Learning-Focused Mentoring: Fostering Success in the First Years of Teaching

Based on our best selling book, Mentoring Matters: A Practical Guide to Learning-Focused Relationships, this seminar explores the important relationship between mentor teachers and the novices they support. The sessions move mentors from simply handholding and advice dispensing to becoming skillful growth agents. The materials and learning experiences offer practical tools, specific templates, and technical tips for educators who help beginning teachers to increase the effectiveness of their practice.

Topics Include:

Establishing learning-focused relationships

Examine three critical functions of learning-focused relationships: offering support, creating challenge, and facilitating professional vision. Learn how to balance the three functions by addressing novices’ immediate needs with a longer-term view of growth.

Navigating a continuum of interaction

Explore four stances of learning-focused interaction: calibrating to frame expectations, clarify standards, and articulate success criteria; consulting to offer expertise and provide technical resources; collaborating for shared planning and problem-solving; and coaching, a nonjudgmental interaction that develops decision-making skills and supports reflection. Learn specific strategies related to each stance and skills for flexibly moving between stances.

Inviting Thinking

Refine a toolkit for increasing willingness, confidence, and skill in the thinking that drives instructional decision-making and reflection on practice. Learn to apply verbal and nonverbal skills to learning-focused conversations with novice teachers.

Applying templates for learning-focused conversations

Employ templates to guide mentor/novice conversations about instructional planning, reflecting, and problem solving. Learn to use time-effective structures in one-to-one and small group interactions that focus conversations, maintain momentum, and develop targeted thinking skills.

Providing feedback

Develop methods for standards-driven conversations that provide feedback to improve instructional decision-making. Learn how to foster novice teachers’ capacities for analyzing gaps between learning standards and present levels of performance by using data to focus the conversation.