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Cindy Fair co-authors two journal articles with Elon alumni

Associate professor Cynthia Fair, chair of the Department of Human Service Studies, has co-authored with Elon alumni two articles focused on a longitudinal assessment of the Chapel Buddy Program, a developmental mentoring program that pairs kindergarten students with 6th grade students at a school in Greensboro, N.C.

The goal of the Chapel Buddy Program is to promote school adjustment among children who are experiencing new academic environments, including formal education for the kindergarten mentees and middle school for the 6th grade mentors.

Fair worked with Elon College Fellows and human service studies majors Anna Decker '10 and Kate Hopkins '10. Hopkins is currently in law school at Emory University and Decker is completing a graduate program in guidance counseling at N.C. State University.

The first article, “Developmental mentoring, relationship quality and school adjustment: The Chapel Buddy programme” was published this spring in Early Child Development and Care. The article focused on quantitative data collected over the course of one academic year. The abstract:

"This prospective mixed methods longitudinal study examined the connection between mentor–mentee relationship quality and school adjustment amongst students participating in the Chapel Buddy programme, a developmental mentoring programme. Thirty-one sixth graders were paired with 29 kindergarteners for the duration of the school year. Sixth-grade reports of relationship quality had a significant main effect on predicting the self-reported school adjustment of the kindergarten students at the end of the year. Additionally, regression analyses indicated that relationship satisfaction of the sixth-grader students predicted teacher reported academic adjustment of the sixth graders. Qualitative analyses of parents’ perspectives of the Chapel Buddy programme indicated parents believed the programme eased the transition to school. This study concludes that developmental mentoring has a positive influence on school adjustment, specifically school connectedness, for mentors as well as the mentees, and such a programme can be successful for fostering adjustment to elementary and middle school."

The second article, "'To Me it’s Like Having a Kid, Kind of': Analysis of student reflections in a developmental mentoring program,” will be published this summer in Mentoring and Tutoring. The article describes the qualitative analyses of the 6th grade mentors’ reflection journals. The abstract:

"This qualitative longitudinal study focuses on analyses of journals written by 31 sixth grade students who participated in the Chapel Buddy program. The Chapel Buddy program is a developmental mentoring program that pairs sixth graders with kindergarten students. Mentors responded to guided writing prompts three times during the course of the year. Prompts were designed to encourage mentors to explore their role as mentors and their understanding of the mentor-mentee relationship. Results indicated that the program presented a rich, experiential learning opportunity for the sixth graders to develop a relationship with a younger child, to reflect on what it means to be in a helping relationship, and to examine their experiences as ‘big kids’. Sixth graders varied in their ability to successfully engage and manage their kindergarten mentees, which in turn meaningfully affected the mentors’ satisfaction. Strategies to maximize the educational value of developmental mentoring programs with younger mentors are discussed."

Eric Townsend,
6/2/2011 12:37 PM