FINDING MENTORS IN THE “NEW OLD-FASHIONED WAY”

 

Ed Duling

University of Toledo, MS #605

Toledo, OH 43606-3390

ed.duling@utoledo.edu

 

The holiday song, Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree contains the phrase “new old fashioned way” to describe the revelry of season. Metaphorically, likely mentors for music specialists seem to be those to whom they’ve been assigned in secondary and post-secondary musical and educational experiences—a very traditional, “old-fashioned” occurrence. After reading and undertaking both quantitative and qualitative research pertaining to mentoring with both pre- and inservice teachers, I have concluded that music teachers’ association with mentors, while subject to some variation, may occur at a younger age than other teachers, and that even beginning music education majors have several identifiable mentors “in hand” when they enter our schools and departments. The classification “model mentor” is the choice of many pre- and inservice teachers for one or two persons they know who exemplify the music teaching profession.

 

Many music teachers seem able to identify, talk about, and even classify mentors as to their contributions to their own teaching practices. Because of these abilities, I believe that we need to activate thinking about mentors in undergraduate methods classes and in graduate classes in curriculum and psychology. Specifically, as music teacher educators help novices get a footing in the profession and as they facilitate inservice teachers’ reflection upon their teaching practices, I would advocate that we build in assignments to help teachers at all levels reflect, identify past and current mentors, and use characteristics of those associations to project mentoring needs for the future. For example, can young teachers construct an “ideal” or “model” mentor profile? Can graduate music education students be guided to reflect upon and list mentors and their contributions as part of a larger study of their teaching practices? Likewise, simply reviewing basic issues (e.g. compatible philosophies, willingness to mentor or be mentored, and sheer “face time” available) may give teachers possible roads to follow in finding professional guides.

 

This presentation will advocate for and outline these and other possible approaches that while novel to some, reinforce several of the “good old fashioned ways” that have served us well in mentoring in music education.