Source: Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, Vol. 19, No. 3, August 2011, 301–317.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The authors explore the experiences of sixth grade students who participated in the Chapel Buddy program.
This program pairs sixth graders with kindergarten students in order to ease the transition to kindergarten and middle school.
It is the sixth graders’ duty to pick up their kindergarten Chapel Buddy before chapel three times per week, escort them hand-in-hand to chapel, and guide them through the various chapel services.
The sixth graders and their buddies also participate in regularly scheduled activities throughout the year including creating life size drawings of the kindergartners, writing letters to Santa, and so on.
The authors examine the perspectives of sixth grade students related to two aspects of their participation in the Chapel Buddy program as mentors:
1. How do the sixth grade students understand their roles as mentors?
2. How do mentors characterize mentee relationship changes over time?
The participants were 31 sixth grade students enrolled in an independent co-educational kindergarten through eighth grade school in a mid-sized city in the Southeast.
Results indicated that reflecting on their experiences allowed the students to articulate the benefits and challenges of mentoring a younger child.
Furthermore, it was found that the students’ understanding of the mentoring role evolved and matured over the course of the year.
In addition, an overall lack of consensus was found among the sixth graders concerning their role as a Chapel Buddy.
The participants in the Chapel Buddy program did not receive formal preparation for their role as mentor.
However, role clarification prior to the beginning of the mentoring program could address confusion.
Results also indicated that the ability to form an effective relationship with their mentees was the primary factor that influenced the value and satisfaction of the mentors’ experience.
The relationship with their mentee was the source of both the best part and worst part of being a Chapel Buddy.
The authors conclude that the Chapel Buddy program is an example of a low-cost intervention that offers educators many rich opportunities to engage students and promote social competence.