Interdisciplinary Near-Peer Mentoring: A Future for Teaching in Higher Education

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 14:30
Location: Hörsaal 34 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Claire WAGNER, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Jacques DU TOIT, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Sanell VENTER, University of Pretoria, South Africa
In the last few decades tertiary education institutions have experienced increasing pressure to accommodate not only more students, but also to address the criticism that traditional lecturing and note-taking teaching approaches do not promote in-depth learning, active participation or the development of creative problem solving skills. One response to these demands has been the use of peers or near-peers to assist in teaching and mentoring of fellow students. The aim of this paper is to present a case study of an interdisciplinary near-peer mentoring model in which Master’s students in research psychology acted as mentors to urban planning students who were in the process of writing their final-year research reports. The overall purpose of the mentoring model was to improve the research and report-writing skills of the urban planning students and to give the psychology students experience in mentoring and general research supervision. Focus groups were conducted with both groups of students to determine their experiences of the model and where improvements could be made. Findings indicate that both groups benefitted from, as well as experienced challenges with, the model. Future directions for teaching in higher education using this model are indicated in the paper.