Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Online Mentor Training Update

For its 2012-2013 online mentor training, the Boren Mentoring Initiative will be using Mentoring Central, developed by iRT.  Today I visited by phone with iRT's Dr. Rebecca Stelter to learn progress.

Five new lessons are in the process of being developed.  These include 1) initiation of the relationship (about meeting the first time with your mentee), 2) ethics and safety (in day-to-day encounters), 3) building relationships with your mentee (how to set goals and strengthen the relationship), 4) closure (how to close the relationship appropriately, not just leaving), and 5) boundaries (roles the mentor should not establish with the mentee and the mentee's family).  The ethics lesson, based upon research by Dr. Jean Rhodes, is creatively taught by the scenario of a day at a fair, a venue in which many situations for ethical choices arise. 

The in-person training component, being perfected, is based upon what's on the web, i.e., the first five lessons [See below.], with role-playing and discussion. This should take about 1 1/2- 2 hours in-person.  Policies and procedures of individual mentoring organizations can be inserted in the general presentation.

The first five lessons, aligning with the Training Benchmarks in the Third Edition of MENTOR's Effective Practice for Mentoring, provide the foundation for beginning a mentoring relationship. These include 1) Introduction to Mentoring Central, 2) Motivation and Expectations, 3) Roles Mentors Should and Should Not Play, 4) Behavioral Characteristics of Effective Mentors, and 5) The Importance of Having Fun in a Mentoring Relationship.

Mentoring Central is/will be online, on-demand, and 24-7 with multimedia delivery, pre- and post- surveys, news briefs, downloadable key-point flyers, Mentor Wiki, and interactivity such as journals, scenario-based learning, and quizzes.  Mentors can return to a lesson as needed.  A Mentor Forum is also available for mentors' discussions.

This program is researched-based mentoring.  Dr. Jean Rhodes and Dr. Janis Kupersmidt provide commentary and instruct the course, although videotaped segments feature actual mentors, mentees, parents of mentees, mentoring program staff, and research experts.  [This and the previous two paragraphs are close paraphrases from the website.]

Note to All:  Big Brothers Big Sisters has its own customized Mentoring Central program, which requires a separate passcode for BBBS.  At the National Mentoring Summit in January 2012, I met the researchers and developers and viewed lessons, and in February I purchased my individual license to use the site.

To OFE's Academic All-State Scholar Mentors:
I will call again in early August to learn to purchase for the Boren Mentoring Initiative the entire ten-lesson package and group administrator portion; then I will invite you to enroll via email.  As a group, you may be asked to participate in a survey of efficacy for the new ten-lesson package!


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