The chess coach: what can we learn from mentoring as an educational process? Kate Philip, The Rowan Group CISCCON International Conference University of Aberdeen 30th August – 1st September 2007 This presentation will Explore dimensions of youth mentoring Relate these to approaches to informal education Raise questions about how mentoring processes might interact with the role of the chess coach Researching mentoring Previous work - young people’s perspectives on ‘natural mentoring’ processes Typology of informal mentoring Study of organised mentoring (Sharing a Laugh) Where has mentoring emerged from? – Arguably based on ancient myths – Waves of youth mentoring – A response to fears about and for youth – Perceived decline in intergenerational relationships and in neighbourhood – Broad appeal to a range of interests – Idea of community base and link with Puttnam’s notion of social capital What is Youth mentoring? The mentor is someone with greater experience or wisdom than the mentee. Second the mentor offers guidance or instruction that is intended to facilitate the growth and development of the mentee. Third, there is an emotional bond between mentor and mentee, a hallmark of which is a sense of trust (Dubois and Karcher, 2005:3) Themes A ‘protective’ factor or a ‘steeling mechanism (resilience) A consistent and continuing presence (attachment) A guide, adviser, broker, supporter (social support) Community based (ecological) Informal Education Emphasis on dialogue between teachers and learners and learners themselves Experiential and grounded A co-operative process Aim of critical reflection Mentoring – informal education You do the stuff that you are meant to do but with (the mentor) it is different and you’re doing it because you want to A starting point for educational processes to begin Negotiated agenda and boundaries A bridge to new experiences and sometimes social worlds (for mentors and mentees) A catalyst to build up new skills A means of ensuring compliance or critical thinking? Informal and Formal mentoring Distinction between informal mentoring and formal mentoring Both have educational aims although these are often implicit Planned mentoring often explicitly based on a deficit model of young people Informal Mentoring Active participation Resolving conflict, renegotiating relationships, trying out new identity A ‘safe setting’ in which to take risks in learning – leaving the ‘baggage behind’ Chess as a starting point? Mentoring Classic Individual/ Best Peer Long term Forms Team Friend Group ‘risky adult’ Gender Male Female Female Both Both Context Home Youth Home Street Home and street based Groups based Life Empathy Acceptance Rehearsa Managing Recognition events Recognition of peer l reputations and life crises Of Group for action Identity aspiration and Lifestyle to role Youth models Culture values Qualities Advisory, Mentors Recipro Reciprocity Reciprocity Sought guide, Empatheti city And and /identified outsider c And equality Non equ conformity ality Findings: formal mentoring Many in the sample had poor educational experiences and were excluded from mainstream Mentoring offered some young people a means of developing alternative forms of relationship Successful mentors went beyond traditional professional boundaries The importance of relationship Reciprocity – sharing a laugh A voluntary relationship Negotiating boundaries and agendas An alternative to sometimes difficult peer and family relationships Qualities of trust, shared interests, challenge and respect ted unity behavi ours Underlying Deficit model of Remedy absence Deficit model: lack Disruptive/ Yp alienated assu yp/family of or missed social capital challenging from mptio opportunities and access behavi mainstr ns to build to networks. our eam expertise often commu linked nity – to often school linked s with (i) Theoretical Attachment Mentoring as Ecology of Cognitive Ecology of frame theory/res ‘professional development behavi develo work ilience/so friendship’- Social capital and oural pment; – cial Youth transitions social therapy Attachment; (expli capital Social support inclusion ; resilien cit or (bridging) resilien ce; implic /develop ce; it) mental social psych capital Target Children from ‘underachievin ‘underachieving’ NEET; Yp from Groups single disadvantaged, Possible school substa margin (mentees) parent potentially at risk, problems, nce alised family; esp young poor misuse groups isolated men background rs, yp eg yp; in minorit known crimina y family l justice ethnic difficulties system Target Male ‘role Volunteers and Volunteers ideally volunteers to ‘community’ group models’ sometime with business comple membe s favoured paid staff. background/k ment rs – (ment but Skills in key nowledge. work of often ors) majority areas, ability Complement paid unclear women to relate to work of paid staff which yp staff commu nity Strategies Building social Develop Link with Confidence/r Confidence, skills relationship individuals/ag esilienc solidari via shared encies and e, ty, interest/activ young explore strengt But caution needed Moving on and moving out Coercive mentoring and ‘unfriendly contexts’ Unsuccessful mentoring can undermine confidence and capacity A ‘risky’ process for all involved Building a mentor rich environment Assumption that young people have few opportunities to develop informal relationships with adults Capitalising on shared interests and capacities Offering a link between individual and group Need for longitudinal insights Mentoring and coaching What does youth mentoring have to offer in this field? – Mentoring as an educational intervention – The importance of relationships to learning – A community based approach – Links with coaching practices Mentoring and chess Does chess playing offer a means of engaging with young people who may wish a mentor? To what extent should peer mentoring be developed within chess playing groups? Could chess playing offer a setting in which mentoring relationships could be developed for excluded young people?