Throughout the curriculum, mentees and mentors will be asked to reflect as part of their weekly communication and as they transition from one unit of learning to the next. The opportunities to reflect are present in each lesson, integrated into event activities, and built into the workflow of the Lessons.
"Within the word we find two dimensions, reflection and action, in such radical interaction that if one is sacrificed - even in part - the other immediately suffers." - Paolo Freire
Reflection is vital to learning. It can foster growth, invite critical and complex thinking, withdraw and apply meaning, and involves students in their own learning process. As facilitators in the classroom, our staff members play a pivotal role in ensuring that content is not only covered, but is learned and can be applied to the processes (i.e. college application) that require its use. Without reflection, lesson objectives and facilitation can become unintentionally focused on just the covering of content or completion of tasks. In these cases, we would have fallen short of our goal to build mentee capacity toward being college ready.
The practice of self-reflection also plays a critical role in the relationship building process. We know that every pair will experience the typical ebbs and flows of participation and engagement. In order for mentees and mentors to work effectively together, they'll need to practice self- and pair-reflection to be in a steady state of growth and improvement.
"A defining condition of being human is that we have to understand the meaning of our experience." - Jack Mezirow
The goals of the iMentor curriculum - building relationships, activating college aspirations, developing non-cognitive skills, navigating the college process - involve topics and content that provide both direct and challenging opportunities for reflection. When engaged in lessons and conversations about having a growth mindset and identifying personal goals, the use of reflection can be direct and obvious. In these and similar cases, opportunities to reflect will be threaded throughout the lesson. For more transactional content, i.e. completing the FAFSA, completing a college list, both the need and time it takes to reflect may appear to be less urgent and necessary. However, it is important that we provide our mentees with the opportunity to understand both that they need to complete a task AND why it is important.
"We do not learn from experience...we learn from reflecting on experience." - John Dewey
In addition to the reflections that are built into the weekly lessons, Conversations will act as a dedicated space for reflection when mentees and mentors complete their scheduled units.