Developing Mentoring Curriculum Using High-Quality Curriculum and Instruction Principles: Guiding Facilitators to Nurture Adolescent Girls' Potential

Capper, Marla, Educational Psychology - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Tomlinson, Carol, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia


Dr. Carol A. Tomlinson, Advisor

Kuperminc and Thomason (2013), experts in the field of mentoring have identified a shortage of programmatic resources for group mentoring in the area of curriculum facilitation. They have also identified a need for training and support for mentoring group facilitators. This investigation was a pragmatic response to a need identified by Edith “Winx” Lawrence, Director of The Young Women Leaders Program, a mentoring intervention for at-risk adolescent girls founded at the University of Virginia that uses a combined one-on-one and group mentoring approach. Qualitative research methods were employed to determine what curricular materials the mentoring group facilitators needed to lead flexibly and thoughtfully, with the goal of bringing out the best in the at-risk, adolescent girls serving as mentees in their groups.

Based on the findings, in addition to the curriculum and instruction literature, materials were created to scaffold group facilitators with their implementation of the mentoring curriculum. The study also examined the usefulness and relevance of the materials created to guide the mentoring group facilitators. Observations, interviews, and both written and verbal feedback were collected throughout the Pre-Pilot, Pilot 1, and Pilot 2 phases of the investigation.
Pre-Pilot findings’ suggested that facilitators needed support in the implementation of the curriculum in five specific ways: 1) understanding the intentions of each mentoring lesson and activity, 2) managing the group, 3) creating alternatives to activities, 4) determining a common vocabulary, and 5) discovering ways to empower mentors to take on leadership roles in the group.

Based on the findings from the Pre-Pilot, in addition to the literature surrounding to two frameworks: The Classroom Assessment Scoring System-Secondary (CLASS-S) (Pianta, Hamre, Mintz, 2012) and Differentiation (Tomlinson, 1999). I constructed nine Principles of High-Quality Curriculum and Instruction that informed the product of my capstone--Facilitators’ Implementation Guide (FIG), which was intended to scaffold facilitators’ implementation of the mentoring curriculum.

Pilot 1 revealed five findings: 1) Ease of use would be improved if the guide were integrated into the existing 7th Grade Curriculum Handbook (physically into the spiral) and integrated into the facilitator class. The FIG needed to be incorporated into the facilitator class more consistently and facilitators should be expected to read and use the guide for implementation, and even reflect on it as part of class. 2) Most of the content in the guide was relevant and extremely practical, but it could be condensed. The aspects that were too theoretical could be eliminated. 3) Unless the facilitators read the guide they were unclear about the objectives or goals for each Mentoring Meeting and therefore allowing the mentees to determine the direction of the group without knowing what is important to uncover during their time together. 4) Facilitators did not necessarily have information or understanding about how to make the curriculum relevant or engaging for the mentors or mentees. 5) Facilitators incorporated benchmarks with a likert scale to determine their growth and assess how they obtained the objectives each week or periodically.
Pilot 2 findings suggested that the Facilitators’ Implementation Guide (FIG) was relevant and useful. Facilitators responded favorably to using the guide although they expressed that they needed additional training on how to use the FIG properly and efficiently and that sometimes it felt too “academic.” They expressed a need for additional support on how to get their mentees more engaged and moving around the room. The Facilitators’ Implementation Guide and the Principles of High-Quality Curriculum and Instruction represent a response to Kuperminc and Thomason’s (2013) appeal for resources for group mentoring programs and a method to applying well-establish literature from curriculum and instruction to the mentoring field

EDD (Doctor of Education)
curriculum, instruction, mentoring, adolescent girls, potential, high-quality curriculum and instruction
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