Tuesday, February 01, 2022

Adopt the Tutor/Mentor Connection

Over the past six months the monthly visit count on this blog has averaged over 8600. Prior to that visit count had usually been less than 500.  I'm not sure what is driving this growth, but I hope it is people from colleges and k-12 schools across America, and the world who are looking for on-line learning activities. 

Well, I've been sharing such an activity for more than 20 years. Maybe desperation will be the fuel for inspiration.

On-line learning
Below is an invitation I wrote in 2016.  As you read this (I hope) think of how students can work individually, or in teams, to learn what the Tutor/Mentor Connection/Institute has been trying to do since 1993. 

What am I talking about?
This blog was started in 2006 by Michael Tam, an intern from Hong Kong. Browse articles posted since then and meet all the different interns who have spent time at a computer, learning about the Tutor/Mentor Connection/Institute, then sharing what they are learning through videos, animations, visualizations and/or blog articles. 

Follow the links in many articles to the group on the Tutor/Mentor Connection Ning site to see how I've coached interns since the late 2000s. 

Imagine your students doing this research and communications. Imagine a page on your web site sharing what they learn. Imagine you hosting ZOOM conversations where students and community members talk about what they are learning, like I did last week with students from Roosevelt  University.  Covid19 has highlighted the poverty and inequality in our country and in the world. 

Will we just talk about it, or will you create a student learning activity that creates current and future leaders, who map where the problem is, who is working to solve it, then creates on-going, student-generated, public education that draws more needed resources into each of these areas?

So here's what I wrote in 2016:

Here's a graphic that I created a few months ago in preparation for a meeting with some students and faculty at DePaul University in Chicago.

From top to bottom it illustrates a vision of creating youth serving organizations that help urban youth move more safely and successfully through school and into jobs and careers. It compares the planning to that involved in building tall sky-scrapers, where many talents are needed, much financing is needed, and where you work from the foundation to the top floor over a period of years.

The map in the middle illustrates that there are colleges and universities in different parts of Chicago (or other cities) who are full of student, faculty and alumni talent, and serve as anchor organizations able to support the growth of long-term tutor/mentor programs in the area surrounding their universities.

The last two graphics illustrate that while it takes daily effort by many people to build and sustain one, or many, youth serving organizations, this is just one issue that people are concerned with on a daily basis.,

Thus, part of the role of student teams on universities is to mobilize leaders who will focus their talent and resources on the youth development slide of the pie, while also connecting, sharing and drawing ideas from groups working on other problems, in other places.

Universities are critically important in this process because as we move through 2016 and into future years, there still is no body of knowledge that everyone draws from to build and sustain youth serving programs in high poverty areas that last for 10-30 years and show on their web sites the impact they have had over that many years.  Imagine if there were no thousand-year history supporting architecture, engineering and the building trades, but that anyone who wanted to build a building, first had to figure out what talent was needed, and then had to build training programs so the talent had the skills needed to build the building. Imagine them doing this while also trying to find the funding needed to develop the talent, and spread it to all the places where tutor/mentor "buildings" were needed.

I've created a huge library of ideas and information, with links to over 2000 other web sites, who each link to many thousand of additional web sites.  Working through this information will take years of study. Universities could make this a degree-earning process and provide manpower to support organization growth at the same time. Below is a presentation that outlines my goal. If you're connected to a university, or looking to put your name on a building at your alma mater, I hope you'll make this your mission.

I've written more than 1000 articles on the Tutor/Mentor blog since 2005, and tagged most of them so you can view multiple articles focused on a similar idea.  

--- end 2016 article ---

universities in Chicago
At the right is a map of Chicago, showing poverty areas, and university locations, created in 2008 by Mike Traken, who worked at the T/MC for 3 years (until the money ran out).  My goal since starting the T/MC in 1993 was that universities in every part of the city would have T/MC strategies, focusing on the area surrounding their university.  See Mike's map & article here.

Furthermore, my vision was that these universities would actually connect and share ideas and what they were learning, so each could have a growing impact on helping end poverty in the region.  

I've posted 78 articles on the Tutor/Mentor blog since 2005, focusing on universities and roles they might take.  On this wiki page I outline my vision for university partnerships.  Since every big city in the world has pockets of concentrated poverty, and universities, my invitation extends to the world. 

It's 2022 and that's still my hope.

Enjoy your reading. I'll look forward to hearing from you.

PS:  I talked with Michael Tam on Facebook in 2020. He's living in Hong Kong and serves as a curriculum development officer in the education bureau of the government. This is an example of the long-term connections I seek to foster.

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