Peer mentoring to develop psychological literacy in first-year and graduating students

Burton, Lorelle J. and Chester, Andrea and Xenos, Sophie and Elgar, Karen (2013) Peer mentoring to develop psychological literacy in first-year and graduating students. Psychology Learning and Teaching, 12 (2). pp. 136-146.


First- and final-year undergraduate students have unique transition issues. To support both the transition of first-year students into the program, and the transition of third-year students out of the program and into the workforce or further study, a face-to-face peer mentoring program was embedded into the first-year psychology curricula at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. The 34 peer mentors, third-year students taking a course on mentoring and career preparation, worked in pairs with small groups of first-year students (N = 231) in class time to help them develop study skills that underpin the first-year assessment tasks. This article reports on a peer mentoring program designed to develop and consolidate psychological literacies of both first- and third-year students. Comparing pre- and post-tests for first-year students, there was a significant increase in self-ratings across 8 of the 9 ability areas used to measure psychological literacy. In contrast, third-year mentors only showed significant change in the ability to understand basic psychological concepts. Correlational data reveal, for mentees, final course grades were significantly correlated with domain-specific psychological literacy, comprising knowledge and understanding of basic psychological concepts, scientific research practices, application of psychology, and ethics; for mentors, final course grades were significantly correlated with general psychological literacy, comprising cultural competence, critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and self-awareness skills. While first-year students indicated an overall positive experience with the mentoring program, the third-year mentors showed strong support for the program. The key implications are discussed.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published version deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Psychology
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2013 02:49
Last Modified: 30 Apr 2019 05:08
Uncontrolled Keywords: mentoring; transition to the workforce; scientific research; competencies
Fields of Research : 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170199 Psychology not elsewhere classified
13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130213 Vocational Education and Training Curriculum and Pedagogy
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130309 Learning Sciences
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9301 Learner and Learning > 930103 Learner Development
Identification Number or DOI: 10.2304/plat.2013.12.2.136

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