BEST Tips for Mentors: March 2022


Beginning Educator Support Team (BEST)


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The BEST Mentor/Coach Equity in Action Conference will take place virtually on March 9 & 10, 2022!


Mentor Academy 101 

May 17 & 24, 8am- 3pm

May 18 & 19, 8am- 3pm

May 18, 25, June 1, 8, 4pm- 6pm

June 1 & 8, 8am- 3pm

June 15 & 16, 8am- 3pm

June 21 & 23, 8am- 3pm

June 27 & 28, 8am- 3pm

Mentoring Preservice Teacher Candidates 

June 29, 8am- 3pm

Check out the BEST Events & Trainings page to register for open opportunities! BEST will continue to provide all events online until further notice.

Tips for Mentors
March 2022

Asset-Based Coaching

Knowing that this time of year, especially in a particularly challenging year, we can sometimes see and carry the struggles more than the successes, it can be helpful to reframe the stance to one of asset-based coaching. Here are some examples of how you might use this stance to shift perspective:

When you think about (student)’s family, what are some assets that they have to support their learning right now? [pause]

By assets, we’re talking about the knowledge and expertise they have because of their roles in their families, communities, and culture. What learning expertise and knowledge is available in (student)’s home? 

Asset-based mentoring and coaching sometimes notices and names inner strengths and dispositions: 

  • You showed persistence when you kept returning to that problem to see what you were missing. 
  • You're stepping outside of yourself and looking at multiple perspectives in this. 
  • You're seeing how your identity differs from your students' and really exploring how that's impacting dynamics in the classroom. 

"There’s no better place to start [with asset-based coaching] than within yourself. Spend some time reflecting on your own strengths as a coach or leader, and on identifying your own potential and possibilities."

- From Bright Morning, Asset-Based Coaching: Focusing on Strengths


Tip from the Field: Praise and Feedback

Feedback is a key part of mentoring and coaching support. Check out this tip from a mentor about praise and feedback, and be ready to reflect on when to bring out the pom-poms and when to put them away.

"We want to move mentors away from the habit of general praise. General praise is like cheerleading at an event. It might energize the players, but it doesn’t give them information to make decisions in the future.

Grant Wiggins says, 'Loosely speaking, of course, feedback means anything we say back to a person who has said or done something. So, it is not uncommon to hear educators say that 'Good job!' and 'Try harder next time!' are examples of feedback. Yet, strictly speaking, neither is feedback: the first phrase is praise and the second phrase is advice. Feedback is information about what happened, in light of a goal; there is no praise, blame, or advice, just actionable data from some result.' (from Feedback: what it is and isn't)

We’re not saying never use praise. We’re saying praise is not feedback, i.e., not information to improve practice and guide decision-making. Perhaps our statement should be that praise is not enough to improve practice."

-Drew in Seattle

Mentors, how do you give feedback? Share your thoughts with BEST staff!