Dover students help younger peers

Dover Bay Secondary School students have had success in a peer mentorship program.

Danielle Kludash

Danielle Kludash

The success of a peer mentorship program piloted by a handful of Dover Bay Secondary School students this year has motivated educators to continue the work in September.

For five weeks in March and April, Dover students Nick Tang, Ben Cameron, Danielle Kludash, Holly Larsen and Shelby Ross went to McGirr Elementary School to work with five Grade 3 boys. The senior students’ teacher, Lynn Brown, was asked by McGirr administrators if she could provide any students to help the boys learn the school’s code of conduct.

Brown taught the senior students the four C’s – control, commitment, communication and co-operation – and they delivered the lesson to the group of boys at McGirr, incorporating fun activities into the experience to practise what they were learning.

“It bonded the two groups together,” she said. “The young kids just loved it.”

Activities included sharing materials for a craft project (co-operation), a game of telephone (communication) and drawing posters of things the students thought might help them exercise more control.

Brown said getting the message from older students can be a powerful way of learning.

“It may be seen as more purposeful for the younger students,” she said. “Positive role modelling is essential.”

Delivering a lesson also helps the older students learn it better and achieve a greater understanding of their own learning processes, Brown added.

The students presented their project to trustees at a recent education committee meeting.

Tang said teaching these boys will have a ripple effect.

“As we teach these students, they will start to teach other students,” he said.

By having older students reinforce the code with them, Tang said the younger students got a better understanding of the code and how it can be used outside of the school.

“We found that they understood it more,” he said.

Cameron said making this code of conduct universal to the district would be helpful because the students would have something to connect to in any school.

Brown said the four C’s are a part of the community of learners model that she has used at both the elementary and secondary levels for the past six years.

The community of learners model encourages students to take responsibility for their own learning and students design their own plans to become successful learners.

She would like to bring Grade 7 students to Dover next year. McGirr has already committed to continue the work and Brown would like to bring more of Dover’s feeder elementary schools on board, but the project depends on how many leadership students she’s able to recruit to deliver the lessons.

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