Whenever I think of mentoring twice-exceptional students, cooking comes to mind. Admittedly, I’m not much of a cook, but I do like to eat! Cooking is a true art form because it’s always fluctuating. A recipe may be consistent, but the process is never constant. Many factors shape the experience: the cook, the kitchen, preparation, presentation, ingredients, and the emotional and physical state of the consumer, among others.
Supporting 2e students is similar. Though professionals and parents may be consistent, things never stay constant, the menu changes, and appetites differ. There are core ingredients, however. Mentoring is like salt that helps bring out the natural flavor.
This article will focus on how to judiciously apply that mentoring salt to three essential nutrient groups: Safety, Inspiration, and Talent Development.
As every cook knows, safety first.
Many 2e kids have learned to shrink and blend in to hide their exceptionalities. They’ve been burned so many times that they become conditioned to locking down and resisting exposure and vulnerability. Mentors can help students feel safe. When we look at Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, we’re reminded that safety is the second most basic need after our physiological requirements. Students need to know that a mentor will create a safe space for them and that they will be protected.
Good mentors make sure students feel safe participating. Great mentors ensure that students feel safe failing! John Dewey once wrote, "Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes." In my own experience, this is the greatest way a mentor can empower his students: by teaching them how to fail and r...
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