Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Parents Mentoring Parents

My colleague Frances Guzman and I just returned from conducting a half-day workshop with a small group of parent liaisons in one of the local school districts in San Antonio TX.

The project is in its 3rd year and is a pilot project sponsored by the local United Way agency as part of its efforts to address root causes of community issues. The program has recruited ladies from the neighborhoods (barrios) to become outreach workers and energizers for parent involvement. One result that this program has had is that there was district-wide customer-service training of the personnel that work at the principal's offices of the school campuses. This came from the documented finding of this project that many families were being treated with less than civilly or politely than any family merits.
This project has been influenced by other efforts of 'promotoras' happening in different communities and with other agencies, such as health providers and social service agencies.
The goal is not just a more personal outreach and communication with families, but a direction away from the 'social service' model provided by a social worker, but a collective move to address needs in the community through information networks and the encouraging of mutual help and initiative among families.
In this setting, these school based outreach workers are now being challenged to pass on what they have learned and what they are doing. As each connects with families, they will each begin to identify those emerging leaders that can take on supportive and counseling roles with their neightbors and peers.
It was a marvelous opportunity to see the intelligence and problem-solving capability of the individuals in the group and also the group collaboration and cohesion.
I'm dropping the basic agenda and task sheet in here. It illustrates how bilingual we have to be, and is an echo of the actual bilingual, constantly code-switching approach we used. They had a translator with earphones for the participants and it began that way, but since I was doing constant translation and jumping from Spanish to English, he came up and told me that his services really weren't needed and I thanked him profusely because he was such a competent and polite young man. Most of us in my organization that are bilingual actually model this approach, many times without the blessings of the sponsors who tell us that it takes twice as long if we do contsant translation as presenters. My feeling is that the earphones cut-off real communication and that the live interaction is much more powerful, even if there is somewhat less information presented. It's the interaction, communication, dialogue, problem-solving and critical conversations that give the session the 'chilito' the spice. One parent told me afterwards that

she absorbed much more without the earphones and that she had copious notes from
the previous sessions but had retained much less information even though
everything presented in English had been translated for her through the

This is a complex issue that requires more conversation. It also requires enough bilingual presenters willing to take the risk in doing it this way.

So here's the agenda/task sheets.

Mentoring Leaders in Education


To analyze the role of mentoring in leadership development
Analizar el papel de ser mentor en el desarrollo de líderes

To prioritize those aspects of leadership that mentors should focus on
Darle prioridad a los aspectos de ser líder en cuales los mentores deben enfocar

To list the observable outcomes of effective mentoring
Hacer lista de los resultados observables cuando los mentores tienen efecto positivo

To experience the critical aspects of communication to being an effective mentor
Tener una experiencia de los aspectos de comunicación críticos para ser mentor efectivo

To conduct a personal diagnosis of strengths as a mentor and areas that need improvement
Conducir un diagnosis personal de las cualidades positivas como mentor y las áreas que se necesitan mejorar


The Role of Mentor

Leader Role Priorities

Observable Outcomes

Mentor Communication

Personal Contract


Answer the following questions and share the information with your small group.

A mentor is a guide, an advisor and someone who elicits trust.
Un mentor es un guía, un consejero y alguien que inspira confianza.

What is one quality that makes you a good guide?
¿Que es una calidad que lo hace un buen guía?

What is one quality that makes you a good counselor?
¿Que es una calidad que lo hace un buen consejero?

What is one way that you inspire trust and confidence from others?
¿Cual es una manera en que usted inspira confianza en otros?

When everyone in your group has shared, as a group, make a drawing without any words that represents all the positive qualities that you have shared. Everyone has to help with the drawing. Select a person to report on your drawing.
Cuando todos en su grupo hayan compartido sus respuestas a las preguntas, dibujen una representación sin palabras de todas las cualidades positivas que compartieron. Todos tienen que ayudar con el dibujo. Escojan una persona para que de un reporte sobre el dibujo.

The Role of Mentoring In Leadership Development

If I am a mentor to someone who I hope becomes a leader,
Si yo soy mentor para alguien quien yo espero será un líder,

Then my role as a guide is to…
Entonces mí papel como guía es de…

Then my role as an advisor is to…
Entonces mí papel como consejero es de…

Then I must gain their trust by…
Entonces tengo que ganarme su confianza con…

From this list of roles and responsibilities of leadership, select the five most important for mentors to focus on.
De esta lista de papeles y responsabilidades de ser líder escojan las cinco mas importantes para enfocar como mentores.

Roles of Leadership (Just English included here)

Advisor Listens with interest; assimilates information; uses non-directional techniques to bring more information to surface and build relationship of trust; resists impulse to rush in with answers.

Advocate Clarifies and defines problem; focuses attention and action; speaks for and defends the need for change.

Catalyst Sparks and energizes process of change; generates interest, involvement, participation.

Insider Represents and promotes change within an institution/organization; diffuses understanding and positive attitude.

Interface Works to improve relations between interacting groups; diplomat.

Problem-solver/Solution-giver Meets needs with resources and ideas; has appropriate, feasible suggestions addressing needs and problems; knows when and how to present them.

Process-helper Trains and (or) assists groups in working together to analyze problems/needs, find resources, define roles, map path to change and monitor progress.

Resource linker Connects with community organizations, agencies, units of government and human services, and the private sector; works to bring them into effective collaboration with the target group or organization.

Spokesperson Champions issues; speaks well of and for the group; makes effective and articulate presentations; defends need for change.

Supporter Balances need to move toward change (risky and threatening to many) with encouragement and nurturing of individuals engaged in it.

Team member Directs/serves on team initiating change.

Observable Outcomes of Effective Mentoring

Make a personal list of things you can see or observe that show and indicate that the guidance a person has received has been effective.
Haga una lista personal de cosas que se pueden ver o observar que son indicaciones que la orientación que la persona ha recibido ha sido efectiva.




Personal Contract/ Contrato personal

The session was highly participatory and the participants gave very high marks to the session. This was the last of a series of training sessions that were held this summer. The staff overseeing the program will be identifying what the critical aspects of the content and process of this professional approach are needed to expand the project to a whole school district beyond the eight campuses participating now.

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