In thinking about authentic connections and about student agency, how might we help learners connect with people who can help move them forward? This brings the role of the mentor into the exhibition process.
At One Stone – an independent and tuition free high school in Boise, Idaho – they have Champions. Anyone can be a champion – just join their Facebook group and you’re in! A champion is there to do just that: champion the learners. Cheer them on, bounce ideas off, listen, offer feedback, critique, provide expertise. You don’t have to do anything until you see or hear something that catches your eye, sparks your interest. Your commitment lies in your willingness to say yes when an opportunity pops up that you connect with.
How might we harness this protocol for the exhibition?
What about a WeChat or WhatsApp group of PYPx Champions? You join because you want to help but you don’t want to commit to a certain time each week on the off chance that what you can offer meshes with what the kids need.
What about a 'human library'? Having a bank of human resources from within the community that learners can 'check out'.
What about seeking 'feedforward'? Keeping an online, ongoing document shared with the community in which learners add their current thinking and the community offer their input too.
Mentoring can and will look different in different communities and even within the timeframe of the Exhibition within a community of learners. Being flexible and responsive to learning needs is key to successful mentor/learner relationships.