Mentoring Students and Young People
reviewed by Frances Kochan - 2003
The topic of mentoring is gaining a widespread audience across many settings including education, business, government, and the health professions (Mullen, and Lick, 1999). Mentoring programs are being established between and among people of all ages and for a wide variety of purposes, making information about how to create, maintain, and assess successful programs in high demand (Evans, 2000).
Andrew Miller’s book, Mentoring students and young people will help fill that demand for many groups, organizations, and individuals. Miller describes the book’s purpose as serving as “a guide to current practice in a rapidly developing field” (p. iv). It is not only a guide but also an excellent overall resource on the topic from a global perspective. The text is organized into four sections
The first section contains an excellent description of the concept of mentoring, including its historical roots, definitions, behaviors, aims and objectives, program classifications, and the issues that require further research and discussion. It also includes a case study of a mentoring program developed with governmental support in the U.K. The author has covered the topic very broadly dealing with many important issues and providing the reader with a comprehensive view of the topic. This section will be particularly useful to those seeking to broaden their understanding of the historical and theoretical foundations of mentoring as well as to those wanting to acquire specific knowledge about putting mentoring processes into practice.
Section 2 presents a very comprehensive description of mentoring programs in diverse settings, including businesses, communities, and schools. It features chapters on mentoring programs for minority ethnic groups and at-risk students and describes the use of peer mentoring and telementoring strategies in mentoring programs. These chapters give an overview of the structure, aims, objectives, issues, and benefits of each type of mentoring program and strategy. The author brings mentoring to life by including case studies that help the reader to gain a deeper understanding of the programs and processes involved. Each chapter in this section concludes with information about future trends.
The next section provides a guide for implementing effective mentoring programs for young people. The chapters deal with planning and managing programs, characteristics and roles of mentors, mentoring processes, and how to evaluate program quality. The chapters are thorough, yet succinct, providing some excellent specific information about creating, maintaining, and assessing mentoring activities and programs. The author does an outstanding job of giving the reader a comprehensive overview of the topic of evaluation as well as providing numerous specific examples of how to establish and implement evaluation strategies for small and large-scale efforts.
The concluding section deals with the future of mentoring for students and young people and includes a fascinating case study from which the reader will glean further direction and insight. The author makes a powerful case for integrating mentoring into all organizational structures so that students are mentored and serve as mentors from their early school years throughout their careers. He presents a case for organizations to not simply create mentoring programs, but instead to develop a “mentoring culture” so that people and organizations can grow and flourish on a continuing basis.
Although this book focuses on mentoring programs that have been implemented primarily in English speaking countries (U.S., United Kingdom, Australia, and Israel), the concepts and processes presented within it should be of value to all those seeking to enhance individual and organizational growth through mentoring. It is full of helpful ideas backed by examples of what has and has not worked. It will assist those interested in creating mentoring programs for young people; will aid scholars conducting research in the field of mentoring; and will enlighten those who wish to gain a deeper understanding of the history, purposes, and possibilities inherent in mentoring processes and programs. The book is written in an easy to understand style, yet it is rich in detail and will be a good resource for anyone interested in the mentoring topic.
Evans, T. W. (2000). The new mentors. Teachers College Record, 102 (1), 244-264.
Mullen, C.A., & Lick, D. (Eds.), (1999). New directions in mentoring: Creating a culture of synergy. New York: Falmer Press.