Preparing Mentors to Enhance Their Mentee’s Academic Engagement

Posted by eporter on December 19, 2023

Preparing Mentors to Enhance Their Mentee’s Academic Engagement

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the transition to online learning posed significant challenges to students and teachers. Schools and students are still struggling to recover from the loss of in-person learning opportunities and the negative impacts that the pandemic had on students’ and staff’s school engagement, mental health, and daily lives. A recent NWEA report showed that students are learning at a slower rate than before the pandemic, resulting in tremendous learning losses. Student test scores are repeatedly lower than normal, tutoring is reaching only a small subset of students, and school attendance is markedly low.

Mentoring programs may be able to boost academic engagement by providing students with opportunities to learn and benefit from a relationship with a caring, responsible mentor. When mentors are prepared with high-quality, pre-match training, they may be able to enhance students’ academic success by helping their mentees believe that they can grow and learn, feel connected to their school, and transform aspirations into achievable goals and plans. Mentoring Central created a web-based, interactive training program, Promoting Enhanced Resilience & Learning (PERL), to prepare mentors to begin a relationship with their mentee and equip them with strategies to help their mentee grow and learn in school.

PERL translates the latest research on the factors that positively influence school functioning into practical strategies that mentors can easily learn and use in their everyday interactions to create teachable moments with their mentee. The program highlights strategies to help mentors strengthen their mentees’ growth mindset, goal-setting skills, and school engagement. By participating in the training, mentors learn what a growth mindset is and discover how to identify and encourage a growth mindset in their mentees. When mentors help their mentees believe that they can grow and learn, mentees may feel more motivated to set goals for themselves, complete their schoolwork, and attend class. In addition, the program emphasizes the importance of goal setting and teaches new mentors a variety of ways to apply goal-setting and planning strategies in their interactions with their mentees. These strategies may help mentees transform their aspirations into achievable plans. Furthermore, the program provides mentors with actionable strategies to increase their mentees’ school engagement throughout the mentoring relationship. When mentees feel connected in their school, they may be more likely to participate fully in school activities and reap the benefits of their schoolwork.

The PERL program includes engaging animations and videos, matching activities, reinforcing interactive exercises, and virtual role-play scenarios, so mentors can practice and retain the skills they learn throughout the course. Learners can download tip sheets to keep to help remember new information and remind them to use strategies they learned throughout the course in their day-to-day interactions with their mentee. The course can be completed on a computer, tablet, or mobile device in approximately 1-1.5 hours, and mentors can stop and start when they want. The course remembers their progress, and they can pick up where they let off when they return to the course in the future. The PERL course is self-paced, so mentors can access or review the course when it is convenient for them. Mentors and mentoring program staff that have used the PERL training program have reported overwhelmingly positive experiences with the training and believe the course effectively prepares mentors to build their mentees’ positive attitudes toward success in school and life.

“PERL’s real-life, practical tools of building a growth mindset, working on achievable goals and planning for them, and emotionally engaging in school are powerful…If I were a mentor just starting to build a relationship with a mentee, the PERL course would give me the clearest understanding of what I need to actually SAY and DO to help my mentee.” – Greg Ingle, Executive Director, Youth Wise

Ready to start providing the PERL program to mentors in your program, so you can set mentees up for success? Visit our website to get started.