As you enter the class, be sure that your peers welcome you with all the laughter and joy. The bond that you share with your peers is indeed special because the conversations can be vivid and relatable. However, did you know your peers can be your mentors too?
It is believed that the best way to unleash the power of creativity, coordination, and collaboration is through exchanging ideas and insights. The process becomes easy when you have to share it with your peers. No matter how different your perspectives are, you are sure to find similar interests and common problems in everyday life. Additionally, sharing insecurities and doubts with a peer sounds easier than sharing them with elders or teachers. That’s exactly why peer mentoring invites a trustworthy environment without typical judgments.
Peer mentoring is an essential concept focusing on the exchange of thoughts and learning in a collaborative learning environment. You can find a great level of comfort in connecting with like-minded peers. Through peer mentoring activities, your meeting sessions can become much more interesting and engaging. Activities focusing on strengthening peer relationships act as a bridge between sharing, guiding, and celebrating learning. Let’s explore helpful activities that foster an environment of exchanging ideas, conversations, and perspectives.
Helpful peer mentoring activities for high school students
With peer mentoring activities, high schoolers get an opportunity to know themselves better and reflect based on their understanding. The activities help create a fun learning mentoring session where ideas and insights flow freely among students.
1. Jar of Prompts
The most common icebreaker activities include initiating conversations on random topics. This activity helps peers connect, learn and understand different perspectives.
- For this activity, ask students to prepare a set of 10 questions for the discussion
- As the meeting begins, these prompts should be put into a jar
- Now, one by one both students pick a chit and read out the prompt
- For example, the following can be the prompts
- Which is your favorite movie?
- What do you like to do in your free time?
- How to spend your holidays
- Let peers discuss their thoughts and ask for their feedback later
With such an activity, students get to present their views about life and many aspects in general. They also learn about different ways of living and might pick a new hobby from their peers.
2. The Skill Exchange!
High school students are equipped with many skills which might not be discovered by teachers or parents. This activity allows students to express themselves and make the best use of their skills.
- For this activity, ask students to exchange their skills
- Both peers need to exchange at least one skill that they are proud of
- For example, one peer might teach making presentations to the other
- Similarly, the other peer might share essential English and vocabulary skills
The activity broadens the horizon towards sharing skills and building a better network together. It helps them feel confident and worthy.
3. What’s in the News?
Peers can connect well if they have something in common to share. News acts as a great start to help peers share knowledge and discover different genres.
- For this activity, divide students into teams of 2 each
- The two peer teams work together to present the news
- Give them any newspaper and choose a particular article for discussion
- Now, allow them some time to plot their points of discussion
- After this, both teams discuss their views on the news article
As peers set into a discussion zone, they also get an opportunity to enhance their communication skills. Such a newspaper activity helps students come out of their shells and builds confidence.
4. Career Maps!
Mapping out plans and processes can ease the final task. Mapping also helps students with an accurate plan, tools, and resources in hand.
- For this activity, ask students to think of their future career
- During the peer meeting, they need to discuss their future plans with each other
- After this, give them a huge chart paper to map out the career journey
- For example, if a student wants to pursue a career in the hotel industry, the map should include essential exams, eligible colleges, fees, and other details
- Allow them to have 2 meetings where both research and plan their career maps
As students indulge in career planning and mapping ideas, they are likely to come across vital information about their liking and passion for the goal. Peers might also discover extensive support from each other during the mentoring process. Such college readiness activities help students plan their future in a systematic manner.
5. My Workshop
Learning and sharing knowledge is a crucial part of peer mentoring. This activity allows high schoolers to take charge and act as responsible mentors to their peers.
- For this activity, every student is supposed to act as a mentor for all peers
- The mentor here will conduct a workshop on anything that is essential for the academic journey
- For example, a mentor may conduct a workshop on building leadership skills, communication, or personality building
- Peers need to attend the workshop where mentors shall use presentations, charts, pictures, or any research to validate their findings
While this activity offers the development of a skill, it helps mentors in taking responsibility and handling authority. The activity increases confidence, communication, and active listening skills in students.
6. The Brainstorming Time
Brainstorming is an important technique where individuals come together to develop ideas and arrive at solutions to problems. This activity opens discussions and helps students build a strong network.
- For this activity, divide students into groups of peers
- Have different marketing prompts in a box
- For example, you can write about promoting a product, redesigning the marketing campaign, or changing the logo of a brand
- Choose a prompt and both teams of peers should have their views on it
- Make sure all opinions are treated equally important in the activity
Peer mentoring only becomes successful when peers learn to collaborate, brainstorm and act as a strong team. Such an activity fosters a knowledge-sharing culture where each perspective is respected.
7. Unpuzzle the Puzzled!
After you have paired the peers for mentoring and they are done with a few meetings, this activity can be conducted for networking. It ensures clarity of understanding between peers.
- For this activity, every peer must write a specific thing about them
- They can write anything about their career perspectives, a personal experience, a strength, or a weakness shared during the meeting
- Mix all these chits together and make students sit in a circle
- Every student picks one chit and turn by turn reads it out
- After reading, everyone gets a chance to identify if that statement is written by their peer they paired up with
- Once identified, they can say that it is a statement by their peer
The strengthening of communication plays an important role in peer-to-peer mentoring. With such an activity, peers can immediately identify each other’s specific traits thereby allowing collaboration and coordination.
8. Self-Concept and More
Boosting self-awareness and confidence is one of the main highlights of peer mentoring. This activity allows students to reflect on themselves and share their personal feedback.
- For this activity, ask students to make 4 boxes on a piece of paper
- They need to write about their strengths, weaknesses, special qualities, and skills to work on
- After this, pair up the peers to encourage a discussion between them
- Each pair needs to discuss their self-reflection by being active listeners and communicators each time
- Once done, they need to share their feedback to the peer about the discussion
- The feedback can include advice, suggestions, and appreciation for each other
Such activity allows students to be open about their self-concept and vocalize it to someone they trust. Self-identity games and activities increase their confidence as and when they receive appreciation from their peers.
9. School Discussions
Every high schooler is likely to face difficulties during the academic journey. This activity helps students face the realities, accept challenges and arrive at solutions.
- For this activity, divide students into teams of 3 members each
- Write different problems and put the chits into a box
- Peers should take a stage and choose one prompt
- Create an environment of learning where peers read the question and share their opinions on it
- For example, the question can be – How to improve discipline in college?
- To this, peers need to share their views with the entire class
Engagement enhancement activities like this one help students acquire communication and debating skills. It fosters a creative learning environment where students learn, share, and equip themselves with fresh thoughts.
10. The Book Show
Books on different genres include examples and facts from around the world. This activity focuses on acquiring knowledge on similar topics and sharing the same with others.
- For this activity, divide the students into teams of 2 peers each of who shares similar interests
- They need to choose a specific book to explore the topic in depth
- After a week’s time, ask them to present a book review to the class
- They may use examples and pictures to better explain the topic of the book
- Allow other students to raise questions and doubts which peers need to answer together
Books are an important source of gathering information and this activity helps strengthen their interests for their favorite subject matter. As peers get an opportunity to present the book review, they get to develop networks and confidence.
Peer Mentoring: What Does Research Suggest?
Peer mentoring is an effective practice way to indulge students in a comprehensive learning environment where they study, exchange ideas, and learn from peers. To support this concept, various studies and research are conducted. Below mentioned studies help you focus on the impact and encourage schools to initiate such programs for student benefit.
A systematic study was conducted to understand the impact of peer mentoring on graduate students. 47 students were included in the study to understand the effects of peer-to-peer relationships. It was found that students who were part of a peer mentoring program benefitted more than the rest. They progressed well in social, academic, career, and psychological aspects after being a part of a peer mentoring group. As per this, it can be found that peer mentoring is an essential part of education. Including the practice can help students prosper in their academic future.
We might think peer mentoring benefits peers in getting crucial information and developing skills. However, it also helps the students act as mentors to acquire essential skills. The research was conducted to analyze the impact of peer mentoring at a university in New Zealand. The study revealed the development of skills and graduate attributes in students who participated in the program. Students successfully learned about leadership and critical thinking. It can be said that implementing such programs helps students with opportunities to learn and prosper in a growth-oriented mindset.
Peer mentoring is a bridge between students who take the roles of mentors and mentees. The benefit of peer mentoring is the similarity of students sharing similar interests and age groups. With the inclusion of various career exploration activities and creative ideas, students get an opportunity to learn and grow in a collaborative environment. Helpful activities create a sense of understanding and reliability between peers. With the inclusion of such activities, schools can build a strong community with network building and leadership skills in high schoolers.
- Diane L. Lorenzetti, Leah Shipton, Lorelli Nowell, Michele Jacobsen, Liza Lorenzetti, Tracey Clancy & Elizabeth Oddone Paolucci (2019) A systematic review of graduate student peer mentorship in academia, Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 27:5, 549-576, DOI: 10.1080/13611267.2019.1686694
- Scott, C., McLean, A. R., & Golding, C. (2019). How peer mentoring fosters graduate attributes. Institute of Education Sciences, 12(1), 29–44. http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1219653.pdf
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