Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Mentoring

From: Helena Chester <>
Date: Thu Aug 21 14:10:01 2003

Hi Bruce

Thank you for the welcome and the response to my question on mentoring.

I teach in a state school in Tasmania and we are in the process of
implementing an approach to education that fosters the creativity and
uniqueness of the individual through open ended "projects".

I am also contemplating a Master of Education (Honours) by research focus,
and I want to do it in an area related to democratic classrooms and
mentoring by peers as well as adults. I can relate to what you are saying
about not "assigning" mentors, but I also feel that just as cooperative and
collaborative working skills need to be taught (even to adults), generic
mentoring skills need to be taught to make the best use of everyone's
personal resources. And because I want my students to be part of a
self-managed classroom, I want them to have the opportunity to learn these
skills, just as I value any professional development I am offered.

I look forward to more interaction on this, as well as issues such as
developing and respecting boundaries, and accountability.

I liked your quote from John Shelby Spong. He is one of my favourite


----- Original Message -----
From: "Bruce Smith" <>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, August 22, 2003 2:14 AM
Subject: Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Mentoring

> Hi, Helena. Welcome to the list!
> I wonder whether you have something particular in mind when you say
> "mentoring". As a staff member at a Sudbury school, I honestly don't
> so much about "effective teaching and learning [strategies]." My job is
> more a matter of helping people when asked, building the community,
> respecting individuals' right to do their own thing and expecting them to
> do so responsibly. Does this intersect with your understanding of
> mentoring? I don't know.
> In the absence of a shared understanding of the term, I would think that
> "mentoring" relates reasonably well to what goes on within the Sudbury
> model. Certainly staff are expected to be positive role models, and in the
> absence of contrived barriers between adults and students (and among
> students), there is a great deal of room for everyone to get to know each
> other as people, to build relationships.
> Sure, there is plenty of mentoring going on at Sudbury schools; yet it's
> not a formal strategy or policy. We don't assign people mentors, but
> mentoring does occur spontaneously, indirectly, and/or sporadically.
> Mentoring at Sudbury schools happens when it happens, and students are
> always free to (and often do) pursue their own activities without the
> involvement or even the presence of older/more experienced people.
> I hope this begins to address your question.
> Bruce Smith
> Alpine Valley School
> At 07:57 AM 8/21/2003 +1000, you wrote:
> >Hi, I'm new to this list, and am interested in Mentoring as an effective
> >teaching and learning strategy. I'm wondering how mentoring fits into the
> >Sudbury philosophy and practice.
> >
> >Helena
> ------------------------------------------
> "Religion is, therefore, not what we have always thought it to be.
> is not a system of belief. It is not a catalogue of revealed truth. It is
> not an activity designed to control behavior, to reward virtue, and to
> punish vice. Religion is, rather, a human attempt to process the God
> experience, which breaks forth from our own depths and wells up constantly
> within us."
> -- John Shelby Spong, _Why Christianity Must Change or Die_
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss-sudbury-model mailing list
Received on Thu Aug 21 2003 - 14:09:14 EDT

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