Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 10 Issue 3 (May/June 2000), Pages 171-251

Making sense of mentoring or mentoring making sense? Reflections on the mentoring process by adult mentors with young people (pages 211-223)


This paper sets out to look at the processes of mentoring from the perspectives of adult mentors who were interviewed as part of a wider study of young people's perceptions and understandings of informal mentoring processes. It seeks to clarify the processes of mentoring within the context of the ‘risk society’ by posing the question, how do young people and mentors perceive these processes? What do mentors get out of the mentoring relationship? Findings from a qualitative study of informal mentoring relationships are drawn on to suggest that the mentors perceive the experience of being identified as a mentor and the processes of mentoring in highly positive terms. It is argued that this provides a form of ‘cultural capital for mentors’ in helping them to make sense of the challenges and dilemmas they face as adults. It is concluded that this finding has important implications for the design of mentoring interventions with young people. Copyright © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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