal and written directions) Learn with others (start with pairs) Feedback (task-oriented, timely, and clear) Choice (topics for papers, online learning platforms) Variety (frequent state changes and delivery methods) Sense of competency & mastery (the ch-ching factor) - Glick, M. (2011)

23 “Telling isn’t teaching, and students must be actively engaged in the academic discourse of the classroom if they are to understand the content. Because learning isn’t a passive experience but one that is innately social, effective classrooms require that a ‘sea’ of conversation occur throughout the day.” - Fisher, Frey, & Rothenberg (2008)

24 Teamwork checklist for self evaluation (with accompanying journal entries) in a Texas secondary school: 1.Did we each participate today? 2.Did we ask questions in search of clarity? 3.Did we use helpful body language and facial expressions? 4.Did we allow teammates to finish speaking? 5.Did we cooperate consistently? 6.What do we need to do in the interest of process improvement next time we meet?

25 Lack of social capital… At dinner, we received practice at 1.Pausing (taking turns) 2.Paraphrasing (seek to understand) 3.Probing and clarifying 4.Paying attention to self and others

26 Positive impact of student-to-student conversations: confidence builder connect with the content build on what they already know develop relationships improve oral language skills learn to negotiate meaning increase empathy

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