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Peer Mentoring Works! Overview of Project & Findings Robin Clark & Jane Andrews Engineering Education Research Group

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Presentation on theme: "Peer Mentoring Works! Overview of Project & Findings Robin Clark & Jane Andrews Engineering Education Research Group"— Presentation transcript:

1 Peer Mentoring Works! Overview of Project & Findings Robin Clark & Jane Andrews Engineering Education Research Group

2 Background Pathways to Success through Peer Mentoring Student Retention Grant programme HE Funding Council and Paul Hamlyn Foundation 6 partners Hypothesis: Students who experience peer mentoring gain a greater sense of belonging both socially and academically. The result is higher retention and progression rates for the institution and greater achievement for the student

3 London Metropolitan University Sheffield University Aston University Bangor University Liverpool Hope University Research Partners Research through Partnership Oslo

4 Methodology: What we did & How we did it … Multiple case-study design Mixed methodological approach Mapping of activity: Content analysis Literature review Pilot survey Survey Interviews Focus groups Observations

5 Types of mentoring programme identified at the beginning of the project Transitional Peer Mentoring Longer-term Pastoral Peer Mentoring Writing Peer- Mentoring Aston Liverpool Hope Opt-in University-wide Bangor Sheffield Both Bangor & Sheffield incorporated elements of longer-term pastoral mentoring Opt-out: University-wide School-Based London MetDiscipline- specific opt-in

6 Mentoring Concepts Older, Wiser, More Experienced (Clutterbuck 1991) TRADITIONAL Role model (Moore and Amey, 1988) PEER Relationship between equals (Topping 2005) Developmental and mutually beneficial (Higgins and Kram 2001, Anderson and Boud 1996)

7 Definition of Peer Mentoring Within the UK Higher Education context, peer mentoring relates to the concept of reciprocal peer support and learning whereby a peer mentor helps to enhance and promote the overall university experience of either an individual student, or group of fellow students. Peer mentors are generally (but not always) slightly more advanced in their studies than peer mentees. By using their own experiences and insights, peer mentors help newer students settle into university, building a relationship which often lasts through the first year – and in many cases beyond.

8 Sample Pilot survey: 302 students in 5 HEIs Aston: Bangor: Sheffield: Liverpool Hope: London Met Main survey: 374 students in 3 HEIs Aston: Bangor: Sheffield Qualitative interviews & focus groups: 84 students in 4 HEIs -Aston: Bangor: Oslo: Sheffield: 61 students – 32 peer mentors, 29 peer mentees -Mixture of transitional and pastoral peer mentors and mentees -Writing Peer Mentors and Mentees: 36 students – 16 Writing Peer Mentors, 20 Peer Mentees. Observations: Around 300 students in 1 HEI over three days – transitional mentoring in action.

9 Peer Mentoring Best addresses students needs when the relationship evolves from being primarily social to capturing academic needs Provides Peer Mentors with valuable, transferable employability skills. Is most effective when peer mentors and peer mentees expectations are managed so that they are in equilibrium

10 Survey Peer mentoring and transition Concerns before university Settling in Academic issues Peer mentoring following transition Making the most of academic opportunities Accessing wider support Learning Reciprocity Relationship building Mutuality

11 Academic ability… Students confidence in their ability to succeed academically [%]

12 Belonging… Participation in peer mentoring helped me feel part of the university…[%]

13 Following Transition: Term 1 and beyond Participation in peer mentoring helped me make better use of the academic opportunities available at university [%]

14 Accessing wider support… Participation in peer mentoring helped me make the most of the support offered by student services…

15 Learning… Participation in peer mentoring has been a positive learning experience

16 Reciprocity… Participation in peer mentoring has met my individual needs…

17 Relationship building… The Opportunity to develop a one-to-one relationship is an important part of peer mentoring…

18 Mutuality… During mentoring sessions I felt able to relate to my peer [Mentor / Mentee]…

19 Qualitative Research – Transitional and Pastoral Mentoring Concerns before starting university. Transition After transition Mentoring relationships Study support.

20 Fears and feelings… Anyone that says theyre not scared is lying because there is that fear. Everyone has those giant fears of am I going to be liked, am I going to make friends, how am I going to feel living away from home… … you know… youre afraid of everything, but youve got to grow up some time. [1 st Year: UK Student: Male: Mentee] My mentee is somewhere that feels to her like the other end of the world … and lifes horrible and she wants to go home. She just needs someone to spend a bit of time with her, to say whats up? [2 nd Year: UK Student: Female: Mentor]

21 Alone in a crowd… In the first few days for me it was feeling out of it… I felt even more intimidated because being a mature student, I am forty-odd and they are all so young… they were all in groups and groups... [2 nd Year: UK Mature Student: Female: Mentor] As an international student I was thinking to myself … … am I going to make new friends, am I going to cope, am I going to settle there?. [1 st Year: International Student: Female : Mentee].

22 Making the first steps… … youre given a friend on the first day… … theyre trained to get on with you and put lots of effort into getting on with you. And if you dont you can change peer guide, but ultimately youre given somebody who is going to be your friend in those first few days. [1 st Year: UK Student: Male: Mentee] … in the first few weeks you dont have friends on your course. Your mentor is someone to talk with, you feel relaxed actually. You can share with someone. Its not only mentoring. Its friendship. [1 st Year: UK Student: Male: Mentee]

23 Safety-Net I think it helps more people to stay in university and not drop out because they dont feel as lonely when they first arrive… Theyve always got someone to text or to talk to…… [1 st Year: UK Student: Female: Mentee]... For me it was a safety net. I was new in School and it was good to know I had someone to work with and to ask questions... [1 st Year: EU Student: Female: Mentee]

24 Settling the parents… And settling down the parents as well, I think thats just as important if the parents are happy that their childs going to be happy here then thats half of your job done. [3 rd Year: UK Student: Female: Mentor] I spent quite a large percentage of the time sitting in kitchens in the flats talking to the parents and reassuring them. And not only that just general background university history and the city and things like that, but about student life. [2 nd Year: UK Student: Female: Mentor]

25 Academic guidance I was getting confused about the academic work…. I was getting overloaded and that overload was stressing me out… I talked to my mentor about it… He told me what modules are really important, what I need to learn…. [1 st Year: International Student: Male: Mentee]... We talked about starting to study, reading, and what are the most important things in the curriculum... and stuff like that I had difficulty with applying the theory… She gave some tips on what to do... I learnt from her experience. [1 st Year: EU Student: Female: Mentee]

26 Learning how to learn… My mentor gave me a lot of guidelines about what we had to do in terms of revising. We had exams in January. He told me I was doing the wrong thing. I was studying in the wrong format, which wouldnt help me, which would just make me gain knowledge but wouldnt help me score marks. [1 st Year International Student: Male: Mentee] At least my mentee knows more about what to expect in the exams than I did, and how strict the marking is, and that sort of thing. [2 nd Year Student: Female: Mentor]

27 Study Skill Enhancement - Mentors Its [ ] had an impact to help me on my presentation skills also because it was easier to talk in front of people… when you learn how to communicate in front of people, how to manage your own ideas and present them. [EU Student: 2 nd Year: Female: Mentor] For me being a mentor helped me become a better student. By showing my mentees how to use the library… When they asked me questions about studying that I didnt know rather than loose face I went and found out. Thats benefitted me a lot. [2 nd Year: UK Student: Male: Mentor]

28 Challenges of peer mentoring… My friend applied for peer mentoring too but her mentor just didnt turn up. A couple of times she turned up and she was a last year student and then we tried to contact her but she didnt turn up again so probably some of them are not really interested. [1 st Year: International Student: Female: Mentor] I didnt know what it was for, and she didnt know what it was for. She was about my age maybe slightly younger, and she worked part time at the University. I think she was quite blasé about everything… … … it just didnt work… [1 st Year: UK Mature Student: Female]

29 Writing Mentoring … Sometimes its just the simple things. Like theyre worried in general but actually theyre doing absolutely fine – they just need help with confidence. Someone to say, Yeah, youre doing fine. [2 nd Year: UK Student: Female: Writing Mentor] Even after the second assignment I didnt feel that confident. So I just went along again and to a different writing mentor, who was just really friendly, and who took their time with me, helping me through, making me feel more confident that my work was OK. [1 st Year: UK Student: Female: Mentee]

30 Peer relations in writing mentoring But then as soon as they realise you are also a student and that they will be freer talking to you about their problems than to a member of staff... they sometimes feel they can kind of confide in you. They find you more willing to listen to them, more... than a staff member might be. [3 rd Year: International Student: Male: Writing Mentor] … theres one example of a mature student similar to myself… she had the kids to deal with and the essay due. I just let her blow off steam. Sat listening to her. Thats what she needed the most. [3 rd Year: UK Student: Female: Writing Mentor]

31 Discussion: Peer Mentoring Peer mentoring is most valuable in combatting issues around retention and transition when it is embedded and offered on an opt-out, university-wide basis to all new students. Works in four different areas: o Transition Belonging o Academic Support Learning how to Learn o Continual Support Safety Net o Benefits for Mentors Employability


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