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Mentoring Teaching Strategies to Increase Graduation Rates

Janelle Cox

When it comes to young people succeeding in school, mentoring may just be the answer. Imagine if you were a child who was bullied, or had a hard time with academics, and on top of that you didn’t have a caring adult to support you. Your world would be crashing down around you, and you wouldn’t have the wherewithal or the support that you need to make good decisions, like staying in school.

Education experts agree that mentoring may be among the teaching strategies young students need in order to prevent high school dropout rates. Teaching strategies including this one-on-one interaction with an adult can make a world of difference the lives of troubled students.

Teaching Strategies: The Importance of High School Mentors

According to David Shapiro, the CEO of The National Mentoring Partnership, mentoring should be a basic need just as health care is. Having that consistent support is essential if we want to see the dropout rates decrease.

Experts agree that mentors can help shape a student’s outcome. According to a report published in January 2014 by The National Mentoring Partnership, mentoring improves relations among schools and adults, lowers dropout rates, improves student attendance, inspires more students to go on to college, and helps students have higher self-esteem and better behavior.

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Shapiro says what students soon realize after having that support system is that they do actually care that people want them to succeed, although it may not be clear in the beginning.

School counselors play a huge role in shaping student outcomes on campus. Although the average American school counselor is said to be responsible for upwards of about 470 students (250 students per counselor is recommended), their job is to be a role model and support system for all students. With the national average being significantly higher than the recommended average, a school counselor’s interaction between students suggests there is little to no interaction at all. At many schools a guidance counselor’s main focus is to get students college ready, and if students are not interested in college, then they get left by the wayside.  

Who Can Benefit from Mentoring?

All young people can benefit from the positive effects of a mentoring program, but at-risk students are said to need it the most. These populations include the LGBTQ community, youths from foster care or single-family homes, children of veterans or of low-income households, or students of immigrants or incarcerated parents. These populations can be in greater need of the benefits that a mentoring program can provide.

Implementing Mentoring Programs

Research shows that in order to increase the odds that students will graduate, you have to implement a mentoring program in a responsible and effective way. Mentoring provides an alternative for students whose parents can’t give them the support that they need at home. In order to build an effective mentoring program at school, you need to recruit mentors. This can be peer mentors and/or adult mentors. Adult mentors have the experience and knowledge that they can “Pass on” to the students, while a peer mentor may not have the experience of an adult, so they would need extra training and support on how to help others.

Mentoring programs can happen before, during, or after school hours. Mentors typically meet with their mentee about once a week and during that time they do activities together. These activities typically include doing homework, doing group activities with their peers, talking, practicing stress-relieving techniques, or going for a walk.

Everyone needs a role model in his life, someone to look up to for guidance and support; Someone who is there for them and who they can lean on in any time of need. Unfortunately, not everyone has this kind of support system, and that is why we have mentors. The presence of a caring adult can make a world of difference in the life of a student. Mentoring has powerful benefits that can make a difference in a student that wants to drop out of school. To ensure that dropout rates decrease in America, all schools must give the support student need to thrive and succeed in school and beyond.

Do you have mentoring program in school district? If so, what is it like? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below, we would love to heat your thoughts on this topic.

Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.