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Faculty Mentors

Dr. Karynne Kleine

Abstract

In response to the question “How can I increase the literacy of the unmotivated African American males whom I teach?,” two literature groups were established with eight fifth grade African American male students from a public elementary school in Milledgeville, Georgia. In order to investigate the influence of mentors on the literacy, behavior, motivation, and social development of these students, an African American male college sophomore led one group, and I, a Caucasian female student teacher, led the other literature group. Data was obtained via observations of the participants in these two groups. Throughout this study, changes in the academic performance and the behavior of these students were noted, and as the quality of the relationship between the participants and their mentor increased so did the performance of the participants either in literacy skill, motivation, or behavior. As a result of this study, I have determined that female mentors are able to assist young adolescent African American males in improving their literacy. However, African American males have a significantly enhanced ability to positively influence both the behavior and the cultural identity of this group of students.

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