peer mentoring

Student Peer Mentoring

 

Who are Peer Mentors?

In summary, Peer Mentors are students who are trained to provide a safe and confidential space for fellow students to talk freely and ask questions. They provide reassurance and guidance to help fellow students succeed by sharing their knowledge and experience. 

Why is Mentoring an Important Tool for University Courses?

Student Peer Mentors help you support your students.

Research and practice has shown that the use of Peer Mentoring schemes is beneficial for both students and staff. Mentoring offers many benefits to both the Mentor and the Mentee, including an overall improved learning experience, better degree outcomes, and the development of key graduate employability skills. For staff and module leaders, Student Peer Mentors help you to support your students both academically and personally. At CCCU, we proudly have a diverse variety of students and staff, and to support this diversity we have several mentors from the LGBTQ+ and BAME communities. If you are working to build Peer Mentoring and/or course mentoring within your course to promote and encourage diversity, targeting students with different ethnic profiles is essential. 

Peer Mentoring has helped to shape Foundation Year (FY) students with a range of academic demands. By using previous FY student to Peer Mentor new FY’s has seen a sharing of experience, approach and understanding which demonstrates the importance of student to student learning. We have seen examples of students who benefitted from the reinforcement of a Peer Mentor reviewing their work and going over processes to approach work, which has enabled their confidence to flourish quickly. Conversely, we have also seen that students with more acute demands in terms of organisation and structure and approach have also benefitted from the guidance which a fellow student can share from their experiences. This has led to successful student retention, and engagement, where individual students may have been uncertain as to their ability to approach academic study or to prosper in an unfamiliar setting.” Rob McPherson – Arts & Humanities Foundation Year Lecturer

Some Benefits Reported by Staff Engaged With the Peer Mentoring Service:

Staff have said that using peer mentors within their course has helped:

  • students supporting each other with general enquiries, and in the use of certain systems, such as Blackboard and Turnitin. This proves particularly useful for staff as it decreases student reliance and frees up your time.
  • with the reporting of issues to key course staff to aid in quicker resolutions. This helps with Student Staff Liaison Meetings as resolutions can be reported on rather than issues. 
  • students to develop real-life transferable graduate attributes, such as improving their leadership and presentation skills to help build self-confidence, and other skills often sought for in graduate jobs.
  • with the overall health and mental wellbeing of students, enabling any issues to be made known to staff more swiftly and ensuring both student and staff have an adequate amount of time to complete assessments or other work in. 

There are Three Main Types of Mentoring Available:

Pre-arrival Mentors provide online (email) guidance to new, returning, or distant students who, although they have not yet commenced their studies with us, have a conditional or firm offer to study a course at CCCU.

The pre-arrival peer mentoring process:

  • A student may request a pre-arrival Peer Mentor as soon as they have accepted an offer to study with CCCU, but prior to them commencing their studies.
  • Students are matched according to their preferences or as near as possible.
  • The mentoring relationship is flexible so that it fits around students, their studies and other commitments.
  • A student mentor can choose the amount of time they devote to mentoring and how many mentees they can manage.
  • Both participants can change their mentor or mentee at any point.
  • How the mentoring relationship will work is for both participants to agree and decide. This will form the contract/boundaries for the mentoring relationship.

Pastoral Mentors provide both online or face-to-face guidance (subject to COVID-19 regulations) and navigation to students who have already commenced their studies at CCCU.

The Pastoral Peer Mentoring Process:

A current student can request a pastoral peer mentor at any point during their studies.

  • Students are matched according to their preferences or as near as possible.
  • The mentoring relationship is flexible so that it fits around students, their studies, and other commitments.
  • A student mentor can choose the amount of time they devote to mentoring and how many mentees they can manage.
  • Both participants can change their mentor or mentee at any point.
  • How the mentoring relationship will work is for both participants to agree and decide. This will form the contract/boundaries for the mentoring relationship. 

Peer Assisted Learning Leaders (PALs) provide subject-specific peer assisted study sessions (PASS) to help enhance students understanding of the course. PASS typically consists of weekly or fortnightly group sessions, enabling reflection on taught content, to achieve a set task designed to consolidate learning. PASS facilitates discussion, it is not teaching, and it allows students to raise questions in a safe and confidential environment about any fears, challenges, or other issues that they may be facing.

The PAL Process:

  • PALs run and facilitate peer assisted study sessions (PASS) for fellow students on their course in the level below.
  • PALs provide a safe and confidential space for students to ask questions.
  • PALs are trained in how to structure and lead flexible sessions so everyone can participate.
  • PALs are supported by their Academic Contact (academic member of staff in their course).
  • PALs do not teach, lecture, or give out the answers.
  • PALs may help with problem-solving, study skills and exam techniques, as well as preparation for coursework, assignments, and presentations.
  • PALs know what their students are going through because they 'have been there' and been successful.
  • PALs agree with the PAL group which material they want to review, improve on, or understand better.
  • PAL groups should bring lecture notes, hand-outs and/or textbooks to refer to in the session.
  • PALs and the PAL groups agree together how the group will work together to form the contract/boundaries for the group.

 Frequently Asked Questions

Below are a some of the frequently asked questions from both staff and students.

  • Pre-arrival Peer Mentors provide online guidance to new, returning, or distant students who, although they have not yet commenced their studies with us, have a conditional or firm offer to study a course at CCCU.
  • Pastoral Peer Mentors provide both online or face-to-face guidance (subject to COVID-19 regulations) and navigation to students who have already commenced their study at the University.
  • Peer Assisted Learning Leaders (PALs) provide subject specific peer assisted study sessions (PASS) to enhance students understanding of the course. PASS typically consists of weekly or fortnightly group sessions, enabling reflection on taught content, to achieve a set task designed to consolidate learning. PASS facilitates discussion it is not teaching, and it allows students to raise any questions in safe and confidential environment about any fears, challenges, or other issues that they may be facing and to help them achieve the academic requirements of their course.

Undergraduate students must have completed one full year of successful study to apply for these roles.

  • Pre-arrival and Pastoral Peer Mentors require a member of staff within their course to provide the mentors with first line contact and support.
  • PAL mentors require an academic member of staff to tailor the PASS activities/task to the subject specific requirements. 

It really depends on what you are expecting from your student mentors and/or PALs as to how much of your time is required. All models should be student led as much as possible.

Ways You Can Support Your Mentors/PALs

  • Involve them in Induction Weeks to meet new students informally.
  • Keep them aware of changes in the course.
  • Make sure PALs have access to or copies of first year assessment briefs and are aware of course deadlines and timescales.
  • Provide PALs with subject specific requirements needed for their student groups.
  • Be someone who mentors can pass feedback onto from their mentees, including areas they may be finding difficult.
  • Help review and assess how mentor meetings and/or PASS activities are going.
  • Help with planning/ideas for activities of PASS that are tailored to the subject.
  • Act as a mediator if there is a dispute or any other issues.
  • Assist with any logistical matters such as attendance levels and timetabling.
  • Provide pedagogical evaluation in partnership with LTE.

The Peer Mentoring Team provide:

  • Promotion and recruitment materials.
  • Talks and information to prospective students and families about the Peer Mentoring service at open days, information days and other events.
  • Arrangements and facilitation of training on coaching and mentoring including group facilitation/management techniques (the training is generic and not subject specific).
  • A central database with responsibility for key information, including webpages, regular student communications through various channels, Peer Mentoring , and Blackboard.
  • Support to academic teams to conceptualise and shape the mentoring approach.
  • Regular communication with Academic Contact and Course Support Officer to disseminate information on recruitment, training dates and other updates.
  • Certificates and references for mentors.
  • Collation and analysis of statistical data to measure and report on impact.
  • A process for matching students together.
  • Talks/development activities to students and colleagues about the peer mentoring service.
  • Regular communication with other stakeholders such as the Student Union and the Enterprise and Employability team to include Peer mentoring activities on the HEAR, within the yearly volunteering award ceremony and the volunteering site.

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  • Benefits to CCCU (recruitment, inclusion, and retention).
  • Benefits to mentees (support, integration, and satisfaction).
  • Benefits to mentors (knowledge, skills, and awards).
  • Benefits to staff (workload, student retention and achievement).
  • Peer interaction and support

Contact: Kellie Schafer

Peer Mentoring Officer

Tel: 01227 921733

Email: peermentoring@canterbury.ac.uk

Some Reported Benefits from Students Who Have Been Peer Mentors or PALs

  • Highly interactive training including group facilitation/management techniques.
  • Consolidates learning and improves their own academic performance.
  • Peer Mentoring or PAL Leadership shows an employer that they have gone above and beyond their degree and that they have been interested in contributing to the wider University community.
  • Invitation to Yearly Volunteering Award Ceremony, University Certificate and recognition on their HEAR.
  • Be nominated for Peer Mentor or PAL Leader of the Year.
  • Develops skills in facilitating and mentoring/coaching other students and ability to communicate and change communication to suit the needs of the audience.
  • Develops graduate attributes such as listening, time-management, leadership and problem-solving skills and an ability to think on their feet.
  • Improves knowledge of individual learning styles such as Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing or Kinaesthetic and an awareness of different cultures and ability to adapt accordingly.

Students are able to log their volunteering hours on the volunteering website https://ccsu.co.uk/volunteering/ and work towards further awards:

1.      Bronze = 0 to 50 hours and must include 2 skills

2.      Silver = 51 to 100 hours and must include 5 skills

3.      Gold = 101 to 150 hours and must include 10 skills

4.      Platinum = 151 to 250 hours and must include 12 skills

Each year students are invited to an Awards Ceremony where they will receive further certificates and can be nominated for further awards.

Peer Mentoring and PAL are recognised activities that are recorded on the Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR).

Peer mentoring students

“Peer Mentoring has improved retention rates and student performance on the first-year Texts and Contexts I module, with a greater number of first-year students submitting all three assessments and a greater overall average mark for the module.”  Susan Civale – English Literature Lecturer

Peer Mentoring helped facilitate effective learning among such a large and mixed cohort whilst enabling me to manage and meet the rest of my teaching and learning commitments.” Katja Hallenberg – Psychology and Crime Lecturer

 

 

 

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Last edited: 28/04/2021 12:07:00