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Research has demonstrated the efficacy of mentoring at-risk students in a number of fields from physical education to math and science. While separate research has found that many atrisk students lack effective communication skills, little research has explored the potential of communication mentoring in improving at-risk students’ communication efficacy. In our study, we examined the effectiveness of communication majors in a senior capstone course mentoring at-risk middle school students. Mentors were assigned a protégé and were required to design a curriculum targeting specific communication apprehension concerns identified in each student and implement the curriculum over a 10-week period. Analysis of self-reported communication apprehension scores showed at-risk students prior to mentoring reported higher than average levels of communication apprehension. After mentoring, they reported statistically significantly lower levels of communication apprehension. The implications for mentoring, at-risk students, and improved middle school communication education are considered.


Originally published as Kevin T. Jones & Claire H. Procopio (2017) Mentoring at-risk middle school students to reduce communication apprehension, Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 25:2, 185-201, DOI: 10.1080/13611267.2017.1326692

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