MENTORS AS MEDIATORS AND SIGNIFICANT ADULTS:THE ROLE OF MENTORS AND THEIR INFLUENCE IN THE CZECH AND SWEDISH MENTORING RELATIONSHIPS

Diploma

Abstract

 

The purpose of the study is to find the mentoring relationship characterisctics, qualitative features of the relationship, the roles of mentors in the relationships, and the styles of approach to the child. Mentors´ dilemmas in the relationship are also analyzed. Finally, the comparison of two different mentoring programs´ settings is done. 

The qualitative semi structured interviews were used as a method. Interviews were conducted in Sweden and in the Czech republic with 9 mentors from three mentoring programs and with the 3 coordinators of the programs. The perspective of the mediated learning experience (MLE) was used for the analysis of the relationship qualitative features. 

Firstly, I found out that the emotional bond in the relationship play the key important mediating role in the development of the other qualitative features.  The presence of mentors´ involvement was found as a first necessary condition for establishing the emotional bond between mentee and mentor. The connectedness was the first characteristical feature of the beginning of involvement. Connectedness was found as possibly beneficial level of quality, based on the presence of the involvement.

Secondly, the role of guide and counselor and the feeling of closeness and trust, relaxed atmosphere in the relationship, the mutual enjoyment, based on the mentors´ motivation and satisfaction was found as a second qualitative condition – the motivation of mentor for mediation of meaning. 

Thirdly, mentors´ approach to the child was found as qualitative, if it was the commited, respectfull, mutually cooperative, explaining and discussing approach in communication, based on the involvement. In that cases the third qualitative feature was fulfilled – transcendence of meaning. The child-oriented approach was found as most efficient according to MLE. The intentional approach was found as a negative style with the lack of the involvement. 

Fourthly, the main difference between the Czech and Swedish program was found in the roles o mentors. The dilemmas of mentors are linked to the programs´ conceptions of their roles. 

In conclusion, the relationship with the attributes of MLE was found with the feature of closeness and trust, strong emotional bond, enthusiasm and satisfaction of mentors. 

The qualitative style of mentors seems to use the natural skills of mentors in the communication with children. However, the emotional bond, which is present in the relationship on the level of connectedness, seems to be potentionally beneficial for the child through the principles of symbolic interaction and role-taking. The quality and consistency of such a benefits, based on the mentors’ involvement only is the subject of the further research.

Introduction

In the field of social work there are many kinds of interventions in the child welfare area, which search to achieve the child welfare. The methods and interventions can be preventive or focused to cure the consequences of the social problems concerning to the children. One of the interventions in the child welfare is a mentoring. 

Mentoring is a socially-preventive intervention, based on the idea of the importance of the significant adults in the secondary socialization of the child. It became popular in the 1980´s in USA and since that time it has been spread in Europe and other parts of the world. The intervention is based on creating the friendly one-to-one relationship of an older experienced adult and a younger mentee. The intervention foster the lack of natural social networks in the post-modern society and takes part in the secondary socialization of the children and youth. The aims of intervention can differ according to the different mentoring programs´ conceptions of the mentors´ roles, the aims of intervention and the needs of the children. 

The mentoring intervention is observable from three different levels. On the structural level we can research the political conditions and the legal framework for its´ settings.  On the organisational level the research concerns to the mentoring programs´ structure and its aims, conception and efficacy. The individual level is focused on the mentoring relationship. 

I have been interested in the issue of mentoring relationship as I used to be a mentor in the mentoring program Pět P (5P) in Prague for 3 years. I have written the bachelor thesis about the mentoring programs´ outcomes on the organisational level and found out that the key role in the quality and efficacy of the mentoring program play the quality of mentoring relationship.  Therefore I decided to continue in studying this issue on the individual level and I focused on the examination of mentoring relationship and its´ qualitative features. 

Studying the mentoring relationship on the individual level can explore the experiences of mentors and mentees and the forms and characteristics of the mentoring relationships. This study is focused on the individual level of mentoring relationship and on exploring the experience from the mentoring intervention from the mentor´s point of view.

In the second chapter I will introduce the aim and objectives of the study together with the research questions. I will argue the importance of research focused on the individual level.

The third chapter will introduce the historical and social background of the establishing the mentoring intervention and define the basic terms.

Chapter four will note the earlier research and the finding at the field of mentoring. 

The fifth chapter will explain the theoretical perspectives of the role of significant adults in the childs´ socialization and the concept of Mediated learning experience (MLE), which sets the attributes of quality for the mentoring relationship. 

The sixth chapter describes the methodology of the study.

In the seventh chapter begins the analytical part of the study. First analysis compares the different Czech and Swedish programs´ settings and is focus on finding the similarities and diffrences betwee these programs. Than I analyse the styles of mentors´ approaches to the children, the different roles of mentors, which mentors takes in the mentoring relationships and focus on the roles, which are connected with the qualitative mediation. Fourth part of the analyses is focused on the characteristical features of the mentoring relationships in general and on the features, which are present in the qualitative relationship in particular. Quality of the relationship is exemine according to the attributes of quality of

MLE.

The last part of the analyses examines the mentors´ dilemmas, which show the boarders of the relationships and the limits of the mentoring intervention.

Finally, the conclusion chapter describes the major finding and conclusions of the study and discuss the benefits and problems of mentoring intervention. The recommendation for the further research is made at the later point.