What is Inverse Mentoring?

Flipped Teaching and Learning

What is Inverse Mentoring?

If you're like me, you think of "learning," but backwards. And it turns out that's a good place to start because formal learning for at least 150 years has been seen as adult teaching a child in a formal setting such as a school. 

That makes sense as it is parents harvesting the fields who have through practice, trial and error taught their children how to use the hoes to weed and break up the soil. Breaking up the soil is the beginning stage of getting results which is producing crops. And "inverse mentoring" works the same way but now it's the children teaching their parents to produce new crops.

The “hoes” in the digital world start with ctrl + paste which is copying text or other files from one place to another. Quickly the skills become more complex. Logging into a website that requires not only a password but also a security code sent to your phone means that you have to both use a computer and a phone or navigate multiple applications on your phone.

For a generation of people for whom these skills are not second nature, they could use some practice in the field. Fortunately, there is a generation of people for whom these skills are second nature. And that’s where inverse mentoring comes in.

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About the Author

Zachary Brooks, PhD

Zachary Brooks, PhD

Zachary S. Brooks exudes all things “inter.” 


His life and career are “inter-professional.” He has had “lives” as an academic (University of Arizona), 

actor (Hollywood), and an adventurer (25 countries). The thread that runs through these experiences is a desire and ability to communicate across cultures defined by language, culture, and generation. 


His life as an academic embodies “interdisciplinary.” While earning his PhD at the University of Arizona, he took courses in seven colleges and graduated from both the College of Humanities and the College of Science. He has studied and presented and researched in three countries. 


His life also is emblematic of a person committed to communication across cultures. He has lived in five countries where he has picked up four languages and multiple accents and the knowledge to communicate with anyone, anywhere, online (or live in person). 


As a member of the CCLAC Advisory Board, Dr. Brooks has provided strategic vision and tactics for connecting more people to inverse learning. 

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