I am reading Sir Ken Robinson's book The Element. As he describes the role of a mentor I can see how the same steps used in mentoring can also be applied to teaching. Sir Ken outlines four steps in the mentoring programme:
Identifying the skills that the student has. Traditionally intelligence was seen as being either number or word smart. Howard Gardener introduced the idea of multiple intelligences, in which anyone can be recognised as intelligent in a number of ways. The role of the teacher mentor is to recognise the way in which all students are intelligent.
The student will feel that he or she can achieve something that was almost improbable to the student before coming under the guidance of the mentor teacher. The mentor teacher will stand by the student, reminding him or her of the skills that they already have and what can be achieved through hard work.
The mentor teacher will help students by offering techniques and strategies to achieve learning goals, knowing that students will falter along the way, but will learn from mistakes that are made.
The effective mentor teacher will push students past perceived limits. Students will not be allowed to produce less than what they are capable of doing, always striving to be the best that they can be, never settling for being 'average'.