Book Reviews

Book by Fred B. Newton & Steven C. Ender
Review by Travis Nakayama
Education Department
University of Hawaii at Hilo

For novice and experienced advisors, Students Helping Students:  A Guide for Peer Educators on College Campuses, 2nd Edition provides a framework for understanding the dynamics of peer education.  This book serves as a training resource for both peer educators and advisors, where authors Fred B. Newton and Steven C. Ender answer the essential questions of:
• What is peer-education?
• What dynamics are needed for successful peer education to take place?
• What programs in higher education use peer education?
The book operates under a reflection model called “The Training Paradigm” to constantly engage readers.  This model asks that readers attempt to explain the basic principles of a concept, reflect on the relationship between the concept to peer education, and utilize the concept in real life situations.  This model allows the reader to engage in a process of self-discovery and take an active approach toward learning while reading.

A basic assumption of this book is that readers have no previous background of peer education. As such, Newton and Ender provides readers with a comprehensive guide to learning about the necessities of peer education.  This book provides various theoretical principles that pertain to:
• Student development
• Cultural considerations
• Communication
• Problem solving
• Group dynamics
• Leadership
• Academic success strategies
• Professional ethics

In addition to the various theoretical principles that are presented, the authors provide examples of peer education programs that can be found in various institutions of higher education.  These examples not only show the prevalence of peer education programs, however, they also identify the practical benefits of peer education programs to students, institutions, and communities as a whole.

One of the major strengths of this book is the authors’ ability to effectively convey their message to a diversity of learners.  Those who are visual learners can benefit from the numerous figures and conceptual maps that are connected to the theories.  Alternatively, those who learn through active participation can benefit tremendously from the numerous activities presented in each chapter.
 The authors’ ability to link theory into practice is another strength of this book.  Presented in each chapter are numerous case studies that are taken from students in peer educator classes.  These case studies prove that these theories are valid and that peer education within higher education can be extremely powerful practice in helping fellow students grow.

Finally, the authors’ tone encourages peer educators and advisors to become better advisors.  Peer educators and advisors will find the authors’ tone to be uplifting and encouraging due to the book’s active approach toward learning.  By reading the case studies, participating in activities, and constantly reflecting, readers are easily able to grasp various theories and are motivated to implement these theories in their everyday practice.

Overall, Students Helping Students:  A Guide for Peer Educators on College Campuses, 2nd Edition is an excellent resource for those seeking an introduction to the world of peer education, and for both novice and experienced advisors.  Many of the theories, concepts, tools, and activities presented in this book are not only appropriate for peer educators, but are also appropriate for anyone with positions in higher education.

Students helping students:  A guide for peer educators on college campuses, 2nd Edition (2010). Book by Fred B. Newton & Steven C. Ender. Review by Travis Nakayama. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.  338 pp., $35.00, (paperback), ISBN # 978-0-470-45209-7

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