Educational Research

Educational Research (ISSN: 2141-5161) Vol. 5(2), pp. 58-70, February 2014. DOI: http:/ Copyright © 2014 International Research Journals


 Full Length Research Paper

Beyond Stages:  Mentoring as Transitional Identity Space for Adult Learners

*Margaret Clark-Plaskie, Ph.D. and Julia Penn Shaw, Ed.D

The State University of New York (SUNY) – Empire State College

*Corresponding author E-mail:



Higher education today, particularly with individualized mentoring, provides a context that is conducive to adult identity development. Within the “transitional identity space” of the mentoring relationship, adult learners may experience a secure base from which to explore, share, and bridge their past, present, and future identities.  Building on the identity work of Erikson (1950), Marcia (1966), and Kroger (2003) and integrating concepts from Vygotsky (1934) and Winnicott (1953), the authors analyzed case studies from their own mentoring experiences with adult learners.   The psychosocial dynamics of adult identity development within this mentoring context (transitional identity space) were discussed, providing a conceptual framework that goes beyond developmental stages and statuses to a more fluid and process-oriented model of adult identity development.

Keywords:  Adult identity development, adult learners, mentoring, seeking self, transitional identity space.

[View Full Article - HTML]   [View Full Article - PDF]   [Download Full Article - PDF]

Search Other Articles by author(s)