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Mentoring as a support for young people encompasses the necessary guidance characteristics that promote healthy psychological development (Spencer, Jordan, & Sazama, 2004).
Mentoring endures a unique set of barriers. These barriers pose a specific challenge around relationship satisfaction and commitment for the mentors and mentees. Ultimately leading to high mentor turnover, low relationship satisfaction, and low commitment.
Mentoring in Schools
Specifically school based mentoring compared to community based mentoring has a higher number of available mentors, which would extend the duration of the relationship (Karcher, 2008).
The school context could serve as a foundation for structured and engaging mentoring programming due to the nature of the academic environment possessing many of the necessary processing that would facilitate successful mentoring.
In further examining mentoring and mentoring relationships, programming quality has been effected by training and supervision of mentors and how mentors view their effectiveness with mentees (Karcher et al., 2005).
Commitment is a construct that has implications for mentoring relationship satisfaction within the school context exclusively (Poteat, Shockley, & Allen, 2009).
Mentees and mentors report most relationship satisfaction when commitment was mutually high.
Overcoming School Barriers
Teacher social support was associated with increased school satisfaction and student self-efficacy, which explains the positive effects that social support has on psychological needs for competence, relatedness, and autonomy (Poteat et al., 2009).
In an educational setting, the mentor may have multiple mentees and may be limited by time allocation thusly they would benefit from mentees being highly active in the relationship bolstering the mentor ego and self-efficacy (Poteat et al., 2009).
Implications of Bronfenbrenner’s Model
Commitment to students by effectively communicating between contexts a very important feature in building resilience through mentoring and linking the microsystem and mesosystem.
By effectively communicating and showing a commitment to the mentee, the mesosytem is strengthened which increases the mentees likelihood for success (Broussard, Mosley-Howard, & Roychoudhury, 2006).
To address potential barriers mentors will role-play within a group of mentors and supervisors. This role-playing will consist of real time practice of mentoring scenarios and feedback from the supervisors and group members.
individual monitoring would be provided for one-on-one development.
Preparation for meeting a new mentee would be intake-like discussing basic interest and expectations of both parties.
“ Who Am I” exercise to express what roles they play within the contexts of home, community, and school also contain a portion that asks to state one goal with each other that could be achieved in each setting.
Mentors and mentees would have a supervisor contact person for concerns in between meetings and feedback sessions.
A written agreement between the two will be made upon the types of activities, times, duration, and frequency of meetings.
The plans would continue through a mentor diary of activities, meetings, issues, concerns, and areas to discuss in individual and group sessions.
A progress evaluation would be given to mentee/protégés to generally assess the relationship satisfaction and commitment using a 5-point Likert scale.
Ongoing support and supervision of mentors.
Encourage and empower mentors to seek the necessary help they may need.
Provided continuous training necessary to keep mentors engaged and empowered
Build skills and improve
Surprisingly, mentors that underestimated their commitment yielded a more humble characteristic that protégés/mentees found more desirable and translated to relationship satisfaction.
Limitations in research are still very present regarding the factor of commitment within the mentoring relationship literature because of it newness.
A study on school-related social support resulted in a modest relationship between school satisfaction and life satisfaction despite the hypothesized importance of the school context (Danielsen et al., 2009).
Mentoring Adolescent Boys
Adolescence is a period in life “characterized by the confusion and uncertainty of not knowing exactly what their role expectations are during this period of transition from childhood to adulthood” (Zembar & Blume, 2009, p. 408)
Changes during this time include:
Adolescents desire to create a new identity, one that this very different from how their parents view them.
Boys are socialized to believe and fulfill the following characteristics of manhood:
Restriction of Emotional Expressiveness
The Denial of Vulnerability
Emphasis on Self-Reliance and Achievement
Avoidance of anything associated with femininity (Spencer, 2009)
Boys who play their expected role have the potential to experience the following as adult men:
Less emotionally expressive with the exception of expressing anger
Distanced from their own emotional lives
Poorer psychological functioning (Spencer, 2007)
Boys who don’t act accordingly will be harassed, teased and made to feel as if something is wrong with them!
So to guard against shame, many boys develop a coat of armor to protect themselves against ridicule and humiliation. (Mortola et al., 2008)
IT’S A LOSE-LOSE SITUATION
“ Mentoring relationships, such connections between boys and men may hold the potential to mitigate some of the negative effects of socialization toward conventional masculine gender roles norms” (Spencer, 2007, p. 186).
Despite the desire to do well and positively influence their mentees, some mentors may unintentionally, do more harm than good if they interact with their mentee with a negative male socialization mindset.
The intervention that I intend to use will focus on preparing the mentor to engage in a mentoring relationship with an adolescent male.
Each potential mentor will have to participate in five mentoring training sessions. Each session will be 45 minutes and will cover topics such as:
Time’s Yours: (Scheduling time to focus solely on the needs of the mentee)
I Got That Feeling: (There are more feelings than anger)
Swing and a Miss: (How to respond when your mentee expresses that he can’t do something)
Clark Kent or Superman: (Letting your mentee know that we sometimes fall short but when that happens we should seek support)
Celebration Time… C’mon!: (Keeping the encouragement up)
Benefits & Limitations
Mentors may have a strong desire to assist a young male but due to the way he was socialized it maybe difficult for him change the way he thinks about being a male and reinforce the negative view of manhood
Mentors who participate in the workshops will have a understanding of how to encourage, support and explain to young males
Mentors will be challenged to explore their own beliefs regarding the socialization of boys
Developmental Issues for Girls
During adolescences girls are experiencing emotional, cognitive, physical and psychosocial changes. This transitional period is marked by an:
increase in peer pressure
Struggles with self esteem
Seek opportunities for independence
Concern about present and future
To add to the confusion girls also are bombarded with messages about gender roles, sex scripts and gender expectations.
These messages come from family, community, peers, religion and the media.
These messages can be conflicting and confusing to adolescent girls.
Can Mentoring Help Girls?
Mentoring has been proven to enhance many aspects of youth development including interpersonal relationships and the conception of self (Maldonado et al, 2008).
Due to the emotional needs and historic experiences of women, gender specific mentoring that is intentional and compensatory is successful (Rhodes et al, 2008).
The Role of Gender Mentoring
Research has found that same sex mentoring relationships are important and beneficial. Rhodes et al. (2008)
Girls often want more social and emotional connections to their mentors than boys.
There are also differences in the ways that male and females mentor.
Female mentors have a more psychosocial approach to mentoring.
What Do Female Mentors Need? Self Efficacy
As a mentor it is important to feel that you are making a difference (Denner 2005, Gehrke et al. 2006, Karcher et al 2005, Maldonadoa et. al, 2008 and Rhodes et al,2008). 2006).
Females tend to mentor for personal gratification, wanting to make a difference and positively contribute to society (Gehrke et al. 2006)
Mentors… Did you know?
There is a greater correlation between a mentors feeling of self-efficacy and the success of the mentoring relationship than the risk of the mentee. (Karcher et. al 2005).
Mentor and Mentee Match
When matching mentors and mentees it is important to consider personalities, special interests. Karcher et al. (2005) also believes that one of the keys to mentoring success include continued mentor support, supervision and training.
Learn how to surf the web together.
Skype and iChat can be used for one on one conversation
Cell phones for phone calls and texting
Magazines can be used to open up dialogue about fashion, beauty, body images and special interest
Books or poetry can be used to encourage literacy and facilitate conversation
Mentoring using Media and Technology
Intervention Ideas Cont’d
Music can be used to learn about each others interests
Follow a TV show
Use “how to” CDs to learn a new language
Create a blog
Take pictures/ scrapbooking
Watch Youtube to learn how to do something new .
Media & Technology Conversation Starters
What’s happening in your community today?
If you could make a movie, what would it be about? Who would be in it?
You are going to be alone on a deserted island and you get to take one book/DVD/CD. What would you take?
If you were writing a newspaper article about your day, what would the headline be?
What movie character would you want to be? In the movie or series about your life, what actor would play you? Why?
Who taught you how to use (insert tech device) ?
Limitations A major limitation to this intervention is the availability and access to these items, specifically for economically disadvantage youth. However some of these item can be acquired in schools, libraries and bookstores!
boundaries and expectations
constructive use of time
commitment to learning
Every individual experiences different positive development assets and for the mentees, a positive mentor can influence these assets.
According to DuBois and Silverthorn (2005), natural mentoring has been proven to foster positive outcomes in adolescent youth regarding: education/work, problem behavior, psychological well-being, and physical health.
Natural mentors can take the form of teachers, coaches, extended family, or adult friends.
Mentoring Moving Forward
Too many times youth-mentor relationships are terminated prematurely and this termination can cause many negative effects for the youth.
It is extremely beneficial to have on-going training for mentors to have successful youth-mentor relationships concerning efficacy and retention.
Additionally, another important factor for an effective relationship is a long duration of the mentor-mentee relationship.
Mentoring in Sports
Youth athletes can benefit from sport’s practice regarding social and educational influence – based primarily on the rules and norms of the sport’s experience and team spirit.
According to Rutten, Stams, Biesta, Schuengel, Dirks, and Hoeksma (2007), antisocial behaviors in athletes promote aggressive behaviors and perceptions. Competition can promote anti-social behavior in athletes and the athlete’s negative behaviors can inhibit positive youth development.
Coaches as Mentors
Having an effective relationship with the coach may encourage the athletes to develop a more prosocial behavior on and off of the sporting field.
“ Equipping the coach with the skills to maintain good relationships with the athletes should be the primary target in the curriculum of any coach training institute and an important aim for sports clubs that want to take responsibility for the educational needs of their young athletes.” (Rutten et al. 2008, p. 384).
Athletes respond better to the coach’s style of positive reinforcement and technical instruction behaviors rather than the coach’s style of punishment and controlling behaviors.
According to Fraser-Thomas et al (2005), school dropouts perceived their coaches as controlling, less encouraging, and unsupportive.
Athletes perceived coaches who allow them to make their own choices and decisions as better mentors.
The model talks about the social interactions between the child and others to encourage positive adolescent development.
Mentoring affects a child’s microsystem involving interactions with their immediate family
Mesosystem involving interactions with peers, sport’s teams, and coaches
Exosystem with regard to the collegiate and professional athletes as role models
Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Model
According to Rhodes (2008), school-based mentoring programs are shortened to nine months due to the school year and the positive effects of mentoring that initially took place faded as the new school year approached.
I recommend coaches meet with mentees once a month over the summer months to keep the relationship open
The school counselor will encourage the coaches to invite collegiate athletes to speak at the meetings as positive role models to the mentees
Additionally, there will be an open forum where mentors and mentees can discuss goals that are and are not being met
I recommend that the school counselors meet with the coaches monthly during the school year for a period of one hour
The counselors will present a lesson based on mentoring the coaches with the constructive progression of the mentor-mentee relationship
Mentors creating relationships where mentees will seek support from mentors
Helping the mentors become and remain others-centered
Mentoring increases the personal and academic achievement of adolescents, thereby increasing positive youth development.
Encouraging a positive mentor-mentee relationship with the mentors/coaches will increase the duration of the relationship.
The social and educational behaviors of youth athletes will be positively increased due to the nurturing relationships with the mentors.
Coaches or students not being able to meet over the summer or during the school year
The school counselor not being able to secure a collegiate athlete to speak as a role model
Making plans very early, getting a commitment and having the school counselor serve as a facilitator can address these limitations.
Research supports the notion that mentors make a positive difference in the lives of adolescent youth and athletes. For instance, youth who are involved in a mentoring relationship improve in the following areas; academic performance, peer relations, self esteem, decision making, school attendance and behavior.
Mentors provide support, guidance, model appropriate behaviors and challenge the expectation society has of adolescent boys, girls and athletes.
Success in the mentoring relationship is dependent upon several factors such as:
mentor perception and commitment,
the relationship between the mentor and mentee
and the training and supervision a mentor receives before and during the mentoring relationship.
When these variables are addressed, the mentor and mentee relationship flourishes and both parties are satisfied.