Since 2002, January has been known as National Mentoring Month. We all need guidance and support at different times in our lives, and perhaps you’ve done your share of mentoring as a teacher, but have you ever thought about implementing cross-age peer mentoring in your classroom? After learning about the benefits, you’ll be convinced it’s something worth trying.
- Increased connection to school and peers
Both mentors and mentees experience this benefit because mentoring groups create a sense of community. Mentees have a built-in connection with another student that they can depend on during the mentoring sessions, and student mentors have a recognized role that gives them responsibility.
- Improved academic performance
The students being mentored are given one-on-one attention in an area of need, which can help boost their academic performance. However, it’s also beneficial for those doing the mentoring, because when students are given the opportunity to teach what they know, it reinforces their skills in that area.
- Practice with intrapersonal communication
Students who participate as mentors in the cross-peer program must hone their communication skills to teach their mentee in a way they can understand. This real-world practice will serve them in higher education and professionally. Mentee students also put their communication skills to work by speaking up and asking questions, something they may not be comfortable doing in front of the whole class.
- Encouragement of empathy
Participating in a mentor program in any way inevitably pushes students to grow their social-emotional muscles. Most importantly, when mentors and mentees share their worries, fears, successes, and hopes about school and other matters, they’re learning to trust others and be trusted by their peers.
- Increased confidence and self-esteem
All the benefits mentioned above give a boost to a student’s self-esteem, whether it’s as a mentor or a mentee. Additionally, mentors get to see themselves as leaders and experts, growing their confidence and making them more likely to take on leadership roles in the future.
By: Kelli Drummer-Avendano
Also read: Strategies for Newcomers and SLIFE Students