NT 4.6.2 Role Models and Peers

High school student group laughing and working together

By Mosborne01 (Shane Wenzlick/ [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Throughout this module, we have discussed role models and peer mentors/role models. Role models are an important part of the puzzle; frequently a student simply hasn’t seen a female engineer or a male preschool teacher. Frequently, students have a fear of looking foolish or being rejected. Providing peer role models reduces this fear. The Institute for Youth Development says, “Peers model behavior for each other, structure opportunities in which adolescents can engage in these behaviors, and set norms that, during this stage in life, young people are particularly inclined to follow” (Smith, 2004). Make sure that you capitalize on behavior that seems pre-destined!

According to the Peer Health Exchange (2013), several studies demonstrate that teenagers absorb information better when delivered by educators of a similar age as opposed to adult educators: 74% of high school students said that having college students lead workshops helped them learn about the topics. As slightly older peers, theses volunteers provide the benefits of peer education while also conveying the advantages of traditional instruction.