Mentorship is the next frontier of education

April 4, 2019

As humans, our best and deepest learning occurs when we’re seeking answers to our own questions — that’s where engagement and motivation is highest. We can find answers online and in books, but typically we need to integrate new learning by having meaningful conversations with other humans. Adolescents, as they cross the uncertain terrain bridging adolescence and adulthood, need it just as much as we do — arguably moreso.

Young people are naturals at asking questions — we see from transformative schools that they don’t really need to be told what to learn. In fact, classic educational approaches are a liability in today’s world, limiting learning to a prescribed knowledge base when we know full well they’ll need to blow up that antiquated silo-thinking to develop a career of purpose and meaning, and to be able to stay light on their feet and open to new learning. We know it, because in our fast-changing world, we find we’re having to do it for ourselves.

A mentor can see – or makes it their purpose to see – what is unique, interesting or special about each person. They tap into their personality and capacities and help them recognize things in themselves that can help them develop and flourish.

Sir Ken Robinson says: “Mentors lead us to believe that we can achieve something that seemed improbable or impossible to us before we met them. They don’t allow us to succumb to self-doubt for too long, or the notion that our dreams are too large for us. They stand by to remind us of the skills we already possess and what we can achieve if we continue to work hard.”

There’s also a vast amount of research evidence that proves how valuable mentorship can be. It improves students’ academic performance, boosts their confidence, builds their networks and, at its best, also equips them with the skills they’ll need to excel in a professional environment.

Thanks to your support, Rethink Thinking is well on our way to giving millions of young people more access to opportunities for in-depth exploration and self discovery of what matters TO THEM. All the while expanding their knowledge, skills and connection to community through personalized learning, arts-based facilitation and mentorship.

There are two parts to how we do what we do:

Part one is The Summit, a two-day, youth-led gathering using the open-space model that brings youth together to develop purposeful projects based on their interests. At Summit, participants un- lock and build on each other’s ideas, while surrounded by a variety of community mentors who can offer guidance and insight into their inquiries. Summit is driven and directed by youth, for youth.

Part two is a powerful ongoing mentorship program, where youth can access mentors who will support further inquiry and direct them to the resources that will help them get to where they want to go. Structured by software that’s specifically designed to connect youth with mentors while simultaneously coaching them in how to navigate and develop the mentor-mentee relationship, this program partners youth with interested guides who will walk beside them on their path of discovery. For kids, having an older person who’s deeply interested in their life experience — even just one — is known to be one of the strongest predictors of resilience.

Thanks to tremendous support from our partners, sponsors and community, we’ve been able to bring more resources to the table. Our team is growing and so is our reach. We’re currently working with our partners to bring our programming to other cities and ignite youth everywhere with our understanding that learning can be interest-based, co-created with a mentor, and enriched by a sense of connection, purpose and meaning.

Our mentorship app development is in full swing so that youth can find someone who cares about what they care about. So that they can build meaningful relationships, and learn about what it takes to keep those relationships strong and rewarding.

That’s all. Just a little bit of world-changing.

So, thanks. Really. We couldn’t do any of it without you.

Onwards. And stay tuned….