1st Edition

Critical Mentoring A Practical Guide

By Torie Weiston-Serdan Copyright 2017
    136 Pages
    by Routledge

    136 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book introduces the concept of critical mentoring, presenting its theoretical and empirical foundations, and providing telling examples of what it looks like in practice, and what it can achieve. At this juncture when the demographics of our schools and colleges are rapidly changing, critical mentoring provides mentors with a new and essential transformational practice that challenges deficit-based notions of protégés, questions their forced adaptation to dominant ideology, counters the marginalization and minoritization of young people of color, and endows them with voice, power and choice to achieve in society while validating their culture and values.Critical mentoring places youth at the center of the process, challenging norms of adult and institutional authority and notions of saviorism to create collaborative partnerships with youth and communities that recognize there are multiple sources of expertise and knowledge. Torie Weiston-Serdan outlines the underlying foundations of critical race theory, cultural competence and intersectionality, describes how collaborative mentoring works in practice in terms of dispositions and structures, and addresses the implications of rethinking about the purposes and delivery of mentoring services, both for mentors themselves and the organizations for which they work. Each chapter ends with a set of salient questions to ask and key actions to take. These are meant to move the reader from thought to action and provide a basis for discussion.This book offers strategies that are immediately applicable and will create a process that is participatory, emancipatory and transformative.

    Foreword--Bernadette Sánchez Acknowledgments Introduction 1. The Act of Clearing the Air and Purifying the Water 2. Youth Centrism 3. Culturally Relevant Mentoring Practices 4. The Intersectionality of Mentoring 5. Collecting Community-Centered and Culturally Relevant Data 6. A Collective Call to Action Suggested Readings References Index


    Torie Weiston-Serdan is a scholar and practitioner with over eleven years of teaching and youth programming experience. She received her Ph.D. in Education from the Claremont Graduate University and has dedicated her life and career to teaching and mentoring young people in her community. As a scholar, Torie examines how marginalized and minoritized youth are served by mentoring and youth development programs. She also founded the Youth Mentoring Action Network, a burgeoning non-profit in Southern California. Bernadette Sánchez

    "Critical Mentoring offers an unwavering and accessible answer to the age-old question: What constitutes the status quo? It brings contemporary struggles within youth mentoring work to full resolution. This book deconstructs the ways in which the social algorithm of mentoring has historically materialized into deficit lenses of Black youth and other dehumanized populations. Torie Weiston-Serdan's trove of wisdom is imperative for educators who believe that justice can only be achieved by continual self-reflection and courageous interrogation of current practices. Dr. Weiston-Serdan's exhaustively researched work provides a much needed and foundational service to scholar-activists, education policy makers, and practitioners alike."

    Arash Daneshzadeh, Associate Director

    Urban Strategies Council

    "Critical Mentoring is a savory blend of theories, thoughtful concepts, and evidence. Perhaps its practical utility is the book’s most praiseworthy feature. Readers learn not only what this unique brand of mentoring is, but also how to more effectively develop and support youth, particularly those who are often pushed to the margins."

    Shaun R. Harper, Professor and Executive Director

    University of Pennsylvania Center for the Study of Race & Equity in Education

    "This is a brilliant book. It is also an extremely useful one. Torie Weiston-Serdan has accomplished the great achievement of writing something that is immediately accessible, deeply thoughtful and theoretically-engaged, and of practical use to all those engaged in youth mentoring. It is also beautifully written. Critical Mentoring has the potential to change the paradigms of practice in the field."

    Viv Ellis, School of Education, Communication and Society

    King's College London

    “Sustained by extensive theoretical and practice-based research, Critical Mentoring: A Practical Guide equips the reader with effective strategies to provide youth development programs with tools necessary for Critical Mentoring and Critical Consciousness. While the foundations of oppression are deeply seated in contemporary society, Weiston-Serdan presents an avenue along which, mentors, protégés, and their respective communities can bring to light crucial issues and stride toward a new paradigm.”

    Mentoring & Coaching Monthly

    “Dr. Torie Weiston-Serdan is pushing the boundaries in the youth mentoring field by introducing the idea of critical mentoring. What is so inspiring about Torie’s work is that she walks the talk. She lives and breathes critical mentoring. For example, as she got to know one of her protégés, he expressed the need for mentors to learn how to work with LGBTQQ youth. So the protégé and Torie co-developed and co-facilitated a training curriculum for mentors working with this population. She talks about her own learning experience when working with her protégé. It’s a two-way street, and the youth in her organization are front and center as they are partners and collaborators in the work that they do. Torie talks about putting her own assumptions and agenda aside, albeit sometimes difficult, to ensure that her organization’s work is relevant to the youth they serve.

    Focusing only on the mentor-youth relationship and interactions is obviously not enough. Some may say that this isn’t the role of the youth mentoring field. I say it is. Critical mentoring challenges our field to question the status quo, to counter the negative and dehumanizing narratives about youth who are placed at the margins in our society, and to address the structural inequities they face. How can we empower program staff, mentors and youth to face these problems head on, to question these ideologies and perspectives, develop ideas about how to create social change, and then take action? Critical mentoring is the first step towards this change.”

    from the Foreword by Bernadette Sánchez, Professor of Community Psychology, and Director, Community Program

    DePaul University