This week during mentoring we played a simple math game with the younger students. Many of the Olympians found it difficult to keep the Ladybugs and Bumblebees on track once they had played the game a few times through, and they ran into issues of younger students getting upset when they lost or having disagreements with their classmates when game play slowed down. Afterward, we reflected on ways to help younger kids solve these problems. Student suggestions included:
1) Make the game harder by adding another game board to extend the numbers. Help the younger students add or subtract the bigger numbers by counting. One mentor even started teaching his mentee to multiply.
2) Remind them to take a deep breath to calm down (a skill we have learned in mindfulness).
3) Listen carefully to what they are saying and help them take turns talking to each other to work through disagreements.
4) Use gentle reminders to help keep them on track.
5) Make sure to let them do things for themselves and do not do things for them. When they need help, give hints instead of telling them exactly what to do.
There are many benefits of mentoring, but some of the most highly touted are improved communication and interpersonal skills, development of leadership and management qualities, reinforcement of individual academic skills, and improved engagement and motivation.
These certainly seem to be in play here!