Peer mentoring is an opportunity for teachers to reflect on both their teaching and learner outcomes with a shared context and purpose. ATLAS provides training on the peer mentoring process, up to 9 CEUs for full participation, and reimbursement to programs for 6 hours of substitute teacher time.
Peer mentoring goals
The goals of peer mentoring include:
- Improved involvement and outcomes for adult learners;
- Improved instructional strategies by teachers through more intentional application and reflection of teaching strategies; and
- Enhanced collegiality and professionalism through collaboration with peers.
What are the steps involved in peer mentoring?
- Attend an ATLAS peer-mentoring workshop or complete the training online through the Minnesota Literacy Council.
- Complete initial reflection assignment (the learner-centered checklist).
- Identify 2-3 areas you for exploration that you would like your peer mentor to observe for in your class.
- Establish a time to observe each other's lesson.
- Use the learner-centered checklist as an observation tool the first time you observe your peer's class.
- For each subsequent observation, develop a rubric or set of questions to help guide each observation.
- Identify areas you would like to work on as a result of the observations. Adjust teaching objectives and instruction to work towards meeting your personal goals. Throughout the process, observe for the ways adjustments in your teaching strategies help to meet the needs of a particular student or students.
- Continue to develop rubrics/questionnaires highlighting additional areas you want to work on and observe and meet to debrief for a total of 4 observations per teacher.
- Complete the initial reflection assignment again and reflect on the ways you've implemented practices and principles that are more responsive to your learners' cultural backgrounds and needs.
- After observing, establish a time to debrief the observations. What did you observe using the observation tools? What effect did changes in your teaching have on learning? What did you learn from observing one another?
How/when can I get started?
- Identify a peer at your site with whom you would like to work through the process of peer-mentoring and reflection on your teaching.
- Please email Patsy Vinogradov, the ATLAS Director, for details.
You may also start Peer Mentoring for Adult Educators—an online training offered through the Minnesota Literacy Council and facilitated by ATLAS—at any time.
How long is the program?
Ideally the program would occur over a minimum of 4 weeks, with one observation a week. This may also be spread out over a longer period of time, provided the teachers finish the cycle by the end of the program year (June 30).
The total time commitment:
- 4 hours observation + 2 hours debriefing
- 1 workshop or the online training (approximately 4 hrs)
We would encourage programs to provide release time for additional hours of observation and debriefing. ATLAS is able to reimburse for 6 hours of substitute teacher time for each participating teacher.
What other commitments will I need to make?
The initial and final reflection assignments are collected as a way to measure progress towards teachers' personal goals. Teachers need to keep track of the number of hours they observed, the number of students in their classes, and the number of hours they spent on debriefing their observations with their colleague. We will have bi-annual gatherings to celebrate and share successes.
In addition to the CEUs earned for participating in the training sessions, teachers will receive CEUs for documented hours spent observing and debriefing with a colleague.