Maxine Stephenson

My name is Maxine Stephenson.  I have just started my PhD at Middlesex London having recently completed 3 years as a Visiting Lecturer in the Early Years/Education Department at Middlesex Dubai.

My interests are the debates surrounding the underachievement of Black Caribbean males within the UK educational system. In black and minority ethnic communities mentoring has been recognised for its potential as an empowerment intervention to raise achievement and the self-esteem of their learners.

The purpose of my research is to explore how the unique relationship between a mentor and mentee is perceived by both parties in its endeavour to raise outcomes for Black Caribbean male learners in state and community/supplementary schools. For those whose every aspect of their lives are affected by race, this will be the essential lens through which mentoring will be examined.

The research methodology will be qualitative. The main body of the research will be an examination of a number of case studies consisting of secondary schools, mentoring programmes, supplementary/community schools and an alternative provision such as a PRU.  The participants will be the mentors, mentees, teachers responsible for mentoring referrals, mentoring programme and supplementary school managers. The intended methods are focus group interviews, one-to-one interviews and observations.

Clearly, mentoring cannot singularly impact the complex multi-layered social, environmental and institutional factors at play. There are racial, cultural and contextual factors that may affect academic outcomes for Black Caribbean male learners.  However, it would be interesting to see if mentoring improves resilience, nurtures trust where there is difference and ultimately promotes a desire for improved educational outcomes.

Supervisors: Nathan Fretwell, Leena Robertson & Rima Saini