Improving student outcomes by collaboration
Keywords:Tertiary education, peer-mentoring, learning community
The current tertiary environment is becoming increasingly diverse and can include students from a wide range of cultural and educational backgrounds as well as students studying via onsite or online delivery modes. This new reality brings with it an equally wide range of learning issues and differing “cultural capital” (Zepke & Leach, 2007, p.656) which need to be addressed. Consequently, the question of ‘How is a sense of community developed amongst such a diverse group?’ must be raised. At Bethlehem Tertiary Institute (BTI), the Learning Support team is attempting to address that question by adding a peer mentoring programme to its toolbox; namely, we are encouraging senior students to journey alongside junior learners, offering academic and social support and encouragement. Reflecting our institutional vision to be “relational, responsive, and transformative”, the goal of this programme is to encourage learners to partner with their peers by offering guidance on how to initiate this process, which ultimately would contribute to fostering relationships and positively affect student academic success.