Future Kids

An Analysis of a Mentoring-Program in the Primary School Oberglatt

The project Future Kids, initiated by the AOZ of the city of Zurich (http://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/aoz/de/index.html), aims at fostering the prospects of children from underprivileged familial contexts. Through support from mentors, improvements in learning and work behavior and school grades in at least one subject or area of competence should be achieved. To reach this goal, mentors help children in mastering their homework and support them in learning and revising school work. Additionally, they help children to develop strategies to improve their own learning process.

The aim of the present research project is to understand the process of the implementation and embodiment (process analysis) of the project in a specific school (=case) and to extract the perceived effectiveness from the perspective of the involved actors (effectiveness analysis). Within the scope of the process analysis, we aim at examining how support for children is organized concretely, how it is experienced by mentors, teachers and students, which difficulties are faced and how they should be addressed in the eyes of the actors. The focus of the effectiveness study lies in the identification of the effects on learning behavior and performance of students from the perspective of the actors. Furthermore, they are asked to estimate the chances for successful achievement of the mentioned project aims. Additionally, specific difficulties of the project and possible improvement strategies should be identified in order to advance and further develop the project Future Kids.

We first conducted an interview with the head master of the primary school in Oberglatt. This school has been part of the project Future Kids for a long time (since autumn 2011). The aim was to gain insight into the project Future Kids at this specific school and to identify suitable interview partners for the planned group discussion. In a second step, 12 interviews/group discussion with teachers (N=18), mentors (N=16) and Future-Kids children (N=23) were conducted. Interviews took place between March and April 2013. The group discussion were recorded and analysed according to structured content analysis by Mayring (2008). This procedure allows to gain a first insight into the project Future Kids. Furthermore, the data allows to identify the potential of the project as well as its strengths and weaknesses. These factors, in turn, can be used for the further development of the long-term planned project Future Kids. One limitation of the current study is that the results are not generalizable as they only apply for one school. Furthermore, the findings represent opinions of the interviewees. Particularly analyzing the effectiveness of the program, performance based analysis would have been more valid.