Role of mentor
A mentor can help the students set and meet their goals by asking questions, suggesting resources, helping to interpret difficult information and facilitating interviews or telephone calls. Community members, older students, parents and teachersmay be invited to act as mentors. Some examples of mentor participation include the following.
• Members of the school community are encouraged to identify areas (knowledge, skills and interests) where they could support the students, and an inventory of “experts” is developed. Students contact these experts and arrange support as needed.
• Each group of students is assigned a mentor who will support the group through the process leading towards the exhibition. Groups will meet with their mentors on a weekly basis or as needed. The mentor will guide the students and help them monitor their progress, assisting them in setting new goals. They are responsible for some aspects of student assessment. Ultimately, the students are responsible for the completion of work.
• The mentor’s primary role is to act as a guide and resource in the accomplishment of specific tasks during the exhibition process. Members of the school community are invited to mentor in one or more areas of interest or expertise, for example, research, writing, or information and communication technology (ICT). They are available at different stages of the exhibition. For instance, in the early stages of the inquiry, research mentors come in two to three times a week. Mentors have a purely advisory role, and while they do not participate in the summative assessment of the exhibition, they may contribute to formative assessments regarding their area of support, as well as reflecting on the exhibition process.
• After the students have written their central idea for their inquiry, teachers and other adults within the school who have nominated themselves for the mentoring role are matched up with a group of students. The students are responsible for contacting and organizing meetings with their mentor. The mentors are encouraged to meet the students at least three times in the beginning stages of the exhibition but may reduce their involvement over time to increase student responsibility. They are not involved in formal assessment but are encouraged to make anecdotal observations and to give feedback to the students and teachers.