One of the features of the new curriculum is the use of Cohorts and Mentors. These have been used successfully in many educational settings and our curriculum borrows and builds on those foundations. We want to have all students in a Cohort – at least through a single class they are taking, and it would be best if they could stay with a small cohort for the whole of the Course of Study. This cohort will function in several ways.
- As a study group. They would meet before class and make sure that each of them has been able to complete the pre-class assignments.
- As an accountability group. They would be praying for each other and function as a spiritual growth and accountability group.
- As a classroom team. When teams are formed in the classroom, this group would be the primary team structure. At times though, the teachers will want to mix members of teams so that other perspectives and personal interactions can be experienced.
- As a discussion group. One of the keys to a quality education is the ability to ask questions and discuss issues and ideas with other people. This cohort will give a natural group where these discussions can take place.
- As a coaching / mentoring group for active ministry. Each of the students will be engaged in active ministry as they take classes. Getting feedback, coaching and mentoring is a key to growing in leadership, grace, and personal confidence. Some mentoring or coaching needs to come from long term pastors who can give guidance, but some needs to come from peers who are walking a similar journey and can often more easily identify with the problems and needs.
A second feature is the Coach / Mentor. Each student should have an assigned mentor / coach who will meet with them as they journey through the Course of Study. This person will help them connect to ministry in their local area, guide them through the Nazarene steps toward ordination, provide feedback, coaching and guidance as they progress in ministry. This person should be an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene. For a non-Nazarene who might be taking our Course of Study, this should be an ordained elder from their own group.
It will be part of the enrollment process to make sure the cohorts and coach / mentors are identified. There should be a mechanism at each educational provider to make sure that these structures stay in place and continue to function. A person from the school should be checking on the mentor / coaches and making sure that meetings with the students are happening at least once every three months. Cohorts that have a change in members should be reformed with new members at the next class session.