In recent months we have been researching and developing some peer-to-peer models in response to a common request by our school partners. Here is a snapshot of our research findings, requests, and how we plan to respond with our new Student-Led Assembly!
Research: Mentoring is a psychosocial intervention that brings two people together into a trusting relationship allowing a more knowledgeable individual, often older, to share their experience with a person in order to provide support and guidance (Rhode, 1994). Peer facilitated programs build upon this mentoring concept to train peers with the necessary skills to assist others (Dollarhide & Saginak, 2012). Using peers as a mentoring resource for one another can be powerful, as peers tend to be most influential during school years. Most students would rather have a peer/friend help them in a conflict than an adult (Broderick & Blewitt, 2010). Positive mentors can support healthy development and shield against potential social risks. (Portwood & Ayers, 2004). Peer mentors may help their fellow peers overcome personal and social barriers, expose them to new relationships and opportunities, and assist in developing decision-making and problem-solving skills that facilitate success in everyday life Flaxman & Asher, 1992).
Requests: Over the last few years, we have been receiving increased requests for both assemblies and student-led workshops. When researching assemblies, we have repeatedly found that stand-alone assemblies with an outside agency/speaker are often ineffective for bullying prevention and school climate change. They often don’t have the insight, relationships, or time to thoroughly assess the specific school culture needs and respond appropriately. Outside assemblies have the best intentions, but lack the insider connection to initiate long-lasting cultural shifts within a school site. Meanwhile, we started having more requests for our peer educators to present to students throughout Monterey County about bullying prevention. So, we began to explore the possibility of creating a hybrid in response to these two requests and in alignment with current research: an extended assembly model that would empower and engage youth leaders in assessing their school culture and designing a student-led assembly in direct response to their findings.
Response: Our new Student-Led Assembly will take place over a two-month period in which one of our bullying prevention coaches will work directly with a core team of students, staff, and parent leaders on a weekly basis to:
- Assess your school climate.
- Design and develop an engaging assembly to respond to specific school needs.
- Deliver the dynamic and student-driven assembly.
- Debrief the process.
Our coaches will act purely as a facilitator to create a platform and space for the students to take the lead in the assessment, design, and delivery process. Upon completion of the assembly, we will also provide you with a comprehensive report summarizing the assessment findings, debriefing notes, and suggested next steps to further enhance your school climate.
We are very excited about this new opportunity to empower your student leaders to assess and address their specific needs!
If you would like more information, please contact us here.