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									Improving Student Performance through Mentoring

Mentoring is an important aspect of schooling, although it is often
neglected, even by educators themselves. Although many students often do
well without extra assistance, they can do so through extra effort and
work on their part. Many students, however, either lack the opportunity
or the will to perform better. As a result, they often require mentoring
in schools.

Beyond academics
Many experts also believe that mentoring can make a difference for
students who are exposed to unreliable and even risky influences, such as
those that push them to abuse drugs, become sexually active too early,
experience early pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. Some
students may also be exposed to delinquency, truancy and even violence.
With the right mentoring programs, exposure of students and other youths
from these risks may be reduced or even eliminated.

Implementing mentoring programs in schools
Although recognized as an important part of certain academic processes,
mentoring remains as one of the least understood practices in many
educational institutions. If not implemented properly, it can become
under-utilized, mismanaged or even turn out to be a costly yet
ineffective endeavor. To ensure success in the use of mentoring programs
in schools, certain considerations must be kept in mind:

Proper planning
The goal of mentoring is to improve student performance in schools and
ensure that they are well-prepared for interaction with their social
environments. It is important that an organization understands what they
wish to attain through their mentoring programs by ensuring that
qualitative and quantitative standards are in place.

Goals and objectives of the mentoring program must also be specific and
well-structured to allow those implementing it to determine if the
procedures are being followed. This is important if compliance is an

Building the core group or staff
A mentoring program within a school will be more effective if a central
core of educators is on hand to design, implement and assess it. This
will help ensure a well-organized program that is easy to monitor and

Recruitment of mentors
The type of mentors to be chosen for the program is indicative of its
success. Mentors may be selected through volunteer programs, where other
students and even members of the faculty can sign up for the task or
through active recruitment wherein mentors may be sought out and asked to
join. If necessary, other members of the community may also be tapped.

A set of qualifications may be set in order for mentors to meet quality
standards and help streamline the application process.
Screening for mentors
The next step in creating a mentoring program for schools is to screen
the mentors for eligibility. After reviewing the applications, the core
group can begin interviewing the mentor applicants to determine their fit
in the program. This is especially important if there are certain
activities that may require extra tasks for the mentors or the mentees.
If certain activities off-campus are required, for example, students may
have to involve parental permission in order to participate.

Training for mentors
An important part of a mentoring program is mentor training. Just
because a person is qualified does not make him a perfect candidate for
mentorship. He or she must be able to understand the goals of the
program. He must also be informed about certain limitations and
boundaries he must work in. Certain communication skills must also be
checked or improved if necessary.

Matching mentors with mentees
As one of the final steps for implementing a program for mentoring in
schools, pairing mentors with mentees can be a challenge. However, it is
important that this is considered carefully. There are no set standards
about pairing but most experts suggest it's best to consider personality
and mentoring styles in order to create a perfect match. If a certain
match proves to be bad, corrections must be implemented immediately.

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