The Purpose of Peer Mentoring
Posted in Blog on February 03, 2011 by Ted Wohlfarth
What is the purpose of using peer mentoring in high schools?
Imagine that you are a high school freshman. You are worried about making friends, afraid you won’t be accepted by your peers and upperclassmen, overwhelmed by a new school building with new teachers, and terrified by the higher level of academic work you are asked to do. But, one day your school starts a mentoring program and builds it into your daily schedule. You and another freshman are paired up with a mentor, a senior who obviously knows how to make it through freshman year. He is confident, comfortable in school, has goals of going to college after he graduates and, best of all, he wants to be your friend.
Everyday the three of you study together using learning exercises that help you with your schoolwork. The learning exercises are called Enteam games and they develop your critical thinking skills as well as your social skills, including cooperation and communication. As you play a game that improves your ability to read, so an assignment that used to take you three hours to read is cut down to an hour, you also learn how to effectively communicate with your mentor to achieve your short-term and long-term academic goals. You play math games that require you to cooperate with your mentor in order to win and, because of the strong support of your mentor, word problems become a fun challenge instead of a good way to ruin your self-confidence. You look forward to going to school, because you know your mentor will be there for you and you don’t want to let him down. You also feel accepted, because you know a senior has your back.
Gradually, you find that achieving the high academic standards of your teachers and building positive relationships with your peers isn’t a mystery anymore, because you have a model to follow. And you know that you have to do as well as you possibly can in school, because in another two years you will become a role model for two incoming freshman, too.
By developing learning exercises that strengthen academic performance, improve necessary social skills, and build meaningful relationships between seniors and freshman, Enteam is taking on the challenge of lowering the student drop out rate of high schools in St. Louis and around the country. Enteam understands the importance of education and works tirelessly to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to realize their true potential.
Written by Matthew Frank Flavell