Best practice in peer mentoring programs

Reflecting on the role of student writing mentors


  • Linda Thies Deakin University



peer learning, writing mentors, tertiary learning advisers, reflective practice


Many Australian universities have introduced formal peer mentoring programs, with one more common model focusing on undergraduate students’ learning development, specifically their academic writing. Deakin University’s Writing Mentor Program provides one-to-one ‘drop in’ sessions where Writing Mentors (WMs) work with a peer, and it is coordinated by Tertiary Learning Advisers (TLAs). The Program’s overall aims include helping students interpret academic expectations, and better understand how they can succeed with their studies. However, this Writing Mentor Program also aims to facilitate WMs’ learning from their peers, through reflections on their interactions with students. This study aimed to inform the professional development program for WMs by identifying the perception of the role of WMs held by both WMs and TLAs at the commencement of the program, and also the perceived differences between the roles of WMs and TLAs. Findings from the study highlighted the need to include reflective practice as a topic in on-going training sessions. The study also suggested the need for a more structured approach to developing a ‘shared understanding’ of the roles of WMs.



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