Developing Young Mentors

When the student becomes the teacher, a whole new world of learning opens.
January 2019, Volume 42, Issue 5

When the student becomes the teacher, a whole new world of learning opens. Near-peer mentoring, in which a student provides advice and insights to a protégé who is one or two years younger, is a wonderful opportunity for students to grow and learn together.

Benefits to Older Students

Developing leadership skills. Student mentors feel empowered when they see themselves as role models. With younger students looking up to them, they take on the responsibility to provide a stellar example.

Increased self-esteem. When younger students ask questions and request advice, student mentors can build their confidence through meaningful engagement.

Benefits to Younger Students

Increased motivation. Some students can fly under the radar. With a near-peer mentor, each child can receive individual attention that inspires them to participate more in class.

Relatable insights. Student mentors might be young, but they have great wisdom to impart, since they have experienced some of the same challenges as their mentees recently. They can also be more approachable than a teacher or principal.

Watson: A Resource for Near-Peer Learning and Leadership

Complement near-peer learning in your classrooms—or get started with it—by making The Watson Anthology part of your curriculum. This unique resource from the National Elementary Honor Society (NEHS) is a collection of student-created narratives chronicling the adventures of the cherished NEHS mascot, Watson the bear. Each story is aligned with one of NEHS’ membership “pillars”—scholarship, responsibility, service, and leadership.

These engaging stories make wonderful read-aloud pieces for students, and they spark meaningful conversation following each exercise. Available exclusively to NEHS-affiliated schools, the anthology is based on lesson plans aligned with English Language Arts standards, as well as age-appropriate standards from the American School Counselor Association.

Help your school sustain a culture of achievement by becoming an affiliate of NEHS and bringing this tradition of excellence to your students.

Visit the NEHS website to take the first step.

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