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Education is not just about getting marks in exams, but about growing as a person, developing skills like critical thinking, interpersonal skills and managerial skills. Our school has always been a trendsetter in holistic education, nurturing students in a supportive environment. Peer mentoring is one such strategy which has proved to be a win-win situation for both the mentors and the ones being mentored.

Younger students respond in such a positive manner to the elder ones’ guidance, that we now have a Peer Mentoring Club in the school, where senior students are intensively trained by the school counsellors and other teachers to help students of classes VI to VIII with various issues that may be of concern to them.

Sessions on Healthy communication in the month of Novemebr 2020

The theme for November’s Peer Mentoring Session was ‘Healthy Communication’. After being trained on how to run workshops, Peer Mentors from grades 11 and 12 conducted sessions for 6 - 8 graders focusing on three basic skills needed for effective communication: speaking, listening, and non-verbal gestures. They also taught the students how to manage the emotions and negative thoughts that arise during situations of conflict. 

The first session introduced the students to the basics of communication. What is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ communication? What practices can help us improve one’s communication style? How can we identify characteristics of healthy and unhealthy communication in others? The interactive presentation involved watching videos as well as solving puzzles using Mentimeter. We carefully handpicked references from TV shows and curated funny memes to make concepts relatable and easier to grasp for this age group. Relevant examples helped students think of situations they themselves face and gave them ideas on how to navigate them.

The next session was aimed at conflict management and resolution skills. Incorporating lessons from the previous session, students discussed the various approaches and thought processes that are helpful in resolving conflicts with friends and family. Using a worksheet designed for self-reflection and introspection, the Mentors guided the students on how to identify, understand, and navigate differences and conflicts. A key learning outcome according to the students was the importance of acknowledging and respecting the other person’s thoughts and feelings in a conflict. Developing healthy communication skills at an early stage will help young leaders going forward.

 
 
Session on ‘The Power of Thoughts: How to Have a Brighter Outlook’  in September 2020

After a very constructive and positive feedback from the previous ‘Time Management’ sessions, the Peer Mentoring Club conducted yet another interactive and productive session on ‘The Power of Thoughts: How to Have a Brighter Outlook’ on September 2, 2020 and September 16, 2020 with the students of classes. The basic idea was to make the students aware of how natural it is to have negative thoughts and how they can find ways to tackle the thoughts and problems positively.

The sessions made the students comprehend the fact that thoughts are just perceptions. They also discussed why it is hard to stop negative thoughts and why paying attention to one’s self-talk is important. In order to help the students identify negative thoughts and to find a positive in every situation, a lot of activities including different scenario discussions, mentimeter poll, creative games etc were conducted. The very interactive and enthusiastic response from all the students was like fuel for the mentors and made the session tremendously effective and helped the students in opening up to their seniors, which is the basic aim of the peer mentoring sessions.

 
 
'Time Management ' Sessions 

This year, the Peer Mentoring Club, started by looking at the (almost) universal problem of ‘Time Management’. In the course of two sessions on July 22 and August 12, there was intense discussion on how to manage time better, thus removing a major cause of stress. The sessions covered topics like productivity, procrastination and strategies for better time management. Various well-planned activities helped students to understand how to do this. The response was enthusiastic, with lots of ideas and suggestions pouring in. For students of class VI a quiz was created with situation-based questions, while students of classes VII and VIII created their own to-do list for the day and the week.

The positive feedback from all the attendees (analysed via a survey) reinforced enthusiasm among the mentors and teachers to plan equally relevant content for future sessions. Mentoring is clearly a great way to put younger minds on the path to personal growth, while helping the mentors to hone their interpersonal and communication skills.