Keep Gifted Students Motivated Through Mentoring

One Canadian middle school instituted a successful mentor program that continued for almost ten years. The program was originally brought to the school by two mothers who felt their children would benefit from the added mental stimulation.

In one sample year, 28 students were paired with various professionals, including an architect, a doctor, several writers, a biathlon coach, a municipal counselor, veterinarian, several artists, a theatrical makeup expert, a lawyer, a carpenter, some photographers, an interior designer, computer experts, and a cartoonist. These community members met with the children for two hours each week over an 8-10 week period. At the end of the program, students presented to their classmates. These young people accomplished a variety of tasks under the tutelage of their mentors, including building a ski rack, mastering an architectural drafting program, and working at a veterinary hospital.

The adults in charge of the program expressed surprised that they were able to so readily find community members to volunteer their time to help the students and that the program was very fulfilling both to the mentors and the young people.

Participating students were carefully screened to determine their strong subject interests and willingness to commit to the necessary time.

While this particular program was created at school, parents can also seek out mentors for their children outside of the school setting. Think about the type of person who might support the child’s interest and begin networking through friends and professional acquaintances.

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