Selecting Topics and Timing
The discussion topics can include, but are not limited to:
- How to be successful within that particular teacher’s classroom
- How to be a successful student within this school, today and in the future
- How to manage friends, relationships, and schoolwork
- How to avoid getting in trouble
- What to do if you’re being bullied
- Who to go to for help
- Focusing on what myths exist within school environments and how to avoid them in the interest of student well-being and academic success
Educators may agree that the bookends of a student’s education can generate impactful timing. The placement of this implementation at critical moments within a school year is important to consider (i.e., after the first month of school, and during the last month of school).
All educators should facilitate these preventative and personal exchanges between students as such cooperative and personal connections can be absent.
10 Components to Help Prevent School Violence
- Conduct peer mentoring at the beginning and end of the school years to allow for advice sharing, resourcing, and reflection. Students love helping other students, particularly when given the chance.
- Mentoring can exist in every class as well. Have six to eight mentors per class.
- Have participating mentors represent the whole-school environment (mentors should be every gender, race, background, and achievement level). Refrain from picking only straight-A students. The more mentors the mentees can relate to, the better.
- Meet with the mentors before hand to organize the topics of discussion.
- Use Skype or FaceTime to connect classes or different schools if students cannot attend face-to-face.
- During face-to-face mentoring, have the mentors sit at the front of the class and take turns talking.
- Encourage mentees to listen and ask questions.
- Have permission slips filled out by mentors, parents, and teachers. Make participating school administrations aware of the activities and enlist their help if needed.
- Moderate the whole discussion and keep it on point with the previously discussed topics.
- Encourage students to reach out to the mentors anytime for help and encourage mentees to think about becoming mentors to their younger peers before they leave their current school.
The Generation of Student Leaders
Schools should be safe places to learn. 21st Century technologies can help eliminate reoccurring and formally unsolvable problems. These technology support connections could create opportunities for students to participate in problem solving, thinking critically about serious topics, and hear from other students regarding their personal experiences.
Along with forming new relationships, student leaders might emerge where they have previously been invisible, undiscovered, or underused. Peer Mentoring 2.0 may also reduce the historic problems of grade-level transition and energize new student leaders, as most student mentors gain immediate influence, creating better friendships that support overall program effectiveness. The program also has a perpetual forward motion, as most students who are mentored by their peers immediately ask at the class’s conclusion if they too can be future mentors.
Peer Mentoring 2.0 can also be seen as an activity that benefits society, as students engaging in leadership roles may decide to hold decision-making positions in the future.
Overall, the simplicity of Peer Mentoring 2.0, bolstered by technology, can be an impactful arrow in the quiver toward the prevention of peer conflict and school violence.