Evaluating The Role Of Adult Mentors Within a Youth Physicakl Activity Programme

Por: Kathleen Armour e Rachel Sandford.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Introduction

‘Mentoring’ has become an increasingly popular learning and personal support strategy in education, as is also the case in other social fields (Colley, 2003)[1]. This paper reports on a research project that is evaluating the impact of a corporate-sponsored sport/physical activity programme for disaffected/disengaged young people and, in particular, the issues that have arisen from the adult mentoring scheme that is a key part of the project.

Methods

The evaluation uses mainly qualitative methods including participant observation, reflective journals, individual interviews and focus group activities with project participants. Data have been collated to generate individual databases, case study profiles and thematic analyses. This paper reports data from observations, interviews and journals on the expectations and experiences of the mentors, employees of the project sponsor who have all volunteered to support the young people during and after the project.

Results

Preliminary analysis points to potential benefits for all participants in the mentoring process, but highlights some significant problems too. For example, mentors had some unrealistic expectations of both the young people and their ability to support them effectively. There was also a lack of clarity in the project about the precise role of the mentors on the central physical activity weeks, and the nature of the follow-up process within schools. A ‘Logic Model’ (Kellogg Foundation, 2001)[2] framework for project design has been proposed to help overcome these problems in the future.

Discussion/Conclusion

Mentoring is fashionable and its use in education seems set to increase (Reid, 2002)[3]. However, in order to be effective in developing supportive social relationships with young people, careful project planning and mentor preparation are required to ensure that all participants share a common framework of understanding (Roberts, 2000)[4]. This is particularly important in the context of evaluating long-term impact (Lucas, 2001)[5].

References

  1. Colley, H. (2003) British Educational Research Journal, 29(4), pp.521-542.
  2. W.K.Kellogg Foundation (2001) Using Logic Models to Bring Together Planning, Evaluation and Action. Logic Model Development Guide (W.K.Kellogg Foundation, Michigan)
  3. Reid, K. (2002) Mentoring and Tutoring, 10(2), pp.153-169.
  4. Roberts, A. (2000) Mentoring and Tutoring, 8(2), pp. 145-170.
  5. Lucas, K.F. (2001) Mentoring and Tutoring, 9(1), pp.23-47.

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