Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Mentoring

From: Helena Chester <hchester_at_winnet.com.au>
Date: Thu Aug 21 15:56:00 2003

Hi Joe

I'm a great believer in the concept that we should be preparing our students
to "make jobs" rather than "take jobs", and many of the foundational skills
required are fostered better by a Sudbury model of education. However, there
will always be a substantial proportion of people in the future who will
need to "take" jobs, and working for others is usually constrained by
clearly defined boundaries. I have a lot of professional freedom in my
work, but I accept that I can't always do things the way I think are best,
or that even work best for me. How does the Sudbury model prepare students
for a world where their idealism and creativity might be appreciated, but
may not be practical to implement, and they have to basically "do as they
are told".

Helena

----- Original Message -----
From: "Joe Jackson" <shoeless_at_jazztbone.com>
To: <discuss-sudbury-model_at_sudval.org>
Sent: Friday, August 22, 2003 5:22 AM
Subject: RE: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Mentoring

> Helena,
>
> Cooperative and collaborative skills only need to be taught to people
> who have only had access to a learning environment wherein people
> external to them were in charge of guiding them. I think that you would
> find that guiding students only robs them of the opportunity to develop
> such skills on their own, if only you would give them the chance to
> fully take charge of their learning experiences.
>
> But our experience is that you cannot replicate this phenominon in a
> learning environment unless the students are truly given charge over a
> period of years.
>
> In any case, we see these skills (cooperative, collaborative) and
> relationships (mentoring) develop & form naturally and organically every
> single day in our schools without an ounce of pressure from staff.
>
> But it can only take place if you trust that the students will
> inevitably get there, if they are allowed to have responsibility for
> choosing how.
>
> Good luck,
>
> Joe Jackson
> Fairhaven School
> Upper Marlboro, Maryland
>
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: discuss-sudbury-model-admin_at_sudval.org
> > [mailto:discuss-sudbury-model-admin_at_sudval.org] On Behalf Of
> > Helena Chester
> > Sent: Thursday, August 21, 2003 2:07 PM
> > To: discuss-sudbury-model_at_sudval.org
> > Subject: Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Mentoring
> >
> >
> > 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 authors.
> >
> > Sincerely
> > Helena
> >
> >
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Bruce Smith" <bsmith_at_coin.org>
> > To: <discuss-sudbury-model_at_sudval.org>
> > 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
> > think
> > > 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.
> > Religion
> > > 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_
> > >
> > >
> > > _______________________________________________
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> >
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>
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Received on Thu Aug 21 2003 - 15:55:09 EDT

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