Review: The Power of Peer Mentoring: Peer Mentoring Resource Booklet

The Power of Peer Mentoring: Peer Mentoring Resource Booklet
Glenn Omatsu

Retrieved from  

Review by Emma Bourassa, Currently on secondment to VCC Experiential Learning Materials Developer and Field Test Instructor ESL Pathways Research Project, Thompson Rivers University

The resource I came across is from California State University Northridge and is titled The Power of Peer Mentoring: Peer Mentoring Resource Booklet.

This 21 page booklet begins with the definition: "A mentor is defined as a knowledgeable and experienced guide, a trusted ally and advocate and a caring role model." (p. 2). In addition to the definition, the author, Professor Glenn Omatsu, hones in on what an effective mentor is. The themes of being " respectful, reliable, patient, trustworthy and a very good listener and communicator" continue in each section of the booklet. The notion of mentoring as a kind of consciousness is the central idea that is reiterated in the various sections. For instance, in the section "You're Serving as a Peer Mentor When....You help [others] achieve the potential within themselves that is hidden to others- and perhaps even to the [others] themselves" (p. 4). The focus is on the mentee's success. In Misconceptions, the idea of calling oneself a Peer Mentor is challenged by the reality that..."not all [who] work with [others] as advisors... are Peer Mentors, even if they have that job title" (p.6).

The resource is a practical collection of ideas of what a Peer Mentor is and is not; which could be a useful reflective tool for those considering what Mentoring would involve. There is a self- inventory on listening skills which also could be used as a reflective tool or as agreements with a Community of Mentors. A key point that resonated with me is that Mentoring is a reciprocal act and the Mentor has a great opportunity to learn as much as the Mentee. Another valuable inclusion in the booklet is the points on working with diversity and how "[y]our own willingness to interact with individuals and groups different from yourself will make a powerful statement about the value placed on diversity... contrary to popular belief, we are not 'all the same' (p.13)." The details about the consciousness of a Mentor are stated simply and the book is organized into a definition, the development of a mentor, misconceptions, objectives of mentoring, and self-exploration. There is a list of web links for further reading.  The booklet is based on previous published works and although it is the final page, refers to Paulo Freire's idea that "[t]he fundamental task of the mentor is a liberatory task. It is not to encourage the mentor's goals and aspirations and dreams to be reproduced in the mentees” (p.21).

While the booklet is written for student peers, I think there is much that can be translated to other contexts that involve understanding the challenges of being new to an institution, role or community in higher education.


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