November 2018

News & Updates

Professional Learning Community Visits

Dr. Greg Miller and Dr. Judith Levings from the department of Agricultural Education and Studies at Iowa State visited the University of KwaZulu-Natal in mid-October and presented workshops for teaching faculty and graduate students in topics requested by administration from these campuses in the following topics: 
  • Effective Lessons and Effective Lectures
  • Polished Presentations
  • Teaching with Classroom Response Systems
  • Assessing Student Learning with Better MCQs and Rubrics
All of the material presented at the workshops will soon be available for perusal on the PBEA-PLC website! 

Website Updates

The PBEA-PLC website is undergoing changes to formatting and content information. The Iowa State technology teams are working hard with Agronomy and Ag Education faculty to continue to improve the usability and the information presented on the site. Any input to improve website design would be welcome as we work to develop accessibility for all users!
Take a look at what has been updated:


You Wanted to Know...

Peer Mentoring 

What is it? 

Peer mentoring is the development of a trusting relationship between partners who are working in the same community to improve practices. 

Why do we need it?

We need peer mentoring to help us provide a new perspective and shed light on new ways to problem solve. 

What does it look like?

Quality peer mentoring is characterized by the feedback provided. When given good feedback, provide the following: 
  • Observable behavior
  • Time sensitive
  • Clarity - May have to paraphrase

Stories from the Classroom

The idea of mentoring has been around for a long time. The original Mentor was described by Homer as the "wise and trusted counselor" whom Odysseus left in charge of his household during his travels. Athena, in the guise of Mentor, became the guardian and teacher of Odysseus' son Telemachus.
Having a mentor can run the gamut from very formal to informal.  Many faculty are expected to participating in the peer review of teaching. Many of us might have experienced a formal mentoring program at the start of your employment.  On the other hand, we quite often seek feedback in a much less and, yet, very influential manner. 
Informal mentoring is often underappreciated and unnoticed.  Many times, the informal mentoring is more impactful because it happens organically because of a felt need and often evolves into the establishment of a support system. 
The relationship between the mentor and mentee is important.  This reminds me of a double helix (Graphic) where the bond is the elements that are needed in the mentor-mentee relationship.  Knowing that that “bond” is for you in such a relationship is vital.  Those bonds could include role modeling, assistance with professional develop or an element of an area of work, demonstration, observation and feedback, direction assistance, and informal contact.  Another important element is establishing and maintaining clear communication as to what the expectations are for a specific mentoring relationship.
If you haven’t already, I challenge you to seek out both opportunities to be mentored and to serve as a mentor for your own personal and professional development.  It’s important to note that it okay, and probably better, to have several mentors depending on your need.  Perhaps you have a mentor who can assist with research and statistics, another mentor who is great at time management and work-life balance, and perhaps another mentor who can help you excel in the classroom as a teacher. 
By the way, don’t forget that students need mentors, too!

Contact the PBEA-PLC Team

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