Peer Tutoring Strategies For All Students

There are many learning models that students and their teachers employ to ensure that students master academic content. One of these is where students are paired up and become study partners which is also known as peer tutoring strategies. Models are flexible to accommodate the learning needs of students.

The concept of peer tutoring is not new. In the recent past however, it has become more popular among many students and teachers across the globe. At the beginning, its main focus was acquiring reading skills but has now expanded for use in science, writing, social studies and spelling. Tutors have to comprehend the content before they can play that role. On the other hand, reversing of roles between the tutor and tutee ensures that both students learn.

Peer tutoring does not involve adults teaching students, the students have to teach one another. In addition, it is not a cooperative model of learning where students learn in groups. There are many learning models encompassed in this particular model. Different models differ in the mode of pairing of students, development of academic content and how comprehensive tutoring is. Regardless, its main objective is to increase motivation, achievement and practice for students.

The model where the entire class is divided into smaller groups of two to five students is known as Class Wide Peer Tutoring. From each group, some students assume the role of tutor, others tutees and for others both roles at least at different times. Pairing can be achieved using different criteria. Older students may be paired with younger students a system known as cross age pairing. The older students may not have anything to learn from the younger students academically but may have inspiration from social responsibility.

Same age pairing involves pairing of students who are of the same age. In this case, they are able to teach one another with one giving and the other receiving at any one time. Similar or dissimilar abilities may be matched. Different abilities ensure those with stronger skills are able to give first responses and therefore the weaker students are able to emulate them.

When the student pair is of equal ability, they can take turns in assuming the tutor role. This way both of them learn and become experts in that particular topic of study. The students can be ranked according to their abilities and the list then used to pair them. Students with different personalities, needs and preferences should be paired to increase diversity.

This tutoring strategy involves developing instructional material that favors this type of learning model. The material should first teach the students how to be experts in tutoring and how to be good partners. In addition, the course content should be well prepared to accommodate feedback from tutors to tutees. Moreover, there should be capacity for the experts to reverse their roles and also the class teacher to monitor the learning.

As a result of this model of tutoring, student class engagement has indicated positive trend and also their attitude towards school improved. In contrast to the teacher centered approach, this particular tutoring has increased the opportunity for the learners to respond. In addition, classrooms with learning challenges such as disabilities have benefited.

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