Academic journal article Education

Online Mentoring for Hispanic Female Pre-Service Teachers: Perceptions of Use and Performance Changes

Academic journal article Education

Online Mentoring for Hispanic Female Pre-Service Teachers: Perceptions of Use and Performance Changes

Article excerpt

Introduction and Review of Literature

While teaching undergraduate online classes of future teachers at the University of Texas at El Paso, a border university located within two blocks of Mexico, many requests for help came from the pre-service teachers enrolled in the methods classes. Online learners (Hispanic females) responded to participate in mentoring. This study explores the types and elements of mentoring that are most desired and effective for the population.

Much has been written and said about the current and projected growth of the Mexican American population. One particular area of interest is the impact of population growth on the demographics of postsecondary education in the United States (Quintana, Vogel, & Ybarra, 1991). For Mexican Americans, who constitute the majority of the U.S. Hispanic population, a postsecondary degree is a critical route to achieving parity, which in turn facilitates inclusion into positions of social, economic, and political power in the broader U.S. society (Apple, 1990).

Okagaki, Frensch, and Gordon (1995) revealed that parents are primary mentors and may affect student motivation for school achievement by setting high standards for performance, emphasizing that learning in school is important for other areas of life, and modeling use of school-related skills. The support of family, and especially their mothers, allows Hispanic women to feel somewhat as ease with actions that a Hispanic woman from a more traditional family would usually not have taken. Also, certain environmental resources such as external sources of information, support, and positive affective feedback indicate that mentoring Hispanic women would be a worthwhile endeavor.

C. S. Duff (1999) states that women need women as mentors because only women can truly empathize with the experience of being a woman. With women mentors women we can act and feel and give as their true selves. In return, they will grow in confidence, strength, and accomplishment. With woman mentors students can dialogue all aspects of their lives. Empathy is there because she will have faced similar choices. Women mentors will share what they have learned and are still learning, honing the abilities and the focus that provide work satisfaction, performance, and life rewards. Most women who mentor will become vested in the mentee's achievement and success. Later, the mentee will extend mentoring to others and consequently build a women's network based on mutual learning, caring, support, and encouragement O'Neill (2002) discusses multicultural mentoring. As issues of race and ethnicity have become increasingly important in business, so too have they appeared with increasing frequency on the research agendas of academics (Caruso, 1992; Catalyst, 1993). Mentees may feel more suspicious of and behave more awkwardly around senior people who differ from them than around senior people who resembled them. However, the uniting of people with diverse backgrounds into developmental relationships can encourage all parties to bring more of themselves to work, which in turn can facilitate productive questioning and problem-solving. Erkut and Mokros (1984) studied professors qualities and skills students considered important for mentoring. Women choose female faculty as models to the extent that women are available on campus. Men on the other hand, avoid female models. They prefer high status, powerful male models who can promote their educational or career goals. Women, especially those choosing female models, look for the information that it is possible to combine a rewarding professional and family life.

Eby et al (2000) researched negative mentoring experiences and found problem areas of matching mentor and mentee, distancing behavior, manipulative behavior, lack of mentor expertise, and general dysfiinctionality. Mentees were more likely to report that their mentor had dissimilar attitudes, values, and beliefs when describing their most negative mentoring relationship compared to their most positive mentoring relationship. …

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