What is an Environmental Education Mentor?
Connecting with a mentor is one of the most important components of the Kids Teaching Kids journey. It gives students a real-world context for their learning and allows them to work alongside adults as equals, sharing ideas, knowledge and hopes for the future.
Mentoring can be a rewarding experience for the mentor as well. You get the opportunity to connect with future generations and seeing their enthusiasm for what you do can be very uplifting. It is also an avenue for getting messages into the community, eg. if you are working on protecting a locally threatened species and share this with a group of students, they will undoubtedly go home and tell their parents about what they have learnt.
As a mentor you provide support and offer ideas to the students, helping them understand new information or teaching them a relevant skill. Mentors do not necessarily need to be a traditional expert on the chosen research topic, but simply have something to offer the student’s learning. A mentor can contribute as little as they like to the student’s Kids Teaching Kids journey. A mentor could simply take the form of a one hour “guest speaker” to give the students information on their chosen topic, or a mentor could visit the students once a week throughout the year as they work on a collaborative project.
Mentors and the KTK Journey
The Kids Teaching Kids journey is broken down into four stages which are outlined below. Mentors are typically involved in Stage 2 – Creating Connections, but they can become involved at any (or all) stages.
- Breaking Down the Problem: The research phase that encourages critical reflection and systematic thinking. Focus on all sides of the arguments and how to create behaviour change.
- Creating Connections: Students connect with an ‘expert’ mentor to provide real world context to their learning. Opportunity for corporate, intergenerational and cultural connections to be made.
- Taking Action: Students are the driving force for change within their school and community. Students consider practical everyday actions they can complete.
- Becoming Leaders: Students come together at Kids Teaching Kids events to share knowledge learnt on their journey. Leadership is not just raising your voice, but encouraging others to do the same.
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