A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you than you see in yourself and helps bring it out of you.
The Colchester School District Vision/Strategic Plan states: “Everyone is recognized as a learner and teacher.” This feature is a shining example of this declaration.
At Colchester Middle School, twelve seventh-grade students are participating in a brand-new peer mentoring opportunity.
Peer mentoring programs are spreading rapidly throughout the country; numerous pilot studies have indicated that the benefits to such programs are extensive, including significant improvements in school climate and peer relationships, student retention rates, and overall academic performance across the student population.
Throughout the first semester at CMS, this industrious dozen has met every other week with Ms. Nealy during student support time to practice teaching and learning strategies, including identifying their learning styles, developing presentation skills, setting goals, creating lesson materials and following a lesson plan, and even how to manage friendly disagreement.
At the beginning of the second semester, the peer mentors determined which instruction style they preferred, be it one-to-one instruction, working with small groups, or teaching an entire class. Students interested in receiving peer mentoring then selected their preferred subject—computer applications, mathematics, social studies, reading, or music—for their mini lessons.
CMS teachers volunteered to be cooperating teachers for individual students, which involves meeting with the students for planning, reviewing the lesson plan, observing and supporting the mini lesson, and a post-lesson meeting with the peer mentor to discuss the lesson. The peer mentors planned their lessons with the cooperating teacher and Ms. Nealy.
Ms. Nealy has been interviewing the peer mentors, cooperating teachers, and student participants in the program, and so far, it is receiving a great deal of positive feedback. The peer mentors will receive certificates of achievement for their efforts, and if there is continued interest, they and the cooperating teachers can continue mentoring students.
Stay tuned for a follow-up feature about this new program discussing its outcomes!
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