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Mentoring students.

Does mentoring our students is a good way to improve retention?

Great question!?!

Maybe I'm wrong but, I think that depending upon the students urgency to complete their education and become successful is part of the mentoring process.

What do you think?

I think so. Mentoring students and being supportive is a very important role. As instructors we not only teach the lesson plan, but we are also looked up to with respect. Students listen to us if we show them we truely care. Mentoring, teaching, supporting, caring, inspiring, motivating, empowering, and molding are all a part of our jobs as instructors.

Again, nicely said Katayoun. It's an incredibly difficult job, but certainly can be one of the most rewarding jobs a person could have.

I agree. Mentoring can be very effective in students that are goal oriented and want a change in their lives.
Do you think it would be helpful with "trouble" students?

Miriam, in my experience “trouble” students are frequently ones who have not been successful in a classroom setting before and who don't have good role models to help them understand what it takes to be successful. Arguably, these circumstances make them prime candidates for effective mentoring. They also tend to resist these efforts because they are suspicious of the mentors motives.

It is not a big deal to guide and teach a student who is already doing good and is achieving on their own? We tend to award ourselves and take the credit for those students who are already doing well. I think we as instructors we are only sucessful at our jobs if we can help the ones who truely need our help and are not doing well, which is a very hard task don't you think?

Absolutely, it's the trouble student that we must aim to help. The rest of the students just need tools and doors to open up for them and they'll do the walking on their own. Why should we take credit for their own achievements? It's the trouble student the needs someone to truely care enough to help them succeed. Troubled students are "troubled" not because they chose to be, but because of their backgrounds and their self esteem/self confidence.

It's a very hard job, Katy. While it's a joy to work with good students, for me the greatest personal reward came from seeing people of modest ability master the skills they needed to start a career. Often they are also the school's greatest promoters.

Every minute of every class is a form of mentoring students.Every yawn or classroom movement should be monitored to determine student interest and learning. Deviations from normal patterns should be investigated with the students and adjustments made where necessary. The bottom line is to get to know your students!

It's an enormous responsibility, Richard, but closely monitoring behavioral changes in students can yield great results.

I'd be interested to learn if peer mentoring would be a benefit to our students. Because our students enter programs at different times, some may feel "behind" & never feel like they can catch up. For instance, it is possible in a medical office specialist program that the medical terminology course may fall toward the end of the program. The sense of not learning a "foreign language" may over power a student - but, if they have a peer mentor who has completed that course, they may receive the guidance that they need to get thru the program.

Lisa, I don't have any direct experience with a peer mentor program as you have outlined, but it certainly makes sense to provide students with as much support as possible. How difficult would it be to pilot a program with a section or two of your students? Hopefully, other participants with share their experience.

I believe that mentoring is very important. If a student meets and interacts with a former successful student;especially in there chosen field of study,the student can better visualize there own success.I have found that having former students come back to speak about their experiences is a great retention tool.

Having graduates return to the classroom, particularly if they are “typical” students rather than the “stars” that everyone knew would be successful, can be very powerful. However, I would be careful in selecting the graduate. We tend to think first of the most successful ones. However, your current students may more readily relate to a returning student who shares their background, had to overcome some of the same problems they are facing and got a good job [vs. a great one].

I agree that there are special students that need more of a helping hand. The trick is to keep it on a professional level without getting more involved with one student than you do with the rest. They all deserve our attention.

I feel that mentoring is an excellent way to improve retentiion. It gives them confidence and undersatanding which is important.

How do you define mentoring, Marion? Does it include non-academic issues? Do you engage other students as mentors?

it gives students extra help that is needed for achievement outstanding

Rodney, how do you coordinate this extra help?

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