Mentoring Has Long Been Used in Academic Term Paper

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Mentoring has long been used in academic settings and the workplace. Classic mentoring is defined as one-on-one relationship in which an experienced adult who is responsible for providing encouragement and advice to a younger person. Within schools there are particular groups that are referred to as at- risk. These groups include students with special educational needs, minority students, transient student, students that are young care givers, students from dysfunctional homes and teenage mothers. Many studies have revealed a positive correlation between mentorship and academic achievement. This seems to be the case even when the mentorship program does not emphasize academic achievement.

Mentoring has long been used in academic settings and the workplace (Black et al., 2004). In most cases mentoring is a process that benefits both parties and assists in improving conditions in the academic setting or in the workplace. The purpose of this discussion is to examine the role of the mentor in the academic achievement of low-achieving students. The research will focus on History of mentoring, Description of the mentoring process and the relationship between mentoring and student achievement.

The History of Mentoring

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According to Miller (2002) mentoring actually begins naturally with the parent/child relationship. The author explains that there are several types of mentorship that exist. For the purpose of this discussion we will focus on Classic Mentoring and Long-Term mentoring. Classic mentoring is defined as one-on-one relationship in which an experienced adult who is responsible for providing encouragement and advice to a younger person (Miller 2002). The author also explains that Classic mentoring usually takes place within the framework of a mutual interest or hobby, where the adult would act as a role model.

Term Paper on Mentoring Has Long Been Used in Academic Assignment

The author also explains that from a historical perspective the classic model was representative of the relationship between an expert and an apprentice usually in the area and Arts and Crafts. In more modern times the mentor and mentee relationship involves a mentor and protege within the professional setting. In addition to classic mentorship, Long-term relationship mentoring is useful in explaining the manner in which at risk individuals are mentored (Miller 2002). In the long-term mentoring often involves risk taking individuals that have a history of behavior that is viewed as rebellious or seeks to challenge authority (Miller 2002).

As it relates to the specific mentoring of at risk youth, Miller (2002) explains that within schools there are particular groups that are referred to as at- risk. These groups include students with special educational needs, minority students, transient student, students that are young care givers, students from dysfunctional homes and teenage mothers (Miller 2002). The author further states that within the school environment the term at risk is used in many different ways.

For instance, it can be used to describe a student that is at risk of underachievement. In addition, at risk can also be used to describe those students that are at-risk of dropping out of school. The term can also be used to describe those that are at risk of becoming delinquents or those that may be excluded from college (Miller 2002). The author explains that for all of the aforementioned risk factors that are protective factors that can be implemented to ensure that negative outcomes do not occur. One such protective factor is mentoring which can assist at-risk youth by diminishing the risk factors and increasing the protective factors (Miller 2002).

The Mentoring Process

The mentoring process can vary slightly depending on the type of mentoring involved (Black et al., 2004). The mentoring process associated the mentoring of low achieving or at risk students can vary from organization to organization (Black et al., 2004). However there are some general similarities between planned youth mentoring programs. The first similarity lies in the fact that these programs tend to implement mentorship in a manner that is systematic. According to Freedman (1993)

Planned mentoring occurs through structured programs in which an adult and a youth are selected and matched through formal processes. The purpose of the programs is to provide at-risk youth with assistance and guidance to enable them to grow into responsible adults, and to fill the gap created by the diminished opportunity for natural mentoring (Freedman, 1993)."

In addition, Rumberger et al. (2002) reports that there are four primary factors related to the mentoring process: Tutor, Role Model, motivator, sponsor.

The authors also report that many students desire to have mentors because they need or want someone to take them places and to communicate with them. Additionally, Styles and Morrow (1995) found that the "experience of a trusting and consistently supportive relationship with a mentor helped mentees develop more positive and trusting relationships with their parents and peers."

The relationship between mentoring and student Achievement

There has been some research to suggest that mentoring has a positive correlation with academic achievement. For instance, Thompson & Kelly-Vance (2001) conducted a study evaluating the influence of mentoring on the academic achievement of underachieving students associated with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program. The authors explain that this organization was chosen because it is well established; it has rules that have been clearly defined and staff that carefully monitors the mentorship program (Thompson & Kelly-Vance, 2001). According to the Urban Institute, monitoring is an essential component in determining the outcome of mentorship programs ("Candidate Outcome Indicators: Youth Mentoring Program").

Participants for this particular study were recruited over a four-month period. The treatment group for the study was composed of boys who being mentored, and the control group was composed of boys who were accepted into the Big Brother program but did not et have mentors. The author further explains that the 12 participants in the treatment group ranged in age from 9 to 15 with 11 being the average age in the group (Thompson & Kelly-Vance, 2001). The ages of the 13 participants in the control group ranged from 1 to 15 with the average age being 10 (Thompson & Kelly-Vance, 2001). In the treatment group 92% of the participants were Caucasian and 8% were Hispanic (Thompson & Kelly-Vance, 2001). In the control group 77% were Caucasian, 8% were Hispanic and 15% were African-American (Thompson & Kelly-Vance, 2001).

The researchers hypothesized that the treatment group (boys with mentors) would demonstrate greater academic achievement than those in the control group (boys without mentors) (Thompson & Kelly-Vance, 2001). The researchers hypothesized that mentorship would provide treatment group participants with the addition individual attention often needed by low-achieving or at risk youth. In addition, the researchers believed hat mentorship would provide these boys with role models. As such the academic risk often associated with low achievement would be eliminate the academic risk factors and assist the boys in the area of academic achievement (Thompson & Kelly-Vance, 2001).

This study revealed a positive correlation between mentorship and academic achievement. The study revealed the participants in the treatment group performed better than those in the control group as shown by the composite score of the K-TEA Brief Form. The treatment group also had higher math and reading achieved than did the control group.

The authors also point out that the results of this study are intriguing because of the type of mentorship strategy that is used by the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program because there is not a specific emphasis placed on academics.

Their purpose is to provide a one-to-one friendship between a child and an adult volunteer. Big Brothers/Big Sisters does not closely monitor academics except for graduation rate. The friendships are built around a social relationship rather than a tutor or teacher approach. It should be noted that the volunteers could assist with homework but that this is not a focus of the program (Thompson & Kelly-Vance, 2001).

The findings of Thompson & Kelly-Vance, 2001 are consistent with other studies involving the relationship between mentoring in academic achievement. Another study conducted by Rumberger et al. (2002) had some different outcomes. This study involved a school district in Southern California and focused on a four-year academic mentoring program. The study involved the use of two cohorts. The first cohort involved 32 mentees and 30 comparison students and the second cohort consisted of 40 mentees and 26 comparison students (Rumberger et al. 2002). Most of the participants in this study were Hispanic. This study was different from the previous study because this study examined a mentoring program that is designed specifically to improve academic achievement. To conduct this study, researchers focused on several factors including attitudes, aspirations, parental relations, engagement and academic achievement (Rumberger et al. 2002).

As it related to academic achievement, the researchers focused on two measures of academic achievement: test scores and grades. The research results found that the mentored students in the first cohort were more successful academically that the students without mentors by the time 8th grade was completed. On the other hand, the mentored students in the second cohort actually did worse than the students without mentors.

The researchers point out several reasons for the differences between these groups. One factor… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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