Monday, April 15, 2013

Review: Mentor: Guiding the Journey of Adult Learners



Daloz, L.A (2012). Mentor: Guiding the Journey of Adult Learners. Jossey-Bass.

Reviewed by: Melanie  Rideout-Santarossa,
                       Project Coordinator, Faculty & Curriculum Development Centre,
                       OCAD University


In Mentor: Guiding the Journey of Adult Learners, Laurent A. Daloz reminds us of the power mentoring holds to change the teaching and learning landscape for students and instructors. Laurent proposes that in the mentor-mentee relationship, mentors assist their students along their educational journeys, but that in doing so their lives are altered as well. Laurent explains that these transformations inevitably filter into the classroom. For instance, being privy to the personal and professional objectives of the mentee, the mentor is able to envision more ways in which the course should align to the students’ world. Similarly, having placed his/her trust in the mentor, the mentee revises the role of instructor from content guide or authority to advisor or friend. Looking at one another in this new light obviously alters the exchanges that will occur in the classroom, and arise in assignments. Having occupied the role of mentor for many years, Laurent eloquently communicates the influence this relationship has on an instructor’s process of development, and it is these anecdotal accounts that may sway readers to open themselves to the possibility of mentoring their students. However, in reviewing this book as a “how-to” guide for teachers who may find themselves in a mentoring role, two shortcomings must be noted. First, Laurent makes the assumption that his readers are seasoned educators. For those of us coming to this resource as novice instructors who might find themselves in a mentoring role, it is difficult to parcel out concrete advice or explicit questioning techniques. Moreover, while Laurent does a good job of emphasizing how effective storytelling is to the mentorship process, the anecdotes contained within reflect ideal mentoring relationships, which do not help new instructors understand how to deal with mentoring situations that are difficult, awkward, or emotionally jarring.  

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