NAGE India
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Becoming A Mentor

In our endeavours to identify and nurture the nation’s brightest young minds, we believe mentorship plays a crucial role. Biographies and retrospective studies of adult achievers in any field suggest the importance of a mentor, or series of mentors. NAGE-India visualises a mentor as an agent in exposing the gifted child or adolescent to knowledge in his/her area of interest, hands-on learning experiences to help develop the child’s cognitive structures, as well as guidance to the child as he/she takes on the task of selecting and committing to a career path. In the absence of both an appropriate curriculum and an adult who can provide guidance, many young potential achievers in India refocus their energies or simply lose interest. We need to urgently remedy this scenario.

As a subject-matter expert, you can participate in our mentor network. Though India has a long tradition of mentorship in the arts, particularly in classical music, there is no comparable formal network for young gifted children in maths and science. We view this is an opportunity for us to work out the structures, contents, and media of communication that would be appropriate to children from a range of backgrounds.

What exactly do we expect from a potential mentor? We know that, as active professionals, your time is valuable. We believe it will be beneficial if your interactions with the child are focussed on subject-matter content. We will connect children to mentors based on interest-area. Another consideration will be location: not all of these children have access to internet technology, though we are looking for local organisations to help us connect the children to the internet. Your interaction with the child would then involve a few hours per month, usually at your place of work or another laboratory, or on a field-trip. Alternately, the interaction will occur over the summer vacations.

The specific content and modality of your interactions will be worked out in conjunction with us and the child’s parents and teachers. After that, the NIAS Gifted Education project will mediate the mentor relationship, and act as a go-between for the parents and teachers.

How do you go about becoming a mentor? Get in touch. . We are happy to discuss with you the terms and further details of your mentorship, as well as to answer any queries you may have.

How Do You Select Mentors?

The NIAS Gifted Education project is collaborating with MentorCloud to develop a national network of mentors in diverse fields. We are also recruiting mentors from scientific organisations around India including the Indian Academy of Sciences (IAS) and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc).

Though India has a long tradition of mentorship in the arts, particularly in classical music, there is no comparable formal network for young gifted children in maths and science. We view this is an opportunity for us to work out the structures, contents, and media of communication that would be appropriate to children from a range of backgrounds.

Mentors are either:

  1. subject-matter experts: e.g. scientists, mathematicians
  2. individuals with wide contact networks, including subject-matter experts, educational and child psychologists, and other individuals who can enable the child and his/her family to ensure that the child reaches his/her potential.

We link children with mentors based on shared interest areas, locality, and means of interaction (i.e. not all children may have access to the internet).

Who is a Mentor?

A mentor is an individual who facilitates the development of a child. The emphasis is on the development of a child’s ability, but also includes overall cognitive development as well as the development of the interpersonal and technological skills needed for academic and professional success. As well, a mentor is a nodal point in the child’s contact network: the mentor introduces the child to other people and opportunities that the child may not otherwise have had access to.

Subject-matter expertise is usually the most important quality of a mentor. The focus during mentorship interactions is on exposing the child to content and challenges above the child’s current level.

As the child acquires more knowledge and skills, or as other circumstances arise (e.g. change of interest area, family relocation), the child may move on to a different mentor. Mentor relationships last well into adulthood; some mentor-mentee relationships develop into lifelong bonds.