The September 2013 issue of the NEA Higher Education Advocate contains an interesting section on innovative and effective teaching paradigms, in particular the “Mentor-from-the-Middle” model founded by Erica McWilliams, in order to reach today’s college students. The article provides shocking statistics, such that students’ attention spans during an average lecture last only approximately 10 minutes. When considering that many lectures span 50, 75, or even 150 minutes, one can imagine the importance of utilizing non-traditonal paradigms.

In the Mentor-from-the-Middle model, the instructor is positioned in the middle of the classroom and takes on six roles: facilitator, coach, artist, critical reflector, model, and scholar. The model also involves six phases: information gathering, crystallizing, creating the project, completing the project, skill-making, and evaluating the learning unit. These roles and phases phases are what makes the Mentor-from-the-Middle model distinct and more effective than the traditional lecture method of teaching. The method also emphasizes skills such as shifting perception, piggybacking, brainstorming, glimmer-catching, collaborating, playing, recognizing pattern, using metaphor, and going with the flow. For the entire article, please click here and select the September 2013 issue of the NEA Higher Education Advocate.