A Mentor Training Idea

by Ami Hicks

Mentoring programs are being initiated in many schools across the country. While some of these mentoring programs are for at-risk or gifted students, and others are for new administrators, my interest is primarily in new teacher induction. As a person who does mentor trainings in my own school district as well as for other districts, I am often asked questions by those who are planning a mentor program for their school. One of the questions that is continuously asked is, "What should be included in an effective mentor training program?"

The answer to that question has been dealt with through a large number of articles, data collected from needs of new teachers, surveys of what mentors say they need, and mentoring experts. There are many mentor training models. Several of these models are presented in other articles on this web site. Many of these have a number of common elements.

What I want to share here is a more unique element of my own mentor training.

I am the Mentor Program Coordinator at Naperville Central High School in Naperville, Illinois, USA. I lead an "initial" mentor training at the start of the school year which is to "kick off" the mentoring year so to speak. However, as a staff developer, I know the best adult learning also requires follow up activities and on-going support, so these are integrated in my mentor training approach, as described below. As an added incentive to mentors who participate, the mentors are able to receive either graduate credit from Aurora University or district professional development credit.

The mentor training is offered after school hours and continues throughout the year, so that it provides on-going professional growth for the mentor as well as the protege. Among other activities, "mentors-in-training" are asked to read a professional journal article which provides the results of some current research on mentoring. After reading the article and reflecting on it's content and ideas, the mentors are then asked to:

1. Write a summary of the mentoring study that was done and describe what the study found.

2. Write their reaction to the research findings.

3. State how this article might apply to their mentoring situation in an educational setting.

Some of the papers these mentors have written are provided on this web site. if you review these papers, you will see how the "assignment" really helps mentors to not just be a mentor, but to really think about what quality mentoring is like and how their work as a mentor could become even more effective. I urge you to incorporate this strategy into your mentor training.

If you are currently involved in exciting activities with your mentors, share what you are doing and what you are learning with others across the country and around the world. You can do so by sending a brief description to us. We will ask the MLRN Executive Board to review the article, and if accepted, it will be published on this web site.

Please send your ideas to:

Ami Hicks
1186 Redfield Road
Naperville, IL 60563

Questions? (630) 961-1996