Learning and Sharing

Mentoring vs Modeling

on May 2, 2013



We have always used classmates and peers as “social skill models” in our social skills groups.  It has been a wonderful thing.  Recently, I started thinking about peer models as peer mentors.  There is a difference.  As I read Michelle Garcia Winner’s blog post dated 2/5/2013 at, it became clear to me it was time to make a change for some of our students.

Michelle Garcia Winner writes in her blog post that “modeling is artificially setting up a social scenario to demonstrate appropriate behavior.  Mentoring is an in-the-moment social process that mimics more of the qualities of a real-life social encounter and prompts social thinking  as  well as giving attention to the social behavior”.

A parent of one of my students discussed this topic with me last week.  Having a peer mentor in the neighborhood sounds like a great idea for our students who find it challenging to  negotiate play situations.

In the same blog post, Michelle also writes, “Parents are home, teachers are at school, the choir leader is part of the after school program, yet the student moves among them all.  For this reason it makes good sense that the best teachers for our students are select peers who have helpful attitudes and a desire to watch their peers succeed.  We want to identify and guide these socially successful and helpful students to become peer mentors to our students with social learning challenges.

I will have to research this topic and make a plan.

Happy Thursday!



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