If you have ever been in a mentoring situation you know just how important the relationship is between a mentor and young person (mentee). The relationship grows and develops over time as each learns about trust, respect as they nurture that developing connectedness with each other. Quality mentor/mentee relationships just don’t happen. They require an investment of time and effort to build and maintain.
Mentors are essential to our involvement with 4-H National Mentoring Program through replicating Tech Wizards. Often mentors and mentees learn about the about the science and technology associated with each topic, whether robotics, flight, digital photography, forestry or global positioning systems. Occasionally the mentor has expertise in these topics and can offer a unique perspective as a professional in the field. Either way, it is when the mentor and mentee share the experiential learning of our program delivery model that provides the medium for the relationship to grow.
Mentors take the commitment of working with our Tech Wizard youth seriously and are regularly present with their attention focused on enhancing the learning experience through dialogue and joint problem solving. They work together to master the Science Inquiry Process:
- Forming questions that can be answered by collecting data;
- Designing a scientific procedure to answer the questions;
- Communicating their scientific procedure to other:
- Recording their data accurately;
- Creating a graph/display to share data and observations with others;
- Analyzing results of their scientific investigation; and
- Applying the results of their investigation to answer the questions they developed.
Mentors assume their role as coach or guide, leaving the roles of parent, teacher and guardian to others. Youth often find mentors in their coaches for school or community recreation athletics. Our Tech Wizards program offers another type of mentoring for youth beyond the sports arena. Knowledge and skill building remains the focus but with Tech Wizards Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) are the subjects for learning.
Are you willing to share yourself as a mentor? Offer to be a coach for STEM exploration with a youth and foster the thrill of science inquiry as you build a mentoring relationship.