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Play, Talk, Learn: Promising Practices in Youth Mentoring: New Directions for Youth Development, Number 126

Play, Talk, Learn: Promising Practices in Youth Mentoring: New Directions for Youth Development, Number 126

Michael J. Karcher (Editor), Michael J. Nakkula (Editor)

ISBN: 978-0-470-88006-7 August 2010 Jossey-Bass 168 Pages


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This volume brings together the findings from separate studies of community-based and school-based mentoring to unpack the common response to the question of what makes youth mentoring work.

A debate that was alive in 2002, when the first New Directions for Youth Development volume on mentoring, edited by Jean Rhodes, was published, centers on whether goal-oriented or relationship-focused interactions (conversations and activities) prove to be more essential for effective youth mentoring. The consensus appeared then to be that the mentoring context defined the answer: in workplace mentoring with teens, an instrumental relationship was deemed essential and resulted in larger impacts, while in the community setting, the developmental relationship was the key ingredient of change.

Recent large-scale studies of school-based mentoring have raised this question once again and suggest that understanding how developmental and instrumental relationship styles manifest through goal-directed and relational interactions is essential to effective practice. Because the contexts in which youth mentoring occurs (in the community, in school during the day, or in a structured program after school) affect what happens in the mentor-mentee pair, our goal was to bring together a diverse group of researchers to describe the focus, purpose, and authorship of the mentoring interactions that happen in these contexts in order to help mentors and program staff better understand how youth mentoring relationships can be effective.

This is the 126th issue of New Directions for Youth Development the Jossey-Bass quarterly report series dedicated to bringing together everyone concerned with helping young people, including scholars, practitioners, and people from different disciplines and professions. The result is a unique resource presenting thoughtful, multi-faceted approaches to helping our youth develop into responsible, stable, well-rounded citizens.

Issue Editors’ Notes 1
Michael J. Karcher, Michael J. Nakkula

Executive Summary 7

1. Youth mentoring with a balanced focus, shared purpose, and collaborative interactions 13
Michael J. Karcher, Michael J. Nakkula
This article presents the framework for understanding the nature of
mentoring interactions that helps organize the other articles in this volume
in terms of their analysis of interaction focus, purpose, and authorship.

2. Mutual but unequal: Mentoring as a hybrid of familiar relationship roles 33
Thomas E. Keller, Julia M. Pryce
This article presents evidence favoring a hybrid model of relationships for
successful school-based mentoring interactions.

3. “I dunno, what do you wanna do?”: Testing a framework to guide mentor training and activity selection 51

Michael J. Karcher, Carla Herrera, Keoki Hansen
This article tests hypotheses regarding the distinction between relational
and goal-directed interactions and the importance of collaborative activity
negotiations between mentors and mentees.

4. Beyond the dichotomy of work and fun: Measuring the thorough interrelatedness of structure and quality in youth mentoring relationships 71

Michael J. Nakkula, John T. Harris
This article presents and discusses associations between match structure
(guiding purposes and activity focus) and ratings of mentoring relationship

5. GirlPOWER! Strengthening mentoring relationships through a structured, gender-specific program 89
Julia M. Pryce, Naida Silverthorn, Bernadette Sanchez, David L. DuBois
This article describes a structured approach to supporting girls through
the Big Brothers Big Sisters program that balances focus, purpose, and

6. Deconstructing serendipity: Focus, purpose, and authorship in lunch buddy mentoring 107
Timothy A. Cavell, Joye L. Henrie
This article describes the particulars of lunch buddy mentoring and the
reasons that it might be an effective form of youth mentoring.

7. The structure of effective academic mentoring in late adolescence 123
Simon Larose, Diane Cyrenne, Odette Garceau, Pascale Brodeur, George M. Tarabulsy
This article explores the structure of the academic mentoring relationship
in late adolescence through analysis of its varied experiences and mentor

8. Building mentoring relationships 141
Stephen F. Hamilton, Mary Agnes Hamilton
This first of three commentaries provides a historical perspective on the
work presented in this volume.

9. Culture, context, and innovation: A Kiwi Canuck perspective 145
Dave Marshall, Karen Shaver
Two leading practitioners discuss the benefits of the contributions in this
volume for helping mentors working with youth in Canada, New Zealand,
and other diverse contexts.

10. Structuring mentoring relationships for competence, character, and purpose 149
Jean E. Rhodes, Renée Spencer
This closing commentary addresses the importance of exploring different
approaches to youth mentoring and the potential impact of such approaches
on youth outcomes.

Index 153