Fostering Peer Mentoring and Leadership in Primary School
In the fourth edition of our YCIS Beijing teacher talks, Learning Support Teacher Karen Killeen introduces and discusses the newly implemented “Peer Mentoring and Leadership Programme” and the benefits it has produced for our young learners.
Occasionally students find it challenging to understand certain concepts presented by their teacher. What methods of problem solving might work for some might not work for others. It is a situation that all teachers face when attempting to introduce new concepts to their students. In an effort to combat this issue, the YCIS Beijing Learning Support Team has implemented the “Peer Mentoring and Leadership Programme” initiative. In conjunction with our recent introduction of the Times Tables Olympics it was the perfect time start the programme.
After the success of the “homework buddies” programme, we discovered that the benefits peer mentoring could and should be harnessing in other areas of learning. We started by selecting responsible and eager students from Years 5 and 6, giving them basic teaching training and equipping them with a pack of useful resource materials. We then assigned them the task of tutoring Years 1 and 2 students on their times tables in one-on-one sessions. The results for both older and younger students were quite profound.
After a few short sessions, younger students began grasping their times tables at an extremely fast pace. Year 6 student Ellie, who is working with Jasmine from Year 1, commented that in the beginning Jasmine was reluctant to talk to her and was very shy. After a short time, Jasmine quickly overcame her reticence and became very excited and enthusiastic to learn her times tables. Ellie personally believes that this is because she is in a ‘teacher’ role but is only a few years older than Jasmine, so Jasmine saw her more as a friend and less as an authority figure. For the older primary students, though less tangible, the benefits are undeniable. By giving the older students the opportunity to pass on their knowledge and abilities to other, they are also given a chance to take responsibility for others, increase confidence in their own skills, and reflect on their own study strategies. Developing our older primary students in such a way is a vital piece of our holistic approach to education and will prepare them for their continued studies and help them to achieve their future goals.
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