Teachers' opinions about the effects of mentorship programs on the academic motivation of students living in poverty
The purpose of this study was to examine teachers’ opinions about the effects of mentorship programs on the academic motivation of students living in poverty. More specifically, do teachers feel that mentorship programs have an effect on students’ academic assignments, their grades, their engagement, their focus, their attendance and their behavior? The study used a survey to examine teachers’ opinions about the effects of mentorship programs of students living in poverty on academic motivation in the Nanaimo Ladysmith School District in British Columbia. Teachers and administrators from eight elementary schools in School District #68, Nanaimo Ladysmith, were asked to participate in the study. All of the schools involved were located in vulnerable neighborhoods and the majority of the students attending these schools were living in poverty. The survey was given to informed anonymous teachers in October of the 2015/2016 school year. Of the 110 teachers invited to participate 28 responded, giving a response rate of 26%. The results indicate that teachers believe that mentorship programs are beneficial, improve students’ grades on report cards, improve students’ scores on assignments, increase students focus, decrease behavioral challenges in the classroom, are not disruptive to the classroom and decrease the amount of days students are absent. On the other hand, teachers did not believe that mentorship programs increase the amount of assignments students complete. The results also showed that as the amount of poverty in a class and the amount of experience a teacher has working in high poverty schools increases the perceived benefits of mentorship programs for students also increases. The study showed that mentorship programs increase the academic motivation of students living in poverty.