Every month, the Peer Mentoring Committee hosts trainings for students in mentoring roles. As part of Weber State University’s Access and Diversity program, the Peer Mentor Program held part one of a training workshop called Disrupting Deficit Narratives on Feb. 10.

The Weber State University peer mentor's instagram handle. (Paige McKinnon/The Signpost)
The Weber State University peer mentor's instagram handle. (Paige McKinnon/The Signpost)

The program was held in partnership with Advancement Via Individual Determination Center. The leaders for the training were Nina Wilson and Kristi Gerdes.

The workshop focused on norms and social contract, articulating feeling, establishing the “why” and understanding culturally responsive teaching.

According to the Peer Mentor Program website, trainings will specifically address how educator mindsets can affect perceptions and shape institutional culture; assessing campus climate to understand the conditions needed to foster a positive learning environment for diverse students and practicing AVID culturally responsive strategies in curriculum.

Olga Antonio, mentor coordinator, said the purpose of this particular training is to give mentors an opportunity to challenge their own perceptions about the students they serve, particularly to ensure they do not see and act on deficits, but rather see and understand students with different backgrounds and strengths.

“Our mentors, all across campus, are amazing, and we want to give them the tools necessary to be effective and inclusive in all their peer to peer interactions,” Antonio said.

The peer mentor meeting discussing what groups norms are and the best way to be in a group setting, such as "open your minds to diverse views." (Paige McKinnon/The Signpost)
The peer mentor meeting discussing what groups norms are and the best way to be in a group setting, such as "open your minds to diverse views." (Paige McKinnon/The Signpost) Photo credit: Paige Mckinnon

Antonio said a majority of representatives from different mentoring programs agreed that disrupting deficit narratives was the topic they wanted to focus on since they work with students from all different backgrounds.

During the workshop, participants were able to interact through breakout rooms and a group discussion board called Padlet.

Antonio said that, even though the monthly training is targeted to students in mentoring roles, the training sessions are open to everyone.

“We believe this is a relevant topic for all students, faculty and staff. We all can learn to be more inclusive in our practices,” Antonio said. “So, even if folks were unable to attend the first session, we encourage them to attend the next two sessions.”

Parts two and three of the Disrupting Deficit Narratives workshop will be held on Feb. 16 and 24.

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