Past-Paperless Mentoring

For many of us a paperless world is in sight. I’m not talking about preserving forests, not directly anyway. We all agree that is important. I’m referring to exam papers (of which there are many). I’d argue that all of us who have anything to do with Oppidan are interested in lessons being about learning, not solely about past exam papers. 

As teachers and mentors, we’re all aware of the duty we have towards young people and families to help them achieve their ambitions. Exams often open the door to these ambitions. So how do we do this without draining the life out of learning? How to keep young people eager upright, rather than stooping ashen-faced under stacks of papers? 

It’s been a real joy to arrive at mentoring sessions this year with a bag full of books, articles and links to Ted Talks. A lesson involved examining a range of different History texts (think The Story of Art vs extracts from The Magna Carta) and trying to come closer to answering the question: ‘What is History?’ From here we built-up to thinking about different types of history and the questions of why and how History is re-written. We incorporated examples from the course taught at school and my mentee was surprised to realise how much he knew. Only afterwards did we look at the exam question which asked whether or not it is a problem that History is constantly being rewritten. 

This all had me thinking that perhaps we need to learn more freely first to equip young people to tackle exam questions later. 

Written by Digby Don, Oppidan Mentor

To view Digby’s mentoring profile click here.