Elaine Jardon is a Secondary Language Arts Teacher at USD 501, Topeka Public Schools in Topeka, Kansas, where she teaches 9th- and 11th-grade English, helping English Language Learners and striving readers using inquiry-based methods, incorporating new technologies and any tools and resources she can use to enrich the learning experience for her students. One such tool is the help from mentors provided by the International Telementor Program. What has been her thinking when it comes to this approach is what we asked her about in this brief interview:
What is your vision for using mentors with this content?
Elaine: My students do not have experience with analyzing literary criticism, so we are lucky to have mentors who will be able to provide the one-on-one support that students need. Also, the novel is controversial, and I would like the students to be exposed to a variety of viewpoints.
What are your expectations regarding skill development for your students?
Elaine: I expect that they will improve their written communication skills as well as their ability to analyze, synthesize, and research.
In your view, what do the mentors get out of this?
Elaine: They are going to get to meet some great youth! I am fortunate to get to experience the energy and passion that young people generate every day, and the mentors who participate will get to experience that as well. They may also get a deeper understanding of a classic American novel.