Teaching Note—Strategies for Enhancing Writing Among First-Generation Social Work Students: Reflections on the Use of Peer Writing Mentors

Journal of Social Work Education / August 2020

group of hands writing

Social workers engage in various types of writing in the educational setting and in diverse practice settings at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels. What they write and how they write has a major impact on people’s lives. This teaching note highlights the importance of individualized writing support through a project that used peer writing mentors. Written from the perspectives of the instructor and two peer-writing mentors, the authors share our process and the ways they incorporated peer writing assistance and support to primarily first-generation bachelor of social work students over the course of 2 years. The authors address ethical tensions and the lessons learned along the way. In the evaluation of their work, they found that peer writing mentors have an important role in helping social work students, particularly from underrepresented groups, to develop academic literacies and promote a sense of community, solidarity, and support through relationship building. The authors conclude with pedagogical implications for teaching in social work.