In an Edutopia blog from earlier this week, “The Emerging Age Bias,” fifth-grade teacher Pernille Ripp sees a trend growing that veteran teachers are now being thought of as being “old” instead of “experienced.” Ripp argues that these veteran teachers are the ones who bring “knowledge, expertise, methods that work, and a deep-seated passion” to incoming teachers who lack experience and desire a seasoned mentor. Arguably, veteran teachers also have something to learn from new blood. New and seasoned teachers can mentor each other in areas where they need development. For instance, a veteran teacher can help an incoming teacher with balancing lessons, effective teaching practices, and enhancing the classroom with items that create an environment conducive to learning. An in coming teacher can share their expertise with a veteran teacher, whether it’s a new methodology, recent technology, or fresh energy.
In “Students Master Digital Media Skills Teaching Tech to Older Adults,” another Edutopia article from this week, Daphne Bradford, a digital media instructor at a Los Angeles high school, shares the unique experience she created when she had the idea to let a team of juniors and seniors teach adults 50+ about digital photography and podcasting at the Osher Mac Lab at Cal State Dominguez Hills.
Students planned lessons with a foundation of collaboration, communication, critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making skills to teach the eight-week course to their distinguished students. Because many students who did the instructing had never produced their own podcast or YouTube videos before this experience, these inner-city kids were not only able to expand their minds by learning how to teach, they also learned skills they might not have had a chance to otherwise.
In the end, the student teachers got something unexpected: mentors. Bradford says, “The collaboration between student teacher and adult student participants transformed into a bonded, life-changing experience for everyone.”
Maybe there is an emerging “age bias” in the teacher community, but more commonly and openly apparent is the age bias some adults have against students. This mentorship experience shows how coaching and mentoring have no age requirements or boundaries. How can use you use coaching in your class or turn a conversation in the car with your child into an opportunity to act as a coach? How can you view age differences as an opportunity to learn something from a new perspective, instead of feeling threatened by the divide?
“Students Master Digital Media Skills Teaching Tech to Older Students,” by Daphne Bradford. 8 November 2011. Edutopia. Accessed on 9 November 2011. http://www.edutopia.org/blog/teaching-tech-older-adults-daphne-bradford?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=post&utm_content=blog&utm_campaign=studentsmasterdigitalmediaskillsteachingtechtoolderadults