Research In Action #9
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Research In Action #9

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October 7, 2009 - 12-1pm CST; Youth Mentoring: Do Race and Ethnicity Really Matter? featuring Dr. Belle Liang and Jennifer West, Boston College; hosted by Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota

October 7, 2009 - 12-1pm CST; Youth Mentoring: Do Race and Ethnicity Really Matter? featuring Dr. Belle Liang and Jennifer West, Boston College; hosted by Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota

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Research In Action #9 Research In Action #9 Presentation Transcript

  • RESEARCH IN ACTION ISSUE 9 Youth Mentoring: Do Race and Ethnicity Really Matter?
  • Research In Action: Overview of Series Last year, MENTOR released the National Agenda for Action: How to Close America’s Mentoring Gap . Representing the collective wisdom of the mentoring field, the Agenda articulates five key strategies and action items necessary to move the field forward and truly close the mentoring gap. In an effort to address one of these critical strategies—elevating the role of research—MENTOR created the Research and Policy Council , an advisory group composed of the nation’s leading mentoring researchers, policymakers, and practitioners. In September 2006, MENTOR convened the first meeting of the Research and Policy Council with the goal of increasing the connection and exchange of ideas among practitioners, policymakers, and researchers to strengthen the practice of youth mentoring. The Research in Action series is the first product to evolve from the work of the Council—taking current mentoring research and translating it into useful, user-friendly materials for mentoring practitioners.
  • Research In Action Issues: Issue 1: Mentoring: A Key Resource for Promoting PYD Issue 2: Effectiveness of Mentoring Program Practices Issue 3: Program Staff in Youth Mentoring Programs Issue 4: Fostering Close and Effective Relationships Issue 5: Why Youth Mentoring Relationships End Issue 6: School-Based Mentoring Issue 7: Cross-Age Peer Mentoring Issue 8: Mentoring Across Generations: Engaging Age 50+ Adults Issue 9: Youth Mentoring: Do Race and Ethnicity Really Matter? Issue 10: Mentoring: A Promising Intervention for Children of Prisoners
  • Using the Research In Action Series
    • Research: a peer-reviewed article, written by a leading researcher, summarizing the latest research available on the topic and its implications for the field;
    • Action: a tool, activity, template, or resource, created by MENTOR, with concrete suggestions on how practitioners can incorporate the research findings into mentoring programs; and
    • Resources: a list of additional resources on the topic for further research.
  • MPM Webinar Series
    • Review RESEARCH presented in peer-reviewed article
    • ACTION dialogue – how can you incorporate the research findings into your program?
    • Share RESOURCES with others in the field
  • Issue 9 – Youth Mentoring: Do Race and Ethnicity Really Matter?
    • Belle Liang, Ph.D., Boston College
    • Jennifer West, Boston College
  • Issue 9 - Overview
    • Does it Matter Whether Mentors and Mentees are Matched on Race and Ethnicity?
    • Are Same-Race Matches Necessarily More Beneficial than Cross-Race Matches?
    • Do Ethnicity and Race Affect the Way Mentors and Mentees Relate?
    • How Do We Foster Cultural Sensitivity in Mentoring? Translating Research into Practice
    • Case Example of a Culturally Sensitive Mentoring Program
  • Introduction
    • Should mentors and young people be matched based on demographic characteristics such as race and ethnicity?
    Mentees in formal mentoring programs typically represent diverse demographics, whereas most mentors are white (Grossman & Tierney, 1998; Sipe, 1996).
  • Does It Matter Whether Mentors and Mentees are Matched on Race and Ethnicity?
    • Same-race matches seem to matter to many youth mentees and have a potential impact on initial attraction and expectations
    • Perceived similarity has been associated with mentees’ level of satisfaction with the relationship as well as mentors’ fondness of mentees (Ensher & Murphy, 1997)
      • Youth tend to seek mentors from the same racial or ethnic background (Cavell,Meehan,Heffer, & Holladay, 2002;Jackson,Kite,&Branscome, 1996; & Klawy & Rhodes,1995;Sanchez & Colon, 2005) or gender (Chen,Greenberger,Farruggia,Bush, & Dong,2003; Sanchez & Reyes, 1999) .
  • Are Same-Race Matches Necessarily More Beneficial than Cross-Race Matches?
    • Studies on formal mentoring programs comparing benefits of same-race and cross-race matches have produced mixed findings
    • No differences were found for same-race and cross-race groups in the frequency of meetings and duration of relationships when matches were based on (Rhodes, Reddy, Grossman, & Lee, 2002) :
      • Shared interests
      • Geographic proximity
      • Youth and parental preferences for same-race pairs
  • Do Ethnicity and Race Affect the Way Mentors and Mentees Relate?
    • The Quality of mentoring relationships may be shaped by the way race-related issues are negotiated by mentor-mentee pairs; these include dynamics such as the:
      • Degree of cultural sensitivity of mentor
      • Degree of cultural mistrust of mentee
      • Feedback (+/-) provided to the mentee
      • Cultural values (i.e., values of collectivism and individualism) (Sanchez & Colon, 2005)
  • How Do We Foster Cultural Sensitivity in Mentoring? Translating Research into Practice
    • Action1 :
    • Assess whether matching based on race or ethnicity is important to the mentee/mentee’s family during the screening process.
    • Make matches based on similar interests, attitudes and geographic proximity.
      • This may be especially important in cross-race pairs.
    • Insight 1 :
    • Even when same-race matches may be desired, some research shows that having similar interests and attitudes may be an even better predictor of mentees’ satisfaction with and support received from their mentors than is demographic similarity (Ensher & Murphy, 1997; Grossman & Rhodes, 2002) .
  • How Do We Foster Cultural Sensitivity in Mentoring? cont.
    • Action 2 :
    • Mentor training is critical given the shortage of same-race mentors, particularly for male youth of color (Rhodes, 2002) .
    • Ongoing training and support for mentors should be characterized by special attention to cultural issues as the most well-intentioned mentors may make critical errors that negatively impact these relationships (Rhodes, 2002) .
    • Insight 2 :
    • Mentoring outcomes between a match reflect the ways in which mentors respond to multiple characteristics of the mentee, including aspects of a mentee’s racial identity and cultural values.
    • Mentors need to be culturally competent in order to develop a successful cross-race pair (Sanchez & Colon, 2005) .
  • How Do We Foster Cultural Sensitivity in Mentoring? cont.
    • Action 3 :
    • Mentor recruitment should target individuals who:
      • Possess relational qualities
      • Value developmental aspects of match-relationships
      • Willing and able to invest time and energy into the mentoring process.
    • Training should include the development of relational skills:
      • i.e., fostering mutual engagement, authenticity, empowerment, dealing with differences, conflict resolution, etc. (Liang,Tracy,Taylor, & Williams,2002;Liang,Spencer, Brogan, & Corral in press; Spencer, 2006; Spencer, Jordan, & Sazama, 2004) .
    • Insight 3 :
    • Exploration of commonalities can serve as an early and central step in connecting with a mentee, and may form a foundation for lasting relationship development (Ensher & Murphy, 1997; Rhodes et al., 2002) .
    • Mentoring relationships may benefit from:
      • Mentors promoting mentee self-exploration, goal-setting and mutual relationship development rather than an approach that imposes goals for the mentoring relationship.
  • How Do We Foster Cultural Sensitivity in Mentoring? cont.
    • Action 4 :
    • Design mentoring programs that are sensitive to theory and research on the cultural characteristics of the youth populations served.
    • Universally beneficial aspects of mentoring programs combined with responsiveness to diverse backgrounds and needs of youth may enhance the applicability and effectiveness of mentoring relationships.
    • Insight 4 :
    • A one-size-fits-all approach may not be always effective (Grossman & Johnson, 1998;Reddy,Roffman, Grossman, & Rhodes, in press) .
    • Youth from diverse backgrounds may present unique needs and opportunities
    • They may be facing racism as well as other culture-specific struggles, that may negatively affect their school success and psychological well-being (Gonzales & Kim, 1997; Jasinskaja-Lahti & Liebkind, 2001) .
  • How Do We Foster Cultural Sensitivity in Mentoring? cont.
    • Action 5 :
    • Programs should collaborate with researchers to conduct additional research examining various combinations of demographic variables that may affect the quality of the fit between youth and their mentors.
    • Insight 5 :
    • Currently, race-and culture-sensitive approaches to mentoring are in short supply.
    • Most research on same-race, cross-race dyads, fails to compare various dyadic combinations of mentor-mentee race and gender.
  • Case Example of a Culturally Sensitive Mentoring Program
    • Rural After-School Program for Latino (a) youth described by Diversi and Mecham (2005) represents a culturally sensitive program that closely analyzed the potential pitfalls of cross-race matching and worked to integrate cultural values into mentor training and the program curriculum.
  • Conclusion
    • Despite implications of some advantages to matching based on race and ethnicity from the previous research—once in the relationship, regardless of whether it is same-race or cross-race, other factors may play a larger role in determining the success of the relationship, including:
      • 1) whether the mentee perceives his/her mentor as similar in other ways (i.e., shared interests, personality, etc.)
      • 2) Whether mentors and programs are culturally sensitive
  • ACTION Dialogue
    • Questions for Dr. Liang and Jennifer West?
  • Share RESOURCES
    • MPM Training www.mentoringworks.org/traininginstitute
    • Web sites & PDFs www.delicious.com/traininginstitute
    • This presentation & others www.slideshare.net/traininginstitute
  • MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership
    • The leader in expanding the power of mentoring to millions of young Americans who want and need adult mentors.
      • Exploring and Valuing Diversity
      • Mentoring and Race, article from Research Corner
      • Mentoring Immigrant and Refugee Youth: A Toolkit for Program Coordinators
    • National organization that provides training and technical assistance to youth mentoring programs.
      • Same-race and Cross-race matching
      • Technical assistance packet
    • Statewide partnership that promotes mentoring in the state of Minnesota
    • Tools for understanding the influence of culture on mentoring relationships
    • Culturally Smart Relationships
    • Advocates for Youth
    • Dedicated to creating programs and advocating for policies that help young people make informed and responsible decisions about their reproductive and sexual health
      • A Youth Leader’s Guide to Building Cultural Competence
    Other Resources:
    • EdChange Multicultural Pavillion
    • Dedicated to providing professional development, scholarship and activism for diversity, social justice and community growth.
      • Awareness Activities
  • THANK YOU!
    • Next webinar is Wednesday, November 4; 12-1pm CST
    • Issue 10: Mentoring: A Promising Intervention for Children of Prisoners