The Perceived Value of Mentoring by Beginning Usarf Instructors With Formal, Informal and No Mentors
The purpose of this study was to determine the value, if any, of a mentoring program for beginning U.S. Army Reserve Forces School instructors, specifically: how mentored and unmentored beginning instructors differ in their perception of a mentorship program, how do mentors improve, if at all, the beginner's instructional practice, how mentors assist the beginner's understanding of the school's operating procedures, and how formally and informally mentored instructors differ in their perception of a mentorship program. Army Reserve instructors teaching the Command and General Staff Course (CGSOC) and the Combined Arms Services Staff Course (CAS3), were the subjects for this study. The total population of 267 instructors was surveyed by questionnaire, 217 (81.3%) usable responses were received. ANOVA and t-test statistic calculations showed a significant difference between the mean responses of instructors with a formal mentor and those with an informal or no mentor. Instructors with formal mentors strongly agree that mentorship is beneficial to beginners and should be part of an induction program. Formal mentors helped improve practice through observation, feedback, counseling, and direct assistance. Instructors with formal mentors state they were provided an orientation into administrative, logistical, and standard operating procedures. Finally, the formally mentored group report they were helped to become better instructors, guided in professional development, given a formal assessment of their instructional abilities, and provided materials to improve practice and maintain competence. The data appear to suggest that a formal mentorship program produces a more prepared beginning instructor.