'An invitation to connect with students and inspire transformation'
Based on TEACHING TOUGH KIDS, winner of the UK's international NASEN awards in the category - 'Best Book to Promote Professional Development' (2011). It was judged as humane, innovative, practical and inspiring.
A half-day presentation - can be adapted
To have Mark present to your school or organisation email or phone
A download link to a PowerPoint file is coming.
The purpose of this workshop is to train interested staff how to mentor students, and set up a vibrant mentoring programme in your school or organisation.
Just as we are learning to value and conserve the air we breathe, the water we drink, the energy we
use, we must learn to value and conserve our capacity for nurture. Otherwise, we will slowly but surely
erode the source of our humanity
Elaine Heffner, 1996
The Catholic Education Office in South Australia asked if I would design and present workshops to train staff in South Australian schools to become mentors to students identified as 'vulnerable' or 'at risk'. That was 7 years ago! Little did we know that it would become a quiet achiever in both primary and secondary schools to companion students in need of that little extra care and encouragement.
The program provides for on-going 'friendship', support and encouragement from a caring, stable adult working within the school system. It is very much a personal, one to one, individualised encouragement program and has flourished due to the goodwill of staff and their humane attitudes. To date this ground-breaking - 'relationally based protective programme' - has trained hundreds of staff in the Catholic and public systems.
Designs of mentoring programs in schools are remarkably diverse - we have taken the initiative to draw on staff to mentor students, using a very simple approach.
A way is found to release a mentor each week so they can meet with their mentee for 20 to 40 minutes. Younger students meet with their mentor to create gardens, cook, sew, learn to dance, develop sporting skills and produce wonderful art and craftwork while they talk, listen and exchange thoughts. Our older secondary students often sit and enjoy talking and debriefing with their mentors. Certainly, each of our mentors work in diverse ways and have the scope to stamp their own uniqueness and experience on the process.
The program continues in Australian schools because the data collected tells us it making a difference for students. We are sure that their steadier approach reflects a stronger sense of connection, and a better grasp on their place in the complex school world. This special relationship is recognised as a steadying, revitalising treatment for students dealing with learning problems, anxiety, social issues, behavioural difficulties, disadvantage, disability and immaturities. A raft of reliable studies gauges the value of mentorship as one of the most developmentally important relationships a child or adolescent might engage in.
Beyond the support, encouragement and motivation staff have provided to students - has been the chance for staff to grow and develop as they take on a far more personal dimension in education. For many staff, the programme has marked the beginning of a wonderfully inspiring journey!
"Mentorship is not a one way process. I have received as well as given. It has helped me to become more sensitive to the hidden obstacles students in my class face. It's reminded me of why I chose to be a teacher."
Joe, secondary teacher, chapter 8 TEACHING TOUGH KIDS
How did the experience affect me? It was utterly refreshing and the unexpected ingredient was the pleasure I received from working far more personally with a student. By taking the time to understand his world I have become far more sensitive to the hidden obstacles children in my class likely face.
Chris, primary teacher, chapter 8 TEACHING TOUGH KIDS