Sharing results about youth mentoring
This workshop will present the results of youth mentoring research.
Lonneke A. L. de Meijer from The Netherlands will present Mentoring Urban Talent: Impact of a Mentoring Program for Talented Secondary School Youth and they will share results about interesting trends in self‐efficacy and motivation throughout the school year. (more)
Gusta Tavecchio, also from The Netherlands, Erasmus University Rotterdam, will talk about Retaining Urban Talent. Reasons of downgrading of underrepresented students in secondary education and supporting them by Adequate Mentoring Strategies.
Marisa Bergamin is the program manager of Mentor-UP, a mentoring program founded by prof. Massimo Santinello and implemented since 2010 at the dept. of Developmental and Social Psychology, University of Padova (Italy). In collaboration with prof. Santinello and other experts, she contributes to the development of a quality system of mentoring, for the implementation with university students and youth at risk. Her mentoring expertise is rooted in Mentor-UP: she has been part of Mentor-UP team since 2012. Working as a practitioner in the field of university mentoring has shaped the way she contributes to the cycle of research and practice. Her most recent interest in this area explores the impact of Service Learning in the university students.
Dr Claudia Marino earned her PhD in Psychology at the University of Padova, Italy. She is currently Research Fellow at Department of Developmental and Social Psychology at the University of Padova, Italy. She is visiting researcher at the Centre for Addictive Behaviours Research, London South Bank University, UK. Her research interests include: evaluation of mentoring programs (i.e. Mentor-UP), problematic use of technology, and addictive behaviors. She has been collaborating with the team of Mentor-UP for the last three years as researcher.
Mentoring Urban Talent: Impact of a Mentoring Program for Talented Secondary School Youth in Rotterdam, The Netherlands – Lonneke A. L. de Meijer
Introduction: The mentoring program Mentoring Urban Talent is a school‐based (i.e., taking place at school) peer‐to‐peer mentoring program (i.e., individually based mentoring by a student mentor as a role model) aimed at talented secondary school pupils in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The secondary school pupils in this project are mentored by students that are enrolled at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Mentoring Urban Talent was designed, developed, and implemented in the school year 2018‐2019.
A large proportion of the pupils in Rotterdam, especially those living on the South bank of the city, come from low social‐economic status (SES) environments and are of migrant background. Although children from a low SES background generally have a supportive home environment when it comes to strengthening their school career, this support often goes hand in hand with high expectations and a lack of instrumental help (Rezai, 2017). As a result, these children are less likely to enroll in tertiary education. The aim of Mentoring Urban Talent is improving learning skills and providing social support and school career guidance. Also, student mentors as a role model can provide information on tertiary education and they can open up their social networks to the pupils. These endeavors intend to strengthen self‐efficacy and motivation, and ultimately, improve academic outcomes of these secondary school pupils, especially from low SES backgrounds.
Method: This research discusses the implementation of the Mentoring Urban Talent program in one 3rd-year classroom of pupils enrolled in pre‐university secondary education (i.e., the highest level of secondary education in The Netherlands, preparing children for enrollment in research university). We used a pre‐test post‐test control group design to investigate to what extent self‐efficacy and motivation developed among 60 3rd‐year pupils (age 14‐15). Our experimental group consists of 31 pupils. This group By Charlotte Boussevain (2018), pupil of participating school followed the 15‐week Mentoring Urban Talent Program. The control group consisted of 29 pupils, who did not follow the program.
Self‐efficacy, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation was measured by means of the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ; Pintrich, et al., 1993). We also measured perceived social support (MSPSS; Pedersen et al., 2009; Zimet et al., 2012) as a potential moderator in the effects of the mentoring. We used between‐subjects Repeated Measures ANOVA to compare self‐efficacy and motivation between the experimental group (pupils who received mentoring) and the control group (pupils who did not receive mentoring). We controlled for age, gender, cultural background, and pupils’ perceived social support.
Results and Discussion: Data were gathered at three occasions, i.e., prior to mentoring, after mentoring, and at the end of the school year. Preliminary results showed interesting trends in self‐efficacy and motivation throughout the school year. Additionally, we are planning to investigate whether perceived home support has a facilitating or hindering effect on the mentoring. The results will shed more light on how to develop self‐efficacy and motivation of talented secondary school youth
Workshop: During the workshop, I will describe and discuss briefly the above‐mentioned research. Additionally, I would like to work with one of the exercises of the mentoring toolkit. This specific exercise (Roseval, 2018) appeared to be a key element in creating more in‐depth guidance in the mentoring. The idea is that I will give you some insight in the program and hopefully give you some tips on how to design mentoring programs for talented urban youth.
Retaining Urban Talent. Reasons of downgrading of underrepresented students in secondary education and supporting them by Adequate Mentoring Strategies – Gusta Tavecchio
A number of secondary schools that offer the academic tracks in Rotterdam and Amsterdam call attention to the relatively large number of pupils from migrant and low socio-economic backgrounds being downgraded to lower educational tracks in the third and fourth grades. This situation is considered a loss of urban talent, as these pupils are eligible for the academic tracks and, from a social justice perspective, everything possible should be done to retain them. The paper reflects the research that is executed by Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) and VU University Amsterdam (VU) that aims to contribute to the goal of retaining urban talent by 1) researching the problem of downgrading in more detail and 2) investigating student-to-peer mentoring as a possible solution. In this mentoring project, students are matched with pupils from five different schools for secondary education in both cities and this mentoring revolves around a question posed by the pupils themselves, with the underlying goal of supporting their sense of belonging and motivation, school performance and their pathway to higher education. This paper addresses the findings of the first research question on ‘reasons of downgrading’ downgraded pupils shared during interviews. On the whole, pupils are informed incorrectly on their options to secure their retention, pupils tend to choose their trajectories strategically in order to increase their successful enrollment in pre university tracks, pupils are downgraded to humanities trajectories as apposed to their initial science preferences, first generation parents support downgrading as an adequate decision without knowledge of the pupils options and secondary education institutions seem to promote downgrading in order to increase retention rates. These insights are relevant for as well national policy as practitioners in the field of widening participation such as transfer, mentoring and outreach programs that support underrepresented students in their successful enrollment in higher education. Secondly, the paper addresses the question what happens during the execution of student-to peer mentoring. Taking into account the preferred outcomes, the implementation fidelity and implementation process, various challenges are critically discussed. The quality of matching, one-on one mentoring versus group mentoring, training and competencies of the mentors and expectations management towards mentees are analyzed, specifically their interference with the initial research design.
After the session the participants will have gained knowledge about reasons of downgrading of underrepresented pupils in pre-university trajectories and secondary education. This knowledge affects national policy and decision-making and outreach strategies to support underrepresented pupils in their access to higher education.
The preliminary finding of research question 2.) of the student-to-peer mentoring as a possible solution to this downgrading phenomenon will be critically shared/included during the Q&A after the presentation.
Mentoring relationship as a means to increase well-being
“Mentor-UP” is a school- and community-based weekly mentoring program that has been implemented in northern Italy in last ten years. Mentors (N= about 50-60 every year) are volunteer trained university students at the University of Padova which are coupled with mentees who are at risk youths living in disadvantaged neighbourhood of the city. Mentor-UP is offered with the joint work of both psychologists/practitioners and researchers. Therefore, the shared experience of professionals will be discussed.
In this view, the aim of the presentation is twofold: first, a presentation of Mentor-UP will be provided along with best practices and specific activities of the mentoring program. Thus, insights for practitioners will be shared as well as brief story of the Mentor-UP experience in the last few years. Second, although research has shown that youth mentoring is a promising strategy for increasing positive outcomes in at-risk youth, there has been few empirical research in Italy. Therefore, we will try to explain the potential mechanism leading to decrease in behavioural problems and to increase in prosocial behaviour in mentees include in Mentor-UP in the last three years. Based on the theoretical model proposed by Rhodes (2002), a path analysis was run (N=126) in order to test the inter-related roles of several variables (i.e. the quality of mentoring relationship,
mentees’ self-esteem, neighbourhood/teacher/school connectedness) in predicting mentees’ behavioural outcomes (i.e., prosocial behaviour and behavioural problems with peers, hyperactivity and emotional symptoms). Preliminary results (Figure 1) showed that the quality of the mentoring relationship (as reported by the mentees at the end of the program) was positively associated with their perceived self-esteem at the end of program (β= .30; p<.01) controlling for the effect of perceived self-efficacy on self-esteem (β= .48; p<.01). Self-esteem, in turn, was a positive predictor of higher levels of connectedness to neighbourhood (β= .41; p<.001), teachers (β= .30; p<.05), but not of school (β= .17; p>.05). Moreover, connectedness to neighbourhood (β= .19; p<.05) and to teachers (β= .33; p<.05) appeared to increase the levels of prosocial behaviour (R2= 20%) whereas connectedness to neighbourhood (β= -.34; p<.05) decreased the levels of behavioural problems (R2= 12%) in mentees. Overall, results empirically support the theoretical model and showed the mechanism leading mentoring relationships to promoted well-being among at-risk youths. The change processes are discussed taking practitioners’ viewpoint.