In a modern learning environment, change and professional learning are synonymous with teaching and foundational for school improvement. In 2007, Fullan claimed that “Professional development as a term is a major obstacle to progress in teacher learning.” (Change the Terms for Teacher Learning) Additionally in 2013, Steven Katz and Lisa Ain Dack in their book, Intentional Interruption, painted a well-researched picture of teacher learning proving that teachers rarely learn through professional development opportunities. So how can we rethink professional development as an opportunity to engage teachers as better learners?
As we move forward with Katz and Ain Dack’s definition of learning as “enacting permanent changes in thinking and behaviour” (2013), we need to rethink traditional activity-based professional learning and move towards self-directed and collaborative focused learning conversations. We need to be self-reflective and vulnerable in order to be learners. We need to explore how relationships can build capacity in education leading to improved student achievement.
OnEdMentors Connect ~ a Collaborative Inquiry Project
OnEdMentors Connect is a collaborative inquiry into the impact of a 1:1 self-directed mentorship experience on professional development and improved student achievement. Beginning with new teachers in Phase 1, and extending the experience to include any teacher interested in a mentorship in Phase 3, we are creating opportunities for educators to reach out to others they feel comfortable approaching who can help them develop their skills and improve their practice.
Mentors can play an active role in professional learning by collaborating with teachers on just about anything that leads to improved pedagogy, student engagement, well-being, and achievement. The goal of OnEdMentors Connect is to support and empower teachers to find mentors in personalized and self-directed ways. 1:1 mentorships can help teachers move forward in their learning continuum in order to reach and teach their learners. OnEdMentors is self-directed personalized professional learning.
On August 30th, a select group of Mentees and Mentors joined the OnEdMentors show to share the process and results of signing up for Digital Human Library, what they hoped to gain from the experience and why they think that a mentorship can impact professional learning and overall teacher and student success. Phase 1 -the Pilot- will culminate on the November 15th show in a reflective conversation about the learning and the Mentor-Mentee experience.
Phase 2 begins in January 2019. Our goal is to expand the sample size of Mentees by opening up OnEdMentors Connect to the first 25 Mentees who register. In order to meet the needs of our new Mentees, the OnEdMentor Catalogue will be open to educators interested in participating as Mentors within Digital Human Library. Phase 2 closes in April. By May, everyone involved with OnEdMentors Connect will have the opportunity to share what they have learned throughout this inquiry and impact the evolution of the program.
Launching fully in September 2019, OnEdMentors Connect will begin accepting registrations from any teacher interested in joining the community as a Mentor and/or Mentee. Our goal by Phase 3 is to ensure that Mentors and Mentees alike understand that these roles are directly correlated and reciprocal, and that the success of the Mentor/ Mentee relationships is mutually dependent upon each member’s ability to recognize and balance their needs as a Mentor and Mentee.
Throughout the process, the OnEdMentors Connect team will continue to document the learning journey by gathering conversations, observations, products of learning and reflections. We are committed to creating an OnEdMentors Connect experience that is positive, accessible, responsive, and flexible, meeting the varied needs of all #OEMConnect Mentors and Mentees.
We are gathering questions from anyone curious about ONedMentors Connect. Questions submitted here will help us improve the ONedMentors Connect experience for Mentees and Mentors, and help us build our FAQs page.
The History of ONedMentors
ONedMentors is the longest running weekly podcast on voicEd Radio. ONedMentors brings together preservice, new and seasoned educators to engage in rich conversations about various aspects of education. Teaching is about relationships, and connecting with an ONedMentor supports educators who want to reach out beyond the walls of their classrooms and build relationships with others who share their curiosity and can challenge them in positive, responsive and transparent ways.
In January of 2018, the ONedMentors team of Stephen Hurley, Derek Rhodenizer and Noa Daniel began to explore how OnEdMentors could become more than just a weekly show. Noa wanted to extend the mentorship experience in a way that would positively impact even more educators and she was encouraged to pursue her vision. Noa reached out to Leigh Cassell at Digital Human Library and they began collaborating. After many meetings, Stephen, Derek, Noa and Leigh established a shared vision of the collaborative inquiry that Noa and Leigh were going to lead. The plan was in place to use voicEd Radio as a platform and tool to support the new dHL community. Welcome to the beginning of OnEdMentors Connect!