Lokalex has built a rich repository of resources in the form of videos and Pdfs which can be used for our Mentoring Program. Both Mentors and stdents can log in to access our resources. Here is a brief note on our Mentoring Program.
Our Vision for the Mentoring program is to provide children (ages 5-16) an environment necessary to develop well rounded personalities with survival skills that enable them to lead a life with a strong set of values that drive them, Secondly, that some among them will blossom into leaders who will actively participate to make the world a better place to live in for future generations.
It is important to state that we do not want to be a ‘tutoring’ center that will augment what the school system is trying to do – namely produce automatons who can fit well into the job market, who will do what they are told to do without a system of values to guide them in their lives, without knowing anything about the world outside of their own and without an ability to think for themselves to solve problems that they or their fellow citizens may face.
Towards this vision, we would like mentors to help children by facilitating the following:
Engagement to serve as role models, improve confidence and self esteem
Most children require an adult role model to follow. In most cases, parents play this role and other adults who maybe relatives, friends, contacts. Interacting with all these people opens a bigger world and provides many inputs to children. However, these children do not have that luxury as most parents are either wage laborers or work long hours in their own farms. Very often the father is an alcoholic and the parents do not have the competence or literacy to provide the answers to many of the questions. Children also need appreciation, encouragement and constant attention.
Understanding the power of information and modern methods to retrieve it.
The world of these children is very small and their sources of information are very dubious. Mostly, apart from the limited extent of their immediate surroundings of home, school and village environment, the only source is TV, its advertisements and soap operas. They should be exposed to new and enriching information and be taught ways of finding out information for themselves.
Exposure to idea of individual identity, self-awareness
These children are almost never exposed to information that they need about or for their survival, good health, habits, their strengths and weaknesses, ability to cope with situations, overcoming gender bias, rational approach, good touch/bad touch, substance abuse and so on.
Developing problem solving abilities, finding joy in discovering and learning to learn
The innate talent and ability of children to solve problems and discover and learn for themselves are killed by the school system of classroom style information download. The very structure of a pedestal from where the teacher ‘teaches’ and the children are down below, very often sitting on the floor makes the children go into a passive recipient mode. Further, questions particularly tangential ones are completely discouraged and an emphasis is laid on focusing on the syllabus, accepting what is given in the text books and what the teacher says, concentrating on getting good grades and eventually getting a good job. This aspect is too well entrenched to attempt to change it but it can be ‘subverted’ by post school activities.
Discussion on ethics, morals, values, society
Older children are neither taught explicitly nor internalize and learn from their parents, elders, peers, books and on their own, any inter personal relations based on sound humanitarian principles. Religious practices are reduced to rituals, respect and human considerations are very symbolic and empty talk. While one cannot change the basic influence that the society, and the milieu where they grow, has on the children they can and should be exposed to new ways of thinking about and interacting with their fellow human beings and cherish good values from their own cultures and imbibe new values from other environments.
Ensuring good academic performance
It is important that we ensure a good academic performance without actually emphasising it. For most children academic challenges of performing reasonably well should easily accomplished. It is their lack of self-esteem and stress caused due to several factors that leads to poor performance. The success of our mentor-ship program along the lines suggested above is to see whether it leads to a reasonably good academic performance. Hence monitoring of academic program and occasionally helping them along without any full-fledged tutoring is important.