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ICT in Education: Mentorship at a Glance

The business of teaching and learning is so complex that there is no way it can be done alone. It
cant be done online, either. Itswellyouve heard this beforehigh-tech, high-touch, highteach.
Lets talk about the high-touch and high-teach part by focusing on mentors. So lets define and
redefine who and mentor is, what s/he does, and why, because only a mentor can help you soar
as a teacher. Ill approach this as FAQs:
Question: When do I have to get a mentor? Whats the process of finding a mentor. How do I
do this?
Answer: Sometime within the next 6 weeks, or by the end of Module 8. You can choose your
own mentor and that may change over time. If you have a problem, your professors and IOL
can help, but you will not have a mentor forced upon you. Its too important and delicate an
issue.
---Question: What role does a mentor play in my professional life as a teacher?
Answer: Students need teachers. So do teachers. Your mentor is someone who tells you the
truth and is able to keep a secret. If you are a new teacher, you should be looking for someone
you can trust and admit mistakes to, but who can also be very candid with you and tell you the
hard truths (or guide you to seeing the truth) when you make mistakes.
In his book, Mentoring New Teachers (Links to an external site.), Hal Portner argues that trust is
crucial to the mentor-mentee relationship. New teachers must feel confident in expressing doubt
or admitting mistakes to experienced teachers, without fearing embarrassment or repercussions.
In this respect, mentors serve as confidants, not evaluators, concerned only with helping
mentees -- and, in turn, students -- succeed in the classroom.
Its delicate. Good mentors have to know the right time and place for making a comment.
Mentors are not just cheerleaders. They know how to make you better at what you do. Thats a
place where peers cant reach. Portner writes: "Having a peer evaluate you does have a lot of
positives, and does work, but I really don't want to call it mentoring."
Take a look at the page: Roles & Responsibilities: Teachers and Mentors
---Question: What will they be looking for?

Answer: Fair question. I am working with IOL to find out what inspectors and evaluators do,
how school directors are trained, and am writing a job description.
But lets also talk about the end product (your qualification to be a great teacher) and work
backwards from there. In that way, we can find the best role for the mentor in other words, the
right tool for the job.
Lets take a look at THREE important components of what newly qualified teachers should be
able to demonstrate:
Subject Knowledge and Pedagogy

An understanding of the knowledge, concepts, and skills of specialist subjects


and where they fit in the school curriculum;
An ability to plan and teach so that students reach regional and national targets;

o
o

The ability to produce coherent lesson plans which take into consideration the
goals and that meet the age-level and stage of development of ones students

The knowledge of when to use and leave behind the textbook in order to
ensure that learning fits with the skills and next years expectations (scaffolding)

The presentation of subject content using appropriate, effective, and efficient


pedagogies (ICTs or not)
Class Management

Always a major concern of new teachers, along with the question: Will I have a

o
life?

The use of classroom climate, rules, whole-class instruction, groups, pairs that
meet learning needs

Personalizing instruction so that it does not alienate children, but challenges


them to do more, participate, enjoy their studies, and stick with it.

The appropriate and judicious (wise) use of rewards and sanctions in order to
ensure safety, good will, and democracy in the classroom
Assessment

Identify where students are. and where they need to go, in the learning process

Judge how students can demonstrate that they understand the material

Understand how to maximize effectiveness and efficiency in student assessment

---Question: Could you be more specific?

Its still a little vague to me.

Answer: : Fair enough. Heres a partial list: The Mentor should:

Have access to the courses on Canvas and see your assignments

Review your e-Portfolio and ask you questions about what you have put there

Evaluate your e-Portfolio for evidence (see e-Portfolio pages)

Allow you to observe him/her (if possible) to understand why s/he made teaching
choices
Help you define your career focus (primary, secondarywhich subject, grade-level)

---Question: But I am an experienced teacher already. Why do I need a mentor?


Answer: : Everybody needs mentors, critical friends, or coaches because its mostly about
feedback. If you are experienced in the field, then it is entirely reasonable for you to work with
a colleague as a coach. When I was teaching with Wim, we debriefed the lessons every day and
gave each other honest feedback because it was done in a spirit of affection and collaboration.
---Question: What role will IOL play?
Answer: Also a good question. Fred is working with IOL to determine how they are going
about mentoring new teachers now. Hell also explore a more specific job description. Since
so much is changing, updates will come quickly. Thats why a student group that not only deals
with problems, but also has a voice in our planning process is very, very important.