Steiner Education Australia 2024 Mentoring the Mentors Program

Steiner Education Australia 2024 Mentoring the Mentors Program

“The program offered a wonderful opportunity to learn about and reflect on the mentor/mentee relationship as a mutual, reciprocal, collaborative learning opportunity for both mentors and mentees alike.

2023 program participant

Background 

Following the successful 2023 program, SEA is excited to announce that applications are now open for the 2024 teacher mentoring program, Mentoring the Mentors. The 2024 program will be informed by research from the previous three years’ work. The 2023 research report will be available in the SEA Members’ area by year’s end (joining reports from 2021 and 2022). It will be an accumulation of three years’ data from the program.

SEA’s mentoring program is based on the work of the International Teacher Education Project (ITEP), based in Dornach, Switzerland. The aim of the project is to support the initial education and further development of teachers in Steiner schools and centres worldwide. Many schools struggle to find sufficient Steiner-trained teachers and support new teachers by in-house mentoring programs. It is to encourage and support this that the SEA program has been developed. The SEA program focuses on the mentor themselves in this process to develop mentors’ understanding of and approach to the task of mentoring in a Steiner context. You can find a synopsis of the work of ITEP here and the booklet Towards Pedagogical Creativity.

Who the program is for

  • Anyone mentoring teachers in a Steiner early childhood, primary or high school setting.
  • School leaders looking to establish a sustainable mentoring culture in their school.

Selection is based on the following participant requirements:

  • Experience in mentoring new and/or experienced teachers
  • Mentoring is part of position/job expectations (i.e. hold an active position as a mentor)
  • Commitment to take on work associated with the project for its duration. This will largely be practical, but will involve some reading and regular journalling
  • Attend meetings online during the year as well as the face-to-face intensives which bookend the program
  • 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 may also be taken into account when selecting participants to support the balance of the program.

This program is based in Australia but welcomes participants from other countries and regions.

Program delivery model and duration

There will be mixed modalities:

  • 15–16 February 2024: two-day intensive face-to-face in Sydney.

In this interactive, workshop-style intensive, Dr Neil Boland and Dr Virginia Moller will introduce core concepts of mentoring and effective mentoring practices, centred around the document Towards Pedagogical Creativity. There will also be a focus on teaching adults as a distinct pedagogy. This two-day workshop forms the foundation for the rest of the coursework and ongoing practical application in school and centres.

  • 10 mentoring community sessions (online via Zoom) with Dr Neil Boland and Dr Virginia Moller. Starting on Wednesday, 28 February, 2024, these sessions seek to foster a supportive mentoring community of participants, review tasks and goals, as well as engage with contemporary ideas and literature on mentoring. The ITEP guidelines form a lasting theme. Journalling and other reflective techniques will be workshopped to help participants document their learning process. Sessions are held on Wednesday from 4 – 5.30pm (NSW time) – see below for dates.
  • During the year, Neil will visit some participating schools/centres to support course participants on site.
  • Mentoring communities of practice (Optional): a two-day intensive in Sept or Oct 2024. Location and date to be advised.

The program will run from February to October 2024.

Content overview

The program directly addresses the key principles distilled from the International Teacher Education Project. The ITEP project has developed two sets of recommendations, one for teachers, one for teacher educators (which builds on the work for teachers). These recommendations form the foundation for work over the course of SEA’s program.

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.

SEA’s Mentoring the Mentors program focuses on the areas for teacher educator development:

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

These concentrate on developing the capacities within individuals, not the passing on of content/classroom practices, etc. The program does not seek to enable teachers to follow in the footsteps of others or perpetuate current traditions, but instead 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

  • Increased confidence as a mentor
  • A greater understanding of their identity and practice as a mentor
  • One-on-one support and experience of being part of a supportive and experienced group of peers
  • 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 adult education, teacher education discourse, etc.
  • Deep understanding of different perspectives and range of approaches to mentoring
  • Resources to support ongoing development.

Hoped-for results

  • That mentors established a personal habit of self-education based on the ITEP recommendations
  • That they will have done the same with their mentees (this is the strongest hope)
  • That schools/centres reassess mentoring goals and processes and put in place mechanisms that can continue the work of developing a mentoring culture
  • That participants are equipped to be able to carry on this work independently, mentoring others into the process
  • That information from the project continues to inform the development of ITEP and SEA initiatives.

Benefits for schools and centres

  • Establishment of a robust mentoring culture
  • Development (or further strengthening) of Steiner teachers in-house
  • Strengthening of the grow-your-own model for Steiner teachers
  • Forming of links between the school/centre and the Steiner Education Mentoring Network

Project costs

Option 1: 2 X Face to Face Intensives (February in Sydney and September/October – venue to be confirmed) and 10 online Sessions: $2,800 + GST.
or
Option 2: 1 Face to Face Intensive (February in Sydney) and 10 online sessions: $2,300 + GST (doesn’t include the 2nd intensive at the conclusion of the program).

NZ participants:  Option 3: 1 day face to face intensive in New Zealand & 10 online sessions: $1,900 AUD (a minimum number of 8 participants is required for this option to go ahead).

Payment can occur either this year or in 2024 depending on schools’ budgets. Travel and accommodation costs for the February intensive and the Sept/October Community of Practice session are not included in the program costs.

SEA may be able to provide travel assistance for participants from SEA Member Schools to attend the intensives under certain circumstances and upon application.

Next steps

We anticipate high interest, so please register by 1 December 2023 and include a brief statement on why you would like to participate in the course by emailing Nicki Radford at [email protected].

Key areas of focus of the Steiner Education Australia 2023–2026 Strategic Plan include the overarching goals – to Initiate and Collaborate, to Support and Empower, and to Curate and Preserve. With these goals in mind, SEA aims to support a sustainable and sustained mentoring culture in Steiner schools, building on and extending the outcomes of the 2021, 2022 and 2023 programs, to enable Steiner schools to build capacity within their own school communities, and to collaborate with other schools, enabling schools to thrive together. We are also supporting international work through our own research and practice on Steiner teacher mentoring which can be shared beyond Australia.

We would love you to consider participating! Please do not hesitate to contact Nicki Radford at [email protected] to register for the 2024 program or with any questions.  

2024 Program Dates:

15 & 16 February, 2024 – 2 day intensive in Sydney to start the course
28 February 2024 – 4 – 5.30pm Fortnightly zoom
20 March 2024 – 4-5.30pm Fortnightly Zoom
10 April 2024 – 4-5.30pm Fortnightly Zoom
1 May 2024 – 4-5.30pm Fortnightly zoom
15 May 2024 – 4 – 5.30pm Fortnightly zoom
29 May 2024 – 4 – 5.30pm Fortnightly zoom
19 June 2024 – 4 – 5.30pm Fortnightly zoom
31 July 2024 – 4 – 5.30pm Fortnightly zoom
14 August 2024 – 4-5.30 Fortnightly zoom
28 August 2024 – 4 – 5.30pm Fortnightly zoom
Sept/Oct, 2024 – Steiner Mentoring Network Australia Community of Practice Meeting.

 

 

DATES:
15 Feb 2024 - 09 Nov 2024
VENUE: In person and online