SEA 2022 Teacher Mentor Program – Mentoring the Mentors

SEA 2022 Teacher Mentor Program

Mentoring the Mentors

Background 

After a successful 2021 trial program, SEA is excited to announce applications are now open for the 2022 teacher mentoring program, Mentoring the Mentors. A research component was part of the 2021 program, and the findings from the research have helped to inform the 2022 program. The 2021 report will be available in the SEA Members’ area in the next few weeks. 

At the August 2020 Delegates’ meeting, Dr Neil Boland introduced the work of the International Teacher Education Project (a Pedagogical Section initiative). He also gave an update at the August 2021 Delegates’ meeting. Please see the link to Neil’s presentation and the Pedagogical Journal article here for an overview of the work of the ITEP group.

The SEA teacher mentoring program: Mentoring the Mentors is based on this work and its findings on principles of effective teacher education, including school-based teacher mentoring. 

Who the program is for

Steiner teacher mentors in early childhood, primary or high school.

Selection is based on the following participant requirements:

  • Experience in mentoring new and experienced teachers
  • Mentoring is part of position/job expectations in a school (i.e. active position as a mentor)
  • Commitment to take on work associated with the project for the duration of the project. This will largely be practical, but will also involve some reading, writing, and meetings (face to face and online)
  • Willingness to have current practice challenged, and to reflect deeply on own practice and values
  • Flexibility
  • Willingness to take risks, put themselves forward for transformation 

Geographic and sectoral considerations will also be taken into account when selecting participants to support the balance of the program. 

Program delivery model and duration

There will be mixed modalities:

  • March 2022 (date TBC): prior to the program starts, there will be an introductory zoom session to outline the high-level aims of the project. 
  • 21-22 April 2022: a 2-day face-to-face professional learning session in Sydney, establishing the tasks to do back in schools with guidance on effective mentoring practice. There will be a focus on teaching adults as a distinct pedagogy. 
  • Fortnightly Zoom sessions to report back on tasks/goals participants have been working on as well as specific workshopping, facilitated by Neil, on the ITEP guidelines. Journalling and other techniques for reflection will also be workshopped and will help participants document the process.
  • 25 – 26 July 2022: a final face-to-face session (Venue to be advised)

The program will run from April to September, 2022 (end of term 3). 

Content overview

The program directly addresses the key principles distilled from the International Teacher Education Project (IETP). The work of ITEP is based on two sets of guidelines, one for teachers, one for teacher educators (which builds on the work for teachers). These will form the foundation for work over the course of this proposed project. These are included below.

Areas of focus for teachers include knowledge and artistic practices, self-development, inquiry, basic knowledge, teaching and learning, expanded understanding of the human being, education and societal change, legal and financial responsibilities.

Mentoring the Mentors focusses on these areas for teacher educator development:

  1. Teaching adults
  2. Anthroposophy
  3. The contemporary child
  4. Context sensitivity
  5. Research
  6. Collaborative governance

These focus areas concentrate on developing the capacity to strengthen individuals, not the passing on of content/classroom practices, etc. It does not seek to enable teachers to follow in the footsteps of others or perpetuate current traditions. It is about enabling individuals to be able to act out of a deep understanding of what Steiner education is and then use that understanding and the attributes they have worked on to teach in a way that suits them, the place they work, the wider community, the school community and of course the individuals in their classes. This may look quite different from what we have at the moment. This project does not aim to continue the old but to create anew out of the essentials of Steiner education.

The project will involve a significant amount of self-reflection. Assistance will be given regarding suitable reflective structures and models. In this way, reflective practice will gradually be built up and scaffolded.

What participants will get out of this

  • Feedback on their own mentoring practice
  • A greater understanding of their identity and practice as a mentor
  • One-on-one support 
  • Detailed understanding of current and developing thinking in anthroposophical adult education
  • A renewed/deepened understanding of the essentials of Steiner education
  • Knowledge of current thinking in Steiner curriculum design, andragogy, teacher education discourse, etc.
  • Resources to support ongoing development

Hoped for results

  • The mentors will have established a personal habit of self-education based on these guidelines
  • That they will have done the same with the mentees (this is the strongest hope)
  • Schools will reassess mentoring goals and processes and put in place mechanisms that can continue the work 
  • Participants will be equipped to be able to carry on this work independently, mentoring others into the process
  • The project will continue to provide useful data for ITEP and SEA to continue the project in appropriate ways

Project costs

Cost per participant: $1,600 + GST for the six month, robust, evidence-informed program that involves one-to-one support. Payment can occur either this year or in 2022 depending on schools’ budgets. 

SEA may also be able to provide travel assistance for participants under certain circumstances and upon application. 

Next steps

We anticipate high interest, so please register by 20th November 2022 and include a brief statement on why you would like to participate in the course by emailing [email protected].

SEA aims to support a sustainable and sustained mentoring culture in Australian Steiner schools, building on and extending the outcomes of the 2021 program. We are also supporting international work through our own research and practice on teacher mentoring which can be shared.

We would love you to consider participating! Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.  

Warm regards

 Dr Virginia Moller
Chief Executive Officer

DATES:
01 Apr 2022 - 30 Sep 2022
VENUE: Online and face-to-face