Peer tutoring is a system of using students to tutor other students. In Peer Tutoring, every student in the class is paired with another. The teacher writes lessons that one student uses to teach or tutor another. During the tutoring, one student explains the work to another student, asks the student to answer questions, and tells the student whether his or her answers are correct. These programs can operate during normal class time as group activities or outside of class. Peer tutoring offers significantly more potential advantages than disadvantages, provided the tutors are well-prepared and monitored by the school.
Peer Tutoring helps teachers make sure that students have
• someone to sit next to them and personally explain the work in a way that is just right for them—not too slow and not too fast;
• more opportunities to talk about what they are learning, to practice what they are learning, to read aloud, and to write;
• more opportunities to ask questions when they are confused, without fear of being embarrassed in front of the whole class;
• someone who can tell them right away whether their answers are right or wrong; and
• someone to help and encourage them to finish assignments.
WHAT CAN THE TEACHERS DO
1. Explain and demonstrate peer tutoring and give your class time to practice tutoring before they do it for real. Two teachers can pretend to be a tutor and a tutee while the children watch. Show the class how to get into pairs quickly and quietly. Then pretend to go through a reading vocabulary or math lesson. Show the children how to begin the lesson, how to move through the lesson, and how to finish the lesson. Then the children can practice or roleplay with other children in the class just as the teachers did. Teachers can give feedback to the children while they practice.
2. Teach children what good tutor and tutee behaviors are before starting Peer Tutoring. Explain how to tell their partners in a respectful way when they are wrong. Give them tips and demonstrate how not to get angry when another child tells them that they made a mistake.
3. Teach children how to keep track of their partner’s right answers or their own. The tutees will then see that they are getting better over time.
4. Make sure that children are tutoring with materials that are matched to their abilities. Materials that are too hard will frustrate them, and they will not be able to learn.
5. Have children tutor with new information as soon as they have learned the old material. This way they will not get bored.
6. Give all children opportunities to be the tutor, even in subjects where they have problems. They will learn from tutoring other students, and they will gain more confidence in their abilities in that area.
7. Make Classwide Peer Tutoring fun – like a game. Tutors can reward their classmates with points for giving answers that are right or for making progress.
These are some of the advantages of peer tutoring
· Academic Achievement: Peer tutors learn themselves by teaching the material to a classmate or younger student. Peer tutors are challenged to use and hone their creativity and critical thinking skills to help tutees make sense of new material introduced by the teacher. Students being tutored can ask questions to ensure understanding. For both students, repetition aids retention. Furthermore, peer tutoring can reduce boredom, absenteeism and truancy, as reported in “Peer Tutoring: A Teacher’s Resource Guide.”
· Personal Growth: The National Tutoring Association indicates that students engaged in peer tutoring develop a positive attitude toward learning and school. Students who receive peer tutoring are less likely to fear or detest certain subjects. Peer tutors develop a sense of pride and self-worth knowing they’re capable of making a positive difference in the life of another student. Peer tutoring is also thought to increase self-confidence as tutors and tutees discover they’re capable of mastering difficult assignments and abstract concepts even without the help of the teacher. It may increase participation and student’s involvement in all aspects of the learning process. It encourages a student-centred approach and facilitates collaborative work, for on- and off-campus groups, and also provides records of interactions and discussions.
These are some of the disadvantages of peer tutoring:
· Cost and Time Commitment: Effective peer tutoring programs don’t just happen; they require an investment of time and energy on the part of the school to launch and maintain. Peer tutoring requires extensive training of peer tutors, supervision, and monitoring of progress. Without support, teachers will have less time for daily lesson planning.
· Resistance and Skepticism: Parents and students may have misgivings about peer tutoring and need convincing that it’s worthwhile. Parents may remain skeptical until evidence is presented that peer tutoring can improve grades and test scores. Student selected as peer tutors may resent the responsibility or lack empathy for struggling peers.
· Assessing online activity remains problematic (example, paraphrasing versus original contributions) and encouraging active participation can be difficult. Managing large volumes of discussion can be time-consuming. It may require students to learn appropriate online communication skills and tutors to learn new online moderation skills (or adapt existing skills).
REFERENCES FOR THIS BRIEF Delquadri, J.C., Greenwood, C.R., Stretton, K., & Hall, R.V. (1983). The peer-tutoring spelling game: A classroom procedure for increasing opportunity to respond and spelling performance. Education and Treatment of Children, 6, 225–239.