Today would be a practical session. The first part of the session would deal with Role models, whilst the second part of the session would require the students to act out a role play. My only worry about this session was that some of the students might not enjoy themselves, as it would require them to physically take part in a role play. This would cause some problem in terms of fear, nerves and panic amongst some of the shy and self conscious students.
However, this is a barrier the students would have to learn to overcome. Confidence is gained by taking small steps and being encouraged in an appropriate environment. I was hoping the small mentoring group and a couple of mentors on standby to help would put them at ease. Also the fact that it wasn’t an assessment and the activity was about learning and having fun at the same would soften the blow.
I wasn’t too concerned about the role model exercise. The students had improved considerably when it came to making presentations. Presentation skills were something we had been working on, with the students, since the first session. Some of the students were still rather shy, but managed to stand up with their group and say a few words.
As usual we started off with a few minutes of deep breathing exercises to focus the students. It seemed to me that working in such a small focused group, made the students more hyper and excited. Especially because they knew that they could have the undivided attention of at least one co-mentor.
The role model activity would be a simple activity which the students could participate in. Since the Internet and social networking sites are widely used, I assumed that the students would have a role model or two, who they looked up to or aspired to be like.
Unfortunately this was not the case. The students could not name one person, who they could refer to as a role model for themselves. There was no one with appropriate substance, whom they looked up to or admired. One student mentioned a rapper and said he is really cool, because he wears chunky jewellery and makes loud music videos which look fun. I was not hopeful at all, for how the rest of the activity would run its course!!
I set the students some question regarding role models, so that they could brainstorm ideas.
- What is a role model
- Who is a role model
- Why are they a role model?
- What makes a good role model
- What makes a bad role model?
- What are the good/positive characteristics of a role model?
- What are the bad/negative characteristics of a role model?
- Would you like to be a role model and how would you achieve this? For what reason would you want people to admire you, aspire to be like you?
I asked the students to discuss and put their ideas onto paper, so that they could present it to the rest of the group. I gave them 20 minutes to do this activity.
It took a lot of prompting and initiating discussions from the mentors, to get the students started. However, the students did really well at this activity. I was very proud of them. They were able to recognise that role model or not, if you were not a genuine or nice person with good habits, it was unlikely that people would want to consider them as role models. The students pointed out that these were characteristics that they would look for in any person, such as a friend, parent, family members and even teachers.
I was very impressed with this, because even though we usually associate role models with famous people in the public eye, the truth is that someone who you connect with on a daily basis can also be a role model if they have the good characteristics that you aspire to have for yourselves. For example for many people, a teacher they have encountered in junior school or high school could be their very first role model because they formed a bond with them.
The most popular positive/good characteristics of a role model were –
- Positive attitude
The most popular bad/negative characteristics of a role model were –
- Over confident
- Proud/Big headed
- No sense of responsibility or morals
The students choice of role models were –
- Religious figures – Prophets/Guru’s
- Bill Gates
- Muhammad Ali
At this stage in their lives, the students couldn’t fathom the idea of being role models themselves and in what context they would want to be seen as role models. However, what they all agreed on was that they wanted to work hard and be good humans! This is something that all humans should aspire towards and I was very proud of the students for recognising this. This activity proved that the students were more self-aware then they or anyone else gave them credit for. They just needed to be made aware of their knowledge and potential. I am so glad that I am in a position where I can encourage the students to think beyond the basic academics and expand their learning to include creative life skills. And it is not just the students who learn from these mentoring sessions. We as mentors can learn so much from the students and their individual creative questioning and thinking process. Learning should be a lifelong process, for when you have nothing left to learn, the landscape becomes cold, barren and stagnant.
Now time to move onto the role play activity. I caught the look on a few on the student’s faces. Fear and embarrassment flooded them. A group of four boys insisted that they could not do this activity and could they do something else. I asked the boys if they had anything in mind, because they would have to participate in the activity but we may be able to modify it a little bit. After some discussion with the boys, we came to the agreement that the boys would draw out their scenario and present it to the group, rather than acting it out. However they would still need to stand up at the front of the class to present their drawings.
This activity was based on the ‘whose wallet’ scenario. Before giving each group a scenario, we asked the whole group what they would do if they found a wallet in real life. The group was divided between leaving the wallet where it was, handing it in to the police and taking it!
The students were given their scenarios and instructions. They were to act out the scenario without using words that would give away who the wallet belonged to.
I don’t know why I was so worried! The students performed brilliantly and their acting skills even without using words totally amazed us! Watching the students act out the scenarios was really rewarding for us mentors, as it showed how much confidence the students had gained over the past few weeks. The group of girls who didn’t even want to sit next to a boy, actually worked and performed so well with the boys. They looked so comfortable and it seemed that they were working very hard to break down that barrier that was hindering their progress.
The group of four boys did very well to showcase their drawing skills! The rest of the students discussed the drawing and what it could mean. Two boys from this group then did a spot of acting to help the rest of the group guess what their scenario was! It just goes to show that a supportive and safe environment can provide the much needed encouragement. We were all glad that the boys found the courage to try a spot of acting and succeeded!
There was a lot of banter going on when it came to guessing what the different scenarios were. But we got there in the end and after finding out the full stories behind the ‘whose wallet’, every student came to the conclusion that they would either hand the wallet in to the police station or they would leave it were it was, because one day if they happened to lose their wallet or have it stolen, they would want the finder to return their wallet fully intact! The morale of the story….do unto others what you would want done for you!
All in all an enjoyable session, where mentee and mentors learned from each other!
Session 4 Mentoring Programme Plan
This session will be split into two. In the first half of the session we will look at and discuss role models. In the second half of the session we will look at Self awareness, choice and consequence (part 2). This will be explored using role play methods. We will look at the Whose Wallet scenario and deduce from that the impact of one’s actions on another person. Previously when we looked at this topic we looked at how the student’s actions and choice would impact on their lives and the consequences of that.
Activity 1 – Role Models (Self Efficacy) pg 12 – (15mins)
Activity 2 – Role Play – Step 1 and Step 3 (pg 19 and 21) – split into 4 groups. (35mins) Students will have to enact the scenario while the other groups try to guess what the scenario is about.
Resources – flip chart paper, marker pens, colour felt tip pens