This page is devoted to exploring mentoring as a form of leadership, teaching, and learning in foreign language education through questions such as:
  • What is mentoring and how does it differ from other forms of teaching and learning?
  • What are some of the strategies that effective mentors use to build shared cultures of learning?
  • In what ways might mentoring be considered a form of leadership?
  • How might mentoring be used to support students? Beginning teachers? Colleagues? Professional Learning Communities? Other organizations?
  • How might mentoring be used as a tool for initiating, implementing, and sustaining change?

Group Facilitators: Cindy Kendall, MI; Cherice Montgomery, MI; Marcia Rosenbusch, IA

Key Concepts

  • "We don't learn from doing, we learn from thinking about doing" (Laura Lipton)
  • Mentoring is a way to foster a CULTURE that supports learning.
  • Mentoring is a PROCESS--one that allows leaders to initiate productive relationships, identify needs and concerns, determine effective responses to resistance, and empower others through collaborative learning.
  • Mentoring is a LEARNING process--it is not about telling someone what to do, how to think, or why they should change. It is about building their internal capacity to make better professional decisions.
  • Mentoring is a RECIPROCAL process--one which recognizes that all individuals enter relationships with strengths and weaknessess, and that the mentor and the mentee both learn from one another.

Key Principles

  • In order to progress, mentees need to have their existing thinking challenged, their vision of what is possible for themselves and for their students expanded, and adequate support (in terms of emotional, intellectual, physical, and social resources). (Lipton, 2003)
  • Begin where the mentee is, not where you want them to be.
  • Select your mentoring stance (coaching, collaborating, or consulting) based on the mentee's perspective and skill level. (Lipton, 2003)
  • Monitor nonverbal cues continuously so that you can adjust your stance when necessary during the course of the interaction.
  • Listen for the story BEHIND the words. In other words, "Listen to what is being said and the events being related . . . . Listen to the feelings being expressed. Listen to the needs being expressed. Understand by putting yourself in the other person's shoes as best you can" (Lundberg & Lundberg, 2000, p. 38).
  • Pause before you respond, paraphrase what you think was said, and probe with follow-up questions. (Lipton, 2003). "When you use the operative words of the person speaking, then he knows that he is being listened to because he hears his lead being followed. His path is not being challenged or diverted . . . . " (Lundberg & Lundberg, 2000, p. 51).
  • Provide non-judgmental feedback that invites additional thinking and conversation. "Be non-judgmental" (Lipton). "Get rid of the 'buts' in your conversations. They nearly always invalidate whatever validation you previously gave" (Lundberg & Lundberg, 2000, p. 54).
  • "When relationships are strained and the air charged with emotion, an attempt to teach is often perceived as a form of judgment and rejection" (Lundberg & Lundberg, 2000, p. 62).

Children's Books Related to Mentoring

AHatForIvan.JPG - This book by Max Lucado demonstrates how well-meaning mentors can sometimes stifle the very growth they are trying to promote by failing to recognize the individual gifts and talents of those they serve - chericem1 chericem1

Human Relations

ASenseOfDirection.JPG- Ball, William. (1984). A sense of direction: Some observations on the art of directing. Hollywood, CA: Drama Publishers. ISBN 0-89676-082-0.
This phenomenal book (particularly Chapters 1, 2, and 5) provides unique insights into the nature of directing and acting, teaching and learning, leading and mentoring, and intuition and creativity.

Get Unstuck & Get Going - 21 Ways to Kickstart Blocked Thinking

IDontHaveToMakeEverythingAllBetterImage.JPG - Lundberg, Gary, & Joy Lundberg. (2000). I don't have to make everything all better: Six practical principles that empower others to solve their own problems while enriching your relationships. NY: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-028643-8.

Mentoring Colleagues

CreatingAProfessionalDevelopmentPlan.JPG - This PDF contains a workbook with tons of resources that will help you to guide colleagues in creating professional development plans that can serve as a guide to mentoring and support.

EdutopiaLogo.JPG - This magazine (available online and in print) is produced by the George Lucas Educational Foundation addresses a host of educational issues.


Garmston, Robert J., & Wellman, Bruce M. (1999). The adaptive school: A sourcebook for developing collaborative groups. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0-926842-91-9. This book provides a series of useful strategies for facilitating collaborative groups. - chericem1 chericem1



Chapter5TheImportanceOfMentorsLogo.JPG - Excellent overview of the whats, whys, and hows of mentoring from Educause


TypesOfMentoringFunctionsLogo.JPG - Outlines advantages and disadvantages of each for both the mentor and the mentee (from Educause)

Mentoring New Teachers



LearningFocusedConversations.JPG - Excellent handout that provides a primer of Laura Lipton & Bruce Wellman's approach to mentoring new teachers

TypesOfMentoringFunctionsLogo.JPG - Outlines advantages and disadvantages of each for both the mentor and the mentee (from Educause)

Ganser, Tom. (1997, Winter). What are the important mentor roles? MLRN's Mentor Journal, 1. Retrieved February 21, 2007, from
This article provides results of a study on mentoring roles based on interview data from 26 participants.

Lipton.jpg Lipton, Laura, Wellman, Bruce, & Humbard, Carlette. (2003). Mentoring matters: A practical guide to learning-focused relationships. Sherman, CT: MiraVia, LLC. ISBN 0-9665022-2-1.
This teacher-friendly book contains information regarding the tensions inherent in mentoring new teachers, offers practical strategies for balancing these tensions, outlines verbal techniques for mediating thinking, and provides a useful collection of reproducible inventories, rubrics, templates, and other tools to support both mentors and mentees. Image source:

Mentoring - Cherice's recent bookmarks on the subject

Mora, Richard, & Evashevski, Marion. (2006, Spring). An open and honest conversation about the mentoring-mentee relationship. Kappa Delta Pi Record. For a shorter summary of this article, visit Coach's Corner: A Conversation Between Mentor and Mentee

Mentoring Students



Music Related to Mentoring

You Raise Me Up - From Closer by Josh Groban (What does this song have to do with mentoring?)


The Power of Conversation

Engage in Continuous Conversation - "Persistence does not mean patiently waiting for people to 'see the light.' Rather, it entails listening, posing tough questions, describing, mediating, and surfacing and confronting conflict. When opposition occurs in the form of active resistance or passive aggressiveness, . . .it is vital to secure agreement to stay in the dialogue" (Lambert, p. 86).

Nurture Understanding - ". . . variance in understandings will be widened by the lack of opportunity for conversation" (Lambert, p. 91).

Offer Support - "They're skeptical because they're scared" (Lundin, Paul, & Christensen, p. 81).

The Power of Empowerment

"Help that is not good is the kind that continually subsidizes a person and makes him dependent on you" (Lundberg & Lundberg, 2000, p. 279).

"When you start thinking up solutions for others you change the focus to yourself" (Lundberg & Lundberg, 2000, p. 279).

The Power of Feedback

"In real life, negative feedback doesn't mean failure--or anything else. It has no intrinsic meaning. It's just a message that says, 'Try again.'" (DePorter, Reardon, & Singer-Nourie, 1999, p. 196).

"Self-reflection on one's own teaching, though important, is seldom sufficient . . . . We often simply don't know what we are unaware of . . . . What we need is critical yet supportive feedback from those who know how to see . . . ." (Eisner, pp. 56-57).

The Power of Learning

"There has been an assumption that if the student is the learner, then the teacher must be someone who is not a learner" (Torbe & Medway, 1981, p. 10).

The Power of Listening

"One of the greatest compliments you can give another person is your complete attention" (Lundberg & Lundberg, 2000, p. 56).

"The more we preach, the more they will feel compelled to keep defending that point of view through their actions" (Lundberg & Lundberg, 2000, p. 125).

"When you offer help you must attempt to see through the eyes of the other person what is needed and wanted. The only way to do this is to ask nonthreatening questions" (Lundberg & Lundberg, 2000, p. 28).


DePorter, Bobbi, Mark Reardon, & Sarah Singer-Nourie. (1999). Quantum teaching: Orchestrating student success. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon. ISBN 0-205-28664-X.

Eisner, Elliot W. (2002). The arts and the creation of mind. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-09523-6.

Lambert, Linda. (1998). Building leadership capacity in schools. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. ISBN 0-87120-307-3.

Lundberg, Gary, & Joy Lundberg. (2000). I don't have to make everything all better: Six practical principles that empower others to solve their own problems while enriching your relationships. NY: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-028643-8.

Lundin, Stephen C., Harry Paul, & John Christensen. (2000). Fish! NY: Hyperion. ISBN 0-7868-6602-0.


Assist.gif - Loads of resources and tools for mentor teachers. This particular link will take you to resources that you can use to systematically observe and provide feedback to mentees. Be sure to explore the other links on the site.



Videos Related to Mentoring