Mentoring our Mentors

Ministry of Education – Teaching Policy and Standards Branch


                                                                                                                                  Issue 21 / January 2014Learning Together

Over the last few months the Teaching Policy and Standards Branch (TPSB) has had the privilege of working with (and learning from) several board NTIP teams in the design and delivery of foundational professional learning opportunities for NTIP Mentors.

The chart below highlights core elements of these learning sessions along with accompanying activities and resources. As always, board teams and mentors are encouraged to adapt the ideas to meet their context and personalized learning needs.

All of the learning activities described below utilize the Building Effective Mentoring Relationships ebook which is available for online viewing and download at:

Learning Agenda

  • Introductory “Minds On” 

  • Overview of the needs of beginning teachers / multiple mentoring models 

  • Strategies for establishing trust and rapport

  • The 3Cs of mentorship (Consultant / Collaborator / Coach)

  • Learning focused conversations

  • Using Scaling Questions to provide non-evaluative feedback

  • So What / Now What next steps

Learning Activity & Learning Resources

  • Give and Get 
    • Prior positive experience with mentorship (Give) 
    • Learning goals for today’s session (Get)

  • Strategy Harvest
    • Participants share at their table and with whole group how they build relational trust both initially and on an ongoing basis with beginning teachers they mentor
    • The Power of Listening (pages 7 – 8) provides a succinct overview of the elements of listening and how essential listening is to fostering trust in any relationship

  • Table Circle
    • Roles and Stances of an Effective Mentor (page 11) 
    • Participants share connections between the 3Cs framework and their lived mentoring experiences
    • Brief video illustrating how effective mentors demonstrate a flexibility of stance and role based on the needs of the person they are working with (19 secs)

  • View and Do
    • Learning Focused Conversation example video (3 min 37 secs)
    • Participants each select one element of effective listening to observe:
      • Attending Fully
      • Pausing and Paraphrasing
      • Non Verbal Encouragement
      • Reflecting Feelings
    • At the conclusion of the video participants share what evidence of listening they saw or heard
    • Learning Focused Conversations (pages 16 – 19)                       
    • Participants pair up and have an authentic planning / reflecting / problem solving conversation with a colleague, keeping in mind the elements of listening and the 3Cs
    • Examples of reflection questions are found on page 17

  • Time in the Real World (aka a Classroom)
    • Grade 4 Lesson example video (7 min)
    • Participants place themselves in the role of the person’s mentor and consider:
      • What feedback they would provide
      • How they would structure the debriefing conversation
    • Utilizing Scaling Questions in Debriefing Conversations (pages 25 – 27)
    • Participants discuss how this protocol for debriefing sets aside personal judgment and allows the beginning teacher to construct their own understanding and next steps                                                                                         
    • Participants pair up and engage in their own scaling conversation about how their work as mentors is going so far

  • Shape Reflection
    • Something that “squared” (validated prior understanding)
    • A question that is still “circling” around in my mind
    • Something that could form the “base” of future action

Continuing the Learning

During our recent Adobe Connect learning session, school boards across Ontario shared how they are mentoring their mentors on an ongoing basis.  Click here for a strategy harvest of all the ideas shared.  Many boards have also chosen to share the mentoring toolkit found on the Mentoring Moments Ning as part of the continued support they provide their mentors.  NTIP mentors can join the Ning at:



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