Building Community With Peer Mentors

“The more I give my teacher-power to students and encourage them to take more responsibility for their own learning, the more they show me how to redesign my ways of teaching.” — Howard Rheingold, “Toward Peeragogy”

Howard Rheingold has been a champion of peer-to-peer learning for years. Howard’s ideas are often in my head, milling about with Lev Vygotsky and social theories of learning. When I set out to design a large writing course for college freshmen, I was particularly focused on the role more capable peers would play in our writing class. In fact, I knew that writing mentors would be key to the success of our course and the freshmen writers. Recently, I’ve been working closely with one of our writing mentors, Keaton Kirkpatrick, to better understand how the mentors support the work of the course, particularly the ways in which mentors support community building. I’ve invited Keaton to share his insights below.

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