ERIC Number: EJ867319
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Reference Count: 7
Shifting Gears: The Mentee in the Driver's Seat
Fischler, Lory A.; Zachary, Lois J.
Adult Learning, v20 n1-2 p5-9 Win-Spr 2009
Good mentoring depends on effective learning. Effective learning depends on the readiness, willingness, and openness of mentoring partners. The concept of mentoring as a partnership does not come easy to many who experience mentoring through the lens of the traditional paradigm that focused on an older, more experienced person passing on knowledge and information to a younger, less experienced one. That model is being replaced by a more learner-centered approach, one that requires a conscious shift in roles for both mentor and mentee and a re-orienting of the learning process. These shifts require a different mindset. A parallel can be drawn to the process of learning to drive a manual transmission automobile. Shifting gears requires attention and practice to become attuned to the engine and respond appropriately. Having someone sitting next to a person while he or she is learning to shift gears is helpful. Having a backseat driver tell a person what to do and when to do it is not. Mentoring using a learner-centered approach may be challenging for individuals who have been mentored or who mentored others in the more traditional model. It will require a shift in roles, but the authors believe that it is necessary in order to be able to make the most of a mentoring experience. This article takes a look at a mentoring relationship that was a wake up call for two mentoring partners, Tina and Chris, who needed to reexamine their respective roles. Mentoring is a reciprocal learning relationship in which mentor and mentee agree to a partnership, where they work collaboratively toward achievement of mutually defined goals that develop a mentee's skills, abilities, knowledge and/or thinking. This definition is based on sound adult learning principles and practices. It implies that for mentoring to be truly successful, it should include the following elements: (1) reciprocity; (2) learning; (3) relationship; (4) partnership; (5) collaboration; (6) mutually-defined goals; and (7) development. Using Tina and Chris' mentoring relationship, the authors explore the dynamics of each of these elements.
Descriptors: Mentors, Adult Learning, Learning Processes, Partnerships in Education, Models, Cooperation, Reflection
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education
Authoring Institution: N/A