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Mentoring in Formal and Informal Contexts

reviewed by Dave A. Louis - November 28, 2016

coverTitle: Mentoring in Formal and Informal Contexts
Author(s): Kathy Peno, Elaine M. Silva Mangiante, & Rita A. Kenahan (Eds.)
Publisher: Information Age Publishing, Charlotte
ISBN: 1681234610, Pages: 356, Year: 2016
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Mentoring is increasingly one of the most discussed and researched issues within education. The practice of mentoring plays a crucial role in the development, self-efficacy, and success of countless individuals throughout the field. Yet the complexity of mentoring is seldom fully recognized, amply comprehended, or completely explored with respect to its meaning and impact within social structures. Mentoring is frequently viewed in a myopic manner focusing solely on the dynamics between a mentor and a protégé, ignoring the environment where relationships are formulated and nurtured. Mentoring in Formal and Informal Contexts, edited by Kathy Peno, Elaine M. Silva Mangiante, and Rita A. Kenahan, delves into mentoring practices while exploring the organizational structures, models, approaches, and people that make it a successful endeavor. The book is a refreshing examination of mentoring using various lenses, contexts, methods, and experiences that aptly highlight its multifaceted nature.

The text is organized into four content-focused sections, each containing multiple chapters. Pertinent issues are covered, such as coaching, minority groups, faculty roles as mentors, pre-service teacher development, peer groups, student organizations, industry mentors, role models, online mentoring, and families involved in the mentoring process. The first section of the book addresses issues in higher education. The chapters in this section cover faculty dispositions, faculty peer mentoring models, working with graduate students, and Greek life. Mentoring in K–12 teacher education, primarily regarding pre-service teachers, is the focus of the second section. The third section examines mentoring practices within the field of healthcare education, both in the academic and practical realms. The final section is comprised of two chapters that cap the book well with stark examples of formal and informal mentoring. The first example involves an academic program that utilizes executives in a particular field to mentor graduate students. The second example presents women who bond as doctoral classmates and informally dedicate themselves to deep friendships and support for each other beyond graduation. The sections collectively give the reader an excellent spectrum on the use of mentoring in education.

Although the chapter distribution is heavily skewed with respect to the section topics, the use of both research-based practice and experiential narratives to exemplify the meaningfulness of mentoring is balanced. The chapter that delves into the faculty peer mentoring model used at the University of Rhode Island is exceptionally compelling. It not only showcases the theory informing the program but also outlines the best practices that emerge from research. The chapter titled “Clinical Educators’ Implementation of a Mentoring Model” is phenomenal. It provides readers a great deal of research addressing clinical educators who assist pre-service teachers navigating science standards. The chapter demonstrates the practical and academic necessity of mentoring while concurrently illustrating how its impact could be measured. These examples give practitioners, leaders, and educators a solid framework to create their own mentoring tools. The information contained in the chapters is valuable and may inform individuals within organizations as they effectively think through their current structures and develop plans for future implementation of mentoring programs.

The science of mentoring is crucial in our continued comprehension of the phenomena; however, it is always the human connection that fuels, drives, and sustains the process. The chapters titled “She’s Younger Than Me,” “Three Ds on Mentoring,” and “Sisters Without Borders” do a masterful job at tapping into the voices of individuals involved in the mentoring process. They breathe life into the book’s discourse on mentoring while also adhering to the scope, depth, and meaningfulness of the mentorship experience. These pieces remind us that it is those lives that are positively impacted through mentoring that make it such a critical element to the human development process.

Mentoring in Formal and Informal Contexts attempts to heighten our understanding of mentoring in the field of education. It prompts us to truly view the environment where we exist, the people with whom we interact, and the organizational structures within which we work as components that can enhance the mentoring process. The book provides an abundance of data and storylines to support fervent investment in mentoring programs. Administrators could learn much from this book about innovative ways to capitalize on individuals’ experiences while building their self-efficacy and productivity. Faculty members could learn a great deal about what they need to prepare themselves to become skilled mentors to their students and evolve into supportive peer mentors to their colleagues. Students could (a) learn how the mentoring process operates, (b) recognize that fellow classmates can be excellent peer mentors, and (c) become cognizant of the pressures and inadequacies faculty members experience in aspiring to be meaningful mentors for their students.

What becomes clear in this book is that regardless of the nature of any educational organization, individuals are constantly striving for more meaningful ways to mentor. The text is rife with scenarios, formalized approaches, programs, narratives, and anecdotes with mentoring at their core. Readers will come away with multiple ways to support, implement, improve, engage, assess, re-assess, and sustain meaningful mentoring in educational settings. The content sparks innovative approaches and should encourage leaders in the field to seriously consider mentoring as a vehicle to not only develop individuals but also significantly enhance the workplace. Each chapter wonderfully takes the audience to a different world for the enjoyment of the reader. Mentoring in Formal and Informal Contexts admirably attempts to cover both formal and informal methods of mentoring and should be a staple in any researcher’s, administrator’s, or faculty member’s library.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: November 28, 2016
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 21747, Date Accessed: 5/28/2022 9:40:34 AM

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About the Author
  • Dave Louis
    Texas Tech University
    E-mail Author
    DAVE LOUIS is an Associate Professor of Higher Education at Texas Tech University. His research agenda is centered on cross-cultural mentoring. His primary research strand explores the experiences of mentoring dyads within in the university environment and the cultivation of social capital of mentees towards successful outcomes. Understanding and enhancing the socio-cultural differences among individuals of differing ethnicities, genders, and backgrounds, as they work together in classrooms or through research partnerships, is the crux of his agenda. Understanding these complexities can lend itself to the development of strategies for faculty to become more efficient and engaged in their mentoring relationships, which subsequently benefits studentsí experiences. His most recent articles have been published in Journal of Black Studies, International Journal of Multicultural Education, and Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice.
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