Investigating the role of learning mentors in primary schools

Butterfield, Jean (2012) Investigating the role of learning mentors in primary schools. EdD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis is the result of an investigation into the use of the learning mentor support mechanism in primary schools in England. Learning mentoring is designed to reduce barriers to learning in individual children. This research was devised to enhance current knowledge of the learning mentor process and practices, and the impact of mentoring programmes on pupils.

The research approach was qualitative, involving six case studies of children being mentored in three schools. The research design included part-structured interviews with: the child; his/her mentor; class teacher and parent. Interviews were undertaken before and after the execution of learning mentor programmes. Additional data were generated by direct observation of the interaction of learning mentors and mentees, and documentary evidence was examined. Each case study was analysed and cross-case and cross-setting analyses undertaken.

Improvement for the participant mentees related to social, emotional and behavioural factors. The learning mentor role was not always clearly defined but reflected the culture of each school, the personal characteristics of each mentor and the relationships within each mentor/mentee pair. Mentoring programmes were unique to each mentee’s needs. Impact was slow in all six cases and was facilitated or hindered by: relationships; time; the mentor undertaking multiple roles; and the expectations of the wider school staff.

The significance of my analysis stresses the importance of the triangle of influence of the child/school/parent in aiding a child in school. Aspects of mentoring which could be more closely attended to by schools in order to provide best learning mentoring practice were: mentors identifying strategies; the mixing of curriculum with social/emotional/behavioural targets; liaison with families; communication with the wider school staff; and the involvement of mentees in their own mentoring goals. Mentoring styles centred on the mentor, curriculum or the mentee and related to the leadership styles identified in the schools.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (EdD)
Supervisors: Hobson, A. J.
Youens, B.N.
Keywords: Mentoring, learning, elementary schools, England
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Education
Item ID: 12761
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2012 09:37
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2018 09:10

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