Wednesday, May 07, 2008

the importance of and potential for the enhancement of mentoring

marvin minsky has recently written a great series of articles about the importance of cross age mentoring and how networks open up new opportunities for that - on the OLPC wiki
Memo 3 essays (all four)
Memo 2 -> drawbacks of age based segregation

From where do our children’s self-images come? Of course, they copy a lot from their parents, siblings, teachers, and friends but (as noted in Memo 2) they also tend to emulate familiar public “celebrities,” so that many children come to know a lot about athletes, pop-stars and actors, but few can recognize the name of a single philosopher, scientist, or mathematician, because such achievers are rarely mentioned either in classrooms or media. The images of those celebrities must have substantial effects on our children’s goals—yet those descriptions are mainly fictitious, crafted by publicists to grip our children’s attentions for countless thousands of valuable hours. And even when those biographies are accurate, they don’t often demonstrate qualities that we should want our children to admire.
the teacher's union conservatism is just as bad or worse than the education departments conservatism on this issue - look at what DECS (Ed Department) and the AEU (Union) have done to Al Upton's students (update 3):
"Mentors/coaches – any communication between students and adults overseas was strongly advised against. DECS and AEU representatives agree on this"

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