Mentors speak

“I think [the children] certainly benefited from having their views heard and taken seriously by adults. That seemed to really be quite a new experience for most of the kids.”

“I think it helped to improve their basic reasoning skills.”

“I think the program deepened students understanding and consideration of their fellow students, leading to improved relationships and behaviour.”

“It was also very encouraging to see how much they enjoyed engaging in arguments and working with each other.”

“It was very rewarding to see and participate in the students’ discussions and see them improve over just three weeks.”

“Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this program. It was by far one of the most rewarding things I have ever done and I will look back at my time at Heatherhill with fondness. I hope I can still be involved in future Big Questions endeavours and help the program become even bigger in the coming years and reach out to even more people.”

“It was really uplifting being able to watch the kids develop their confidence and critical thinking skills over the course of semester. We developed really special bonds with our group and it has definitely inspired me to consider teaching in the future.”

“It was really really fun and really validating to have a positive effect on children… I really felt that we were making a difference in their lives.”

Mentors’ perceptions of the program’s impact on students:
Perceived impact on the students

What did you gain professionally from the experience of mentoring?

“Clearer communication skills, being able to be flexible enough to accommodate challenges and needs as they arise… [and] patience!”

“The program helped validate my decision to study teaching. I now know that I really want to teach (hopefully teach some philosophy too!)”

“The program has provided me with some development of the skills that are needed to be a great teacher.”

“Skills to behaviourally manage a class of children, clearer communication skills (with kids), group facilitation skills.”

“A deeper understanding of educational disadvantage and generational poverty at the primary school level.”

What did you gain personally from the experience of mentoring?

“I do feel more confident about my ability to facilitate a potentially difficult conversation and I think my own listening and comprehension skills improved by attempting to interpret accurately what the children were trying to say.”

“It has improved my communication skills… This experience has also given me insight into the way that philosophy can help children think and analyse issues and arguments beyond what they are asked to do in the primary school curriculum.”

“A much better understanding of young children’s learning… I gained a significant insight into the different ways kids learn and the obstacles existing in classrooms in disadvantaged schools.”

I’m glad that I’ve been exposed to the idea of philosophy for children and it has really opened up new ways of thinking about the discipline and its role outside of universities. Seeing kids engage … warms the cockles of my heart.”

Mentors’ perceptions of how being a mentor has affected them:
How being a mentor has affected me

Download an overview of mentor feedback (2014). Or for further information about the impact of the program, download the complete 2014 evaluation report.