Last week I attended a 4-day mentoring conference in Albuquerque, NM. This conference offered so many different workshops about various perspectives of mentoring. As I think about all that I learned at this conference, I’ve been thinking a lot about self-mentoring. In addition to attending this conference, I’ve been reading Creating Self-Regulated Learners by Linda B. Nilson. This book has really made me reflect on self-regulated learners and what that looks like.
So by combining the idea of self-mentoring and self-regulated learners, I cannot help but wonder how I am doing as a learner. Am I aware of my goals as a professional, an instructor, and a member of my department? What about the institution’s goals? Am I upholding those goals? All this really got me wondering how I manage the goals and expectations that I place on myself and that others place on me. How do I know if I’m following through? How do I know that I am upholding these goals?
This questioning got me wondering even more. Am I self-mentoring and self-regulating like I’m expecting my students to do? How can I help them if I am not doing the same for me? As I was reading Mrs. Nilson’s book, I was immediately struck with an understanding of identifying the needs of my learners. She says that, “Turning our students into lifelong learners no longer translates into the academic ideal of producing widely read cultural elites, but rather equipping our graduates with basic economic and survival skills” (Nilson, 2013, p. 1). For me, it’s not about assigning a certain number of pages to read each night or a certain number of papers to assign. It’s about integrating skills that support and challenge the learners in my classroom. It’s also about encouraging the students to push themselves as learners and to be aware of themselves as learners. For specific strategies and tips, I highly encourage reading Linda Nilson’s book.
Nilson, L.B. (2013). Creating self-regulated learners: Strategies to strengthen students’ self-
awareness and learning skills. Sterling, Virginia: Stylus.