Exploring Mentoring Relationships in the Lives of Underrepresented Students


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Symposium Session, AERA Annual Meeting, 2013

Presenters: Garcia, Glassett, Pearl and Prange

Chair: Erika Daniels

Discussant: Gloria Crisp

Published in: Education
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Exploring Mentoring Relationships in the Lives of Underrepresented Students

  2. 2. JOEL GARCIASUSAN GLASSETT FARRELLYDOMENICA CIMARUSTI PEARLBEVERLY PRANGEUniversityofCalifornia,SanDiegoCaliforniaStateUniversitySanMarcosERIKA DANIELS, CHAIRCaliforniaStateUniversitySanMarcosGLORIA CRISP, DISCUSSANTUniversityofTexasatSanAntonio
  4. 4. A POVERTY OF SOCIAL CAPITAL:STUDENT EXPERIENCES INALTERNATIVE SCHOOLSusanGlassettFarrelly,ED.D.teacherNorthcountytechnologyandscienceacademySanMarcos,CA
  5. 5. RESEARCH QUESTIONS* Who attends alternative school?* What is the lived studenteducational experience before,during, and after attendingalternative school?
  6. 6. PARTICIPANT SELECTION VARIANT xAN EXPLANATORY SEQUENTIAL DESIGN* Grounded in Critical Theory* Phase One: Self-DeterminationTheory (SDT)* Survey of 187 alternative education students* Assessed students’ perceived basic psychologicalneeds (autonomy, competency and relatedness)* Student records* Phase Two: Student Voice NarrativeInquiry* Audio narrative analysis* Analysis of narrativesCRESWELL & PLANO-CLARK (2011)
  7. 7. CONTEXT* County Community School (CCS)* Regionally distributed over 8 sites and 17classrooms* Operated 245 school days* Serves 300 to 450 students in 2010-2011enrollment was 336* High (70%) mobility rate - 1024 differentstudents were enrolled
  8. 8. PARTICIPANTSSAMPLE POPULATIONLatino 81% 81%White Non-Hispanic 11% 11%African American 6% 4%Special Education 18% 19%Limited English Proficient 47% 64%Free or Reduced Lunch 86% 79%Female 17% 20%
  9. 9. CLUSTER ANALYSISCluster#1Cluster#2Cluster#3Cluster#4-2.0-1.5-1.0-.
  10. 10. NARRATIVE ANALYSIS*Cluster#1* Oscar fulfilled all graduation requirementsexcept state exit exam, was attendingcommunity college* Rainman graduated and is employed fulltime*Cluster#2* Eddie was going back to traditional highschool but got arrested* Jacob was still attending alternative schoolsporadically due to homelessness
  11. 11. NARRATIVE ANALYSIS*Cluster#3* Kyle graduated and was employed full time* Raul returned to traditional school forsenior year currently has a 3.8 GPA*Cluster#4* Leo returned to traditional school for 9thgrade year and is struggling* Güero was still attending alternative schoolbut has since dropped out
  12. 12. ABOVE THE LINE* Named specific teachers by name withwhom they had a special relationship* There was evidence in each story ofteachers having high expectations
  13. 13. BELOW THE LINE* Did not describe a specific relationshipwith a teacher* Did not identify a single positiveeducational experience
  14. 14. CAREER OBJECTIVES* Oscar – Army* Rainman – Marines* Kyle – Police Officer or Game Warden* Raul – Probation Officer* Eddie – Probation Officer* Jacob – Chef* Leo – Police Officer* Güero – Probation Officer“Gottoenforcesomelaws.Iwanttocarryagun”(Kyle)
  15. 15. “[I] seriously thought like I wasn’t goingto graduate high school. I was just goingto drop out and just go to juvenile hall…Butright here they work with you to improve,you know… [Name deleted] doesnt takecrap, but if youre serious about school helltry to work with you, you know? Because[name deleted] is a good teacher. Iveseen him help...my family have gone, otherfamily has gone to his class too, and heshelped them go to college. He helped themsign up for college and everything. Butthats only if youre serious about school”(Raul)
  16. 16. CONCLUSIONThe student voices in this study show theheart of alternative education success liesin the development of a caring andsupportive environment grounded in positivestudent-teacher relationships that embracehigh expectations. These relationships needto not only support students academicallybut also to empower them with “rich socialcapital and resource generating networks”(Stanton-Salazar, 2010, p. 1097) that will alter theirdestinies.
  18. 18. OVERVIEW* Background* Statement of the Problem* Conceptual Framework* Research Questions* Research Design* Results* Implications for Research andProfessional Practice
  19. 19. BACKGROUND* 2.3 to 3.5 million Americans experiencehomelessness each year(National Center on Family Homelessness, 2009)* Nationally, a record 1,065,794 homelesschildren attended schools in the 2010-2011school year(National Center for Homeless Education, 2012)* In San Diego County, there are 18,093homeless K-12 students(M. Lustig, San Diego County Office of Education, personal communication, 10.8.2012)
  20. 20. STATEMENTxTHE PROBLEM* Although some literature existsregarding the resilience of homelessstudents, little is known about therelationships between these youth andtheir educators* Little is known about the schoolstructures and climate and their effecton these relationships
  21. 21. CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK* Risks* Resilience* School Structures* School Culture and ClimateRisks ResilienceStudent-EducatorRelationships
  22. 22. RISKS* Family Breakdown* Social Emotional
  23. 23. RESILIENCE FRAMEWORKResilienceStress andRisksFamilyBreakdownSocialEmotionalMediatingMechanismsTemperamentRelationshipsSchoolExperienceCoping/ProtectiveMechanismsPositiveSelf-EsteemFamily CohesionAvailability ofExternalSupport(Garmezy, 1985; Rutter 1987)
  24. 24. RESILIENCE-PROMOTING SCHOOLSTheoreticalModel High ExpectationsCaring RelationshipsMeaningful Participation andContribution(Benard, 2004)
  25. 25. SCHOOL STRUCTURES* Student Support* Staff Awareness and Development
  26. 26. SCHOOL CULTURE yCLIMATE* Safety* Staff Attitudes* Adult and Peer Relationships
  27. 27. RESEARCH QUESTIONSAre caring relationships available for homelessyouth at a traditional school and a modifiedcomprehensive school specifically designedfor students experiencing homelessness?1. In what ways do the institutionalstructures support or constrain theserelationships?2. How does a school’s culture and climateinfluence these relationships?
  28. 28. METHODOLOGY* Comparative Case Study* Sample and Population*City High and Bayview Schools*24 students total; Purposeful,homogenous sampling*12 staff members total ;Teachers,Counselors, Administration
  29. 29. METHODOLOGY* Data Collection* Document Analysis, Semi-StructuredInterviews, Classroom Observations* Within and Cross-Case Data Analysis* Conceptual framework informed initial codedevelopment* First cycle: In vivo coding* Second round of pattern coding used tofurther analyze and organize data
  30. 30. FINDINGS: CITY HIGH SCHOOL* 75% of student participants reported having asupportive relationship* Having a “normal conversation”* Empathy yields relatability“I know they care because they have normalconversation that’s not about school stuff. They askabout how work is going and stuff like that”(Steven, 12th grade)“I was having a tough time and it was close tohomecoming and I couldn’t go to the homecomingdance. My parents [said] ‘no you need to focus onhelping us get through what we’re going through.’ AndMs. Jacobs was telling me she went through the samething. Her parents were really hard on her and didn’treally want her to do anything and put too muchresponsibility on her too”(Layla, 12th grader)* Emotionally Safe
  31. 31. FINDINGS: CITY HIGH SCHOOL* Homeless students go unidentified“We have these little markers on our student profilesthat, I don’t know what they all mean. They are likecoded. I don’t know if we even have a code for that,but if we do I don’t know what it is”(Mr. Jones, Science Teacher)* “You’re on your own”“[The teachers] are putting up a front so that’s what wehave to do too. We have to put up a front. Like, oh,since you don’t care, I don’t care. I’m not going to do itbecause you’re not going to teach me that. So allaround, I feel like if we just all help each other, thenthere’ll never be a reason for any student to feel thatthey can’t do anything”(Yolanda, 9th grader)
  32. 32. FINDINGS: BAYVIEW SCHOOL* Supportive and Warm Environment* For all student participants* “Like a family”* Wide network of support“[Bayview] is like my second family and seriously I havemoms, I have dads, I have sisters and brothers”(Molly, 12th grader)* Individualized SupportBecause were so small, we know the students. We know justfrom observing whats normal behavior and whats not normalbehavior for a particular student. We know if somebody isusually really loud and boisterous at lunch, and now theyresitting on a bench and not talking to anybody, thats unusual.So, we need to figure out what’s going on that’s making thembehave differently”(Vice-Principal Terry Norris)
  33. 33. IMPLICATIONS FOR RESEARCHy PRACTICE* Continuum of Homelessness* Identification is Critical* Focus Beyond Academics* Balance of Institutional Context(Murphy and Tobin, 2011)
  34. 34. !THANK YOU
  36. 36. IMPROVING ACADEMIC OUTCOMESFOR LATINO STUDENTS* Students of Latino origin comprise themajority of public school students inCalifornia and are the fastest growinggroup nationwide894171329443020406080100HighSchoolorGED CollegeEnrollmentAllStudentsLatinoStudentsWhiteStudentsU.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics , 2012
  37. 37. PROBLEMLatino studentscomprise themajorityLow academicachievementWhat contributesto Latino studentsuccess?Relationshipswith educatorsare a keyHow dosupportiveeducators buildand maintaintheserelationships?
  38. 38. PURPOSE* Explore supportive relationships betweenstudents and educators from thestudent perspective to identify thecharacteristics, dispositions, andbehaviors of school adults whosuccessfully offer empathicunderstanding and support to Latina/ostudents who are striving to be the firstin their families to graduate from highschool and attend college
  39. 39. RESILIENCY Strengths-BasedTheoryProtectiveFactorsInternalProtectiveFactorsExternalProtectiveFactorsOpportunityforParticipation &ContributionHighExpectationsCaringRelationshipsAlfaro, Umaña-Taylor, & Bámaca, 2006; Alva, 1991; Gándara, 2002
  40. 40. SOCIAL CAPITAL* Access to resources obtained throughinterpersonal relationships* Historically underserved groups haveless access to social capital due tosocietal and school structure* Educators are uniquely situated toincrease Latino students’ access tosocial capital: information, resources,networks (“empowerment agents”)(BOURDIEU, 1986; COLEMAN, 1988; CRONINGER & LEE, 2001; KLEM & CONNELL, 2004; STANTON-SALAZAR, 2001, 2011)
  41. 41. EMPATHY* Basis for interpersonal relationships* Humans are hard-wired for empathy* Empathy can be taught and developed(Carr, Iacoboni, Dubeau, Mazziotta, & Lenzi, 2003; Hoffman, 2000; Ramachandran, 2010)
  42. 42. EMPATHY* Empathy is the process of understandingothers that in turn helps themunderstand themselves. The quality ofempathy involves valuing and caringabout the person; having a non-judgmental attitude; listening; working tounderstand another’s perspective; andhelping the other person achieve his orher potential.Rogers (1975); Cooper (2004)
  43. 43. RESEARCH QUESTION ySUB-QUESTIONSIn what ways does empathy play a role inthe relationships educators form withLatino first generation college-boundstudents?In what ways does empathy play a role inthe relationships educators form withLatino first generation college-boundstudents?QUANTITATIVEa) Relationships?b) With whom?c) Empathy?d) Does race affectempathy?QUANTITATIVEa) Relationships?b) With whom?c) Empathy?d) Does race affectempathy?QUALITATIVEe) Educatorbehaviors,attitudes andattributes?f) How?QUALITATIVEe) Educatorbehaviors,attitudes andattributes?f) How?
  44. 44. TRANSFORMATIVEMIXED-METHODSDESIGNPhase I: QuantitativePhase I: QuantitativePhase II: QualitativePhase II: QualitativeSurveySurveyLatina/o First-GenstudentsLatina/o First-GenstudentsInterviewsWrittenResponsesInterviewsWrittenResponsesEOP StudentsEOP Students
  45. 45. PHASE I: QUANTITATIVEIn what ways does empathy play arole in the relationships educators form withLatino first generation college-boundstudents?a) Do Latina/o first generation college-boundstudents experience supportive relationships witheducators in high school?b) For those Latina/o students who experience asupportive relationship, is this adult more likely tobe a teacher, counselor, or other educator?c) To what degree do Latina/o students perceivethese educators as empathic?d) Does the race/ethnicity of the educator affecthow Latina/o students rate them on empathy?
  46. 46. QUANTITATIVE PARTICIPANTS* EOP students (n=184)* 77% (n=141) Latina/o* 81% female
  47. 47. QUANTITATIVE INSTRUMENTATION* Demographic information* Information regarding supportiveeducator* Modified Jefferson Scale of PatientPerception of Physician Empathy(Kane, Gotto, Mangione, West, & Hojat, 2007)* e.g. “This person can view things from myperspective (see things as I see them)” and“This person asks about what is happening inmy daily life”
  48. 48. QUANTITATIVE FINDINGS* Do Latina/o first generation college-boundstudents experience supportiverelationships with educators in high school?88% YES* For those Latina/o students whoexperience a supportive relationship, is thisadult more likely to be a teacher,counselor, or other educator?74% teacher, 49% AVID teacher, 15%counselor
  49. 49. QUANTITATIVE FINDINGS* To what degree do Latina/o studentsperceive these educators as empathic?High EmpathyHigh Non-Judgmental Attitude* Does the race/ethnicity of the educatoraffect how Latina/o students rate them onempathy?No difference in empathy based onrace/ethnicity
  50. 50. PHASE II: QUALITATIVE* What attitudes/attributes/behaviors doLatina/o first generation college-boundstudents experience as supportive oftheir academic and life goals?
  51. 51. QUALITATIVE METHODOLOGY* Phenomenology* focuses on the meaning of lived experience(Van Manen, 1990)* seeks to describe the essence of a groupof individuals’ experiences of a phenomenon(Creswell, 2007)* Data Sources* Responses to open-ended survey questions* Written responses to prompts* Interviews
  52. 52. 22 STUDENT PARTICIPANTS* Volunteers from survey* Referred by colleagues* First and second-year undergraduates* 13 females* 9 males* 100% first generation college* 64% first generation high school grads* 16 high schools in 13 school districts* 4 undocumented students
  56. 56. 45%DROPPEDOUTBACKGROUND* In more than fifty years, the collegegraduation rate in the United States hasonly increased by 3%.National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, 2011; Hout, 20096-yearaveragegraduationrate,200955%GRADUATED
  57. 57. ?WHY ARE STUDENTS LEAVING* Academic difficulty* Adjustment issues* Lack of clear goals or commitment* Rising costs* Poor integration into communityTinto, 1993; Moore, Offenstein & Shulock, 2011
  58. 58. PROBLEMParker, Summerfeld, Hogan & Majeski, 2004; Tinto, 1993; Qualter, Whiteley, Morley & Dudiak, 2008Students are failing to acclimate touniversity lifeIntegration into the campus communityhelps students to be more successfulRelationships with academic staff &peers assist in this connectionMentoring enhances relationshipsCollege student retention
  59. 59. PURPOSE* Explore the contribution of relationalfactors or the impact of personalcharacteristics of mentors* Provide empirical and theoretical insightstudent affairs practitioners mightconsider when establishing mentoringprograms to promote student retentionJacobi, 1991; Bernier, Larose & Soucy, 2005
  60. 60. RESEARCH QUESTIONS* In what ways do mentoring relationshipsbetween student affairs professionals andstudents support or constrain theretention of college students?* To what degree do mentoring relationshipsfoster social capital?* In what ways do students use “mentoring socialcapital” to persist toward degree?* Do students perceive a relationship between amentor’s emotional intelligence and the qualityof the mentoring relationship?
  61. 61. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK* Parallels with mentoring* both are structures in which individuals benefitfrom a relationship* provides students with the social capitalneeded to better navigate the university* Illuminates knowledge about relationshipsand the way individuals interact with oneanotherSOCIALCAPITAL“Asetofresourcesrootedinrelationships”or,theadvantagesanindividualacquiresthroughthesocialnetworkinwhichtheybelong”Nahapiet & Ghoshal, 1998, p.243; Bourdieu, 1986; Hezlett & Gibson, 2007
  62. 62. LITERATURESocialCapital* The heart of socialcapital is therelationship* Significant positiveeffects on thepersistence ofcollege students* Stronger predictorof success thanacademicpreparation andother personalfactorsMentoring* Advocate forstudents* Connects studentsto the university* Less likely to drop out* Promotes goal andcareer achievement* Provides support,reinforcement &emotionalsustenance* Helps studentsrecognize they arecapable ofsucceedingEmotionalIntelligence* The manner in whichindividuals perceive,express, manage andunderstand emotionin both themselvesand others* Internal mechanismnecessary forhealthy relationships* Enhances the abilityto support andconnect withstudents on a morepersonal level
  64. 64. Creswell, 2008; Creswell and Plano Clark, 2011; Rudestam & Newton, 2007; Denzin & Lincoln, 2005Phase 1 {Quantitative}• Original survey• SPSS data analysis• Phase 2 studentparticipant selectionPhase 2 {Qualitative}• 6 student interviews• 5 identified mentorinterviews• Content & cross-caseanalysisPhase 2 {Qualitative}• 6 student interviews• 5 identified mentorinterviews• Content & cross-caseanalysisSite: Mid-size public university inCalifornia (n = 10,276)SEQUENTIAL EXPLANATORYMIXED METHODS DESIGN
  65. 65. PHASE 1 PARTICIPANTS* Senior-level non-probationary students(n = 3487)* 18% response rate (n = 628)* 46% of respondents hada mentor* Only 11% indicated amentor in Student Affairs
  66. 66. PHASE 2 PARTICIPANTS* 6 undergraduate students* 5 mentors employed in Student Affairs
  67. 67. FIRST-GENERATION STUDENTSFrancesFirst-generationcollege studentConnieBoth parentscollegeeducatedBeatriceBoth parentshave BAMikeFirst-generationcollege studentGailFirst-generationcollege studentJackFirst-generationcollege graduateLucaFirst-generationcollege studentPatriciaFirst-generationcollege graduateDylanFirst-generationcollege studentMarieFirst-generationcollege graduateChrissyBoth parentshave AA* 4 out of 6 students* 4 out of 5 mentors* Reported mentoring relationship to be thecatalyst of their success
  68. 68. From the both the quantitative andqualitative data,3 MAIN CONCEPTSinfluencing college student retention emerged:EmotionalSupportMENTORCOMMITMENTRelationalCapital
  69. 69. * Emotional factors influence academicperformance and affect a student’sdecision to remain in school* Emotional health is one of the only self-rated personal characteristics to have apositive effect on degree completionAstin, 2006EmotionalSupport* Emotionally supportivementors help acclimatestudents to college life
  70. 70. ELEMENTSTrustEmpathyRapportParent-like SupportEmotionalSupport
  71. 71. ELEMENTSParent-like Support“I’m not a counselor, I’m not a doctor,I’m not a police officer. I’m just a window…Because sometimes, these kids, they know so manypeople and they still could be the loneliest peoplearound, or it’s their first experience away from momand dad. They don’t make the right choices or theyfeel so lonely, or they can’t go to their parentsfor anything, or even their best friend.So, I make myself available to them–to be able to come in for whatever,and then I just point them in the right direction”(Frances)EmotionalSupport
  72. 72. * Particularly for first-generation studentparticipants, who described mentorcommitment as instrumental in providinga path to college graduation* Provided students with security andreinforcement needed to excelacademically and sociallyMENTORCOMMITMENT* “Your success is mysuccess” mentalityempowered students
  73. 73. ELEMENTSDependability & Availability“A mentor is someonewho you know is there for youwhenever you need her…Beatrice is the one who’sbeen there for mefrom start to finish”(Mike)MotivationMENTORCOMMITMENT
  74. 74. * Contributed to a comprehensive andmeaningful mentorship* Assisted students in navigating theuniversity, and what to do post-graduationRelationalCapital...Having the aptitude tomanage relationships andbuild connections with othersin order to cultivate socialties to improve academicoutcomes
  75. 75. ELEMENTSRole Modeling“I need someone who caninspire me to choose a career pathand not just, a career”(Dylan)Belonging and MatteringRelationalCapital
  76. 76. ELEMENTSConnectionsReciprocity“The most rewarding part of the relationshipthat you build with studentsis their success…I think when you talk to them and you seethem succeed in any fashion of life,that’s very rewarding”(Jack)RelationalCapital
  77. 77. FIRST-GENERATIONSTUDENTSyMENTORS* Vital way to gain access to informationand opportunities* Success was facilitated by supportiveinterpersonal relationship with theirmentor* Mentors intervened to assist studentsnavigate the university and facilitateacademic success* Ability to empathize* Understood potential adversity* Helped avoid common obstacles
  78. 78. “I was a first-generation student, so wasJack, and because he’s already been thereand done that, he kind of helped me alongthe way...Even though I have a family whosupports me. My mom doesnt speakEnglish, she’s working day by day. She neverwent through it. It’s nice to have somebodyhere, where I can go, and he’s alwaysavailable or he’ll make time. If I email him,he emails me right away. It’s nice to havethat support here on campus. I have it athome, which is great, but I can’t go to mymom and ask what classes I should I take.It’s just nice to have it here”LUCA
  81. 81. “I love my job. It’s really all about therelationships that I have and building thoserelationships with students. I think I just lovebeing in an environment where I see thatgrowth. College is such a great setting to seethat happen” (Beatrice)“I have met many young adults, and havehired many of them throughout the years,and they have all respected me on a level thatI hadn’t thought I was even worthy of. It wasamazing. And, somehow I have impacted theirlives” (Frances)