5 Benefits of Peer Mentoring Programs
Written by Bernard, December 2016
Most universities offer peer mentoring program which is free for all students and is often viewed as the rendering of help and assistance by the more knowledgeable and experienced students to the less competent ones. Basically it means having the course seniors there to provide support, encouragement, and guidance to students who are struggling in the universities. The universities in Australia, New Zealand and the UK are no stranger to this and each institution has its own way of conducting it which can be both formal and informal. Students can approach the Student Service Centre of the respective university to find out more.
Peer mentoring suggests a two-way, reciprocal learning activity. It is mutually beneficial for both the mentor and the mentee as it involves the sharing of knowledge and experience between both parties. As the peer mentors teach and guide the mentee along, they find themselves working harder to understand the information, recall it more effectively and apply the knowledge in different ways that help the mentee to learn. As such, peer mentors have a better grasp of the subjects and tend to do well in exams.
Expand Circle Of Friends
International students may find themselves isolated and alone as they enter a totally new environment and away from anything familiar. Peer mentoring program provides a safe and comfortable setting for these students to reach out to the community and connect with other like-minded individuals who are also keen to learn from one another. The students involved in this community are likely to be supportive and helpful as they volunteer their time to help others. It is also a good opportunity to find potential candidates for group projects.
Singaporean students may generally shy away from speaking up and asking questions in lecture or tutorial, which may have a negative impact to their learning. The pace of university is a lot faster and more intensive which requires students to have a clear understanding of the subjects in a short period of time. Every lecture introduces new concepts and terms which will affect the progress and quality of the assignments and group projects. A more reserved student may find it easier to turn to his tutor for clarification and guidance whenever he stumbles across a difficult topic. The tutor is after all a friend and a confidante.
Tips And Study Methods
The students are usually paired or grouped together with mentors who study similar course as them. As such mentors can provide study tips on specific course that will help the mentees to learn more effectively, and they can even demonstrate good study methods for the tutees to pick up. Through their experience, mentors can share their own strategies in overcoming the difficulties they encountered with the specific topics or subjects of that particular course. With tips readily available to the students, they are able to avoid spending hours in the process of trial and error.
Builds Life Skills
Students looking for a more holistic education that encompasses both academics and non-academic areas such as life skills and soft skills will find the peer mentoring to be most useful. It is an excellent opportunity for students to learn practical skills required in the working world. For instance, team work, leadership, problem solving skills and communication skills are developed when students study together and solve problems together. In addition, students can learn to manage relationships with different ethnic groups and different personalities and characters. These skills may not be found in their textbooks but go a long way in helping the students excel in the workplace.
IDP encourages all the fellow Singaporean students who are embarking on their overseas education to consider participating in the peer mentoring programme. Help is readily available for students who are struggling to cope with the stress in university and for those who are more competent, they may find values in helping their peers.
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