Mentoring for Social Inclusion: A Critical Approach to Nurturing Mentor Relationships

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RoutledgeFalmer, 2003 - Education - 196 pages
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What does mentoring really mean? What can be achieved through mentor relationships?
This timely book examines one of the fastest growing social movements of our time. As millions of volunteers worldwide continue to add to the mentoring phenomenon, the need for this authoritative text becomes increasingly evident. It capably traces the history of mentoring, unravelling the many myths that surround it, with a combination of intellectual rigour, insight and lucid discussions.
The author draws upon detailed case studies, providing a unique and vivid account of mentoring through the voices of the participants themselves. These eye-opening narratives reveal the complex power dynamics of the mentor relationship, giving the reader the chance to:
* Contextualise mentoring against the background policy driven schemes and social inequalities;
* Look beyond the popular myths of self-sacrificing and devoted mentors, and understand the emotional cost of mentoring;
* Appreciate young people's view of mentoring and recognise the benefits and the counterproductive outcomes it can produce;
* Reflect on a range of models of mentoring, and consider policies to support good practice.
The strength of this book lies in the author's ability to present complex material in a highly readable form. It offers a radically new theoretical analysis of mentoring, based on award-winning research, arguing that mentoring cannot be separated from the wider power relations that surround those involved. For anyone with a professional commitment or link to mentoring, including managers, practitioners and policy-makers, this is an essential, incomparable read.

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A review of the first two chapters of " Mentoring for Social Inclusion - a critical approach to nurturing a mentoring relationship" By Helen Colley Helen Colley allows the reader to review mentoring while being able to examine the new policy schemes in place. These text looks beyond popular beliefs of mentoring, looking deeper into the social and emotional costs and benefits of mentoring. Showing both the positive and negative aspects of mentoring, on the mentee and society at large, referencing several case studies in support of her ideas and ideals. In the first chapter Colley opens with the North American group big brothers, big sisters and how mentoring as a whole has developed across America, and the UK in the past decade, examining the history and international progress of mentoring. Colley tells the reader of countries implementing the scheme and of countries in may well help. She then goes on to discuss the funding made available by the British government and support given to the mentoring scheme by them. Colley looks at the funding from both sides and question's weather it is enough and broaches the question of mentoring being the new labours cheep, quick fix to a larger social problem. The chapter then goes on to show the size of mentoring by listing the mentoring organisations such as the Institute of Career Guidance (ICG), Mentoring Action Project (MAP), National Mentoring Network (NMN) and Youth start. Colley then looks briefly at the structure behind these groups and what their short and long term aims are, and the solution to social exclusion in youth starts documentation. From this Colley swiftly moves to trying to define a mentor providing several definitions, though she finds herself unable to answer her own question. So progresses onto the role of the mentor and in turn the aims of a mentor. Globalisation is covered and its affects on youth and youth transitions in to the working environment from school. Touching on the new technologies, the dominance of the service sector, the decline in manufacturing and the increase in economic competition. Post - Fordism is mentioned as with the new change in what employers are looking for, concentrating on the Key Skills or transferable skills and the positive outlook on work and society. Colley looks at how these affect employability and how the new labour government intends to use mentoring to lower the number of unemployed by encouraging education and progression into the labour market. From this Colley then goes on to look deeper into the policy and initiatives brought about by this new government. Colley shows us how the new labour government appears to be aiming to use mentoring as a way of introducing the self-excluded back to full time education and employment. Concentrating less on the so-called soft aims of mentoring such as increasing self-esteem, self-image and self-confidence. In the second chapter Colley looks at the functions and relationships in mentoring while trying to establish if mentoring should be defined by the context of its situation. She looks back on previous definitions given and asks why mentoring is believed to provide such a good and positive outcome. Colley uses research in abundance to try and locate evidence of positive outcomes, Yet it remains that the bias of research is their, as many areas of research in mentoring have been untouched; such as looking at negative results from mentoring. Colley complains of this indicating that the bias is ignored as mentoring creates such a feel good factor that society does not wish to let go of. Other issues within mentoring are those of power and gender Colley brings these to a front showing the use of power within the mentoring relationship and how it should develop healthily from a teacher learner process to that of peer mentoring with each considering the other as an equal. When looking at gender Colley comments on how stereotyped the mentoring role is with in, careers guidance and youth workers and how females are viewed as the nurturing caring figures 

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About the author (2003)

Dr Helen Colley is Senior Research Fellow at the Lifelong Learning Institute, University of Leeds and a Fellow of the National Institute of Careers Education and Counselling

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