Mentor Tip: Self-Determination

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Subject: Mentoring tip on self-determination

One of the goals of our e-mentoring community is to help participants become self-determined. Self-determination is "a combination of skills, knowledge, and beliefs that enable a person to engage in goal-directed, self-regulated, autonomous behavior. An understanding of one's strengths and limitations together with a belief in oneself as capable and effective are essential to self-determination. When acting on the basis of these skills and attitudes, individuals have greater ability to take control of their lives and assume the role of successful adults" (Field, Martin, Miller, Ward, & Wehmeyer, 1998, p. 2).

Gaining control of one's life involves learning and then successfully applying self-determination skills. Becoming more self-determined is a gradual, lifelong process. However, adolescence is a critical time to develop these skills. As you communicate with protégés in our electronic mentoring community, think about how your input can move them along the path of self-determination.