Science Fair Mentors: The Relationship Between Pre-Service Teacher Mentors and Elementary School Students
Date of Award
Dissertation - Restricted
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
This study examines mentorships between pre-service teachers and fourth and fifth grade students at Hudson Elementary School, an urban school with a high level of poverty. Each college mentor works with four to six elementary students to help them complete a science fair project. These group mentorships reflect a shift from the traditional one-on-one relationship. In addition, they reflect two other changes in the mentoring model, from community-based to school-based and from a focus on personal development to a focus on academics. Using a variety of interpretive and empirical-analytical data, three research questions are explored: 1) What is the nature of the mentor-mentee relationship?; 2) What is the impact of the relationship on the mentor and mentee?; and 3) What type of support do mentors need to be successful? Evidence suggests that the group mentorships result in less intense relationships than in one-on-one situations. Evidence also suggests that the science fair mentorships has varying degrees of impact on mentees, mentors, and the science fair advisors. Recommendations for supportive practice are made.