1 Peer Tutoring Training Module Read Write Activity 2 Peer Tutoring Introduction Peer tutoring is the process between two or more students in a group where one of the students acts as a tutor for the other group-mate(s). Peer tutoring can be applied among students of the same age or students belonging to different age groups. Encouragement of peer tutoring is a useful strategy that can be applied effectively by teachers in many cases in both monograde and multigrade schools. Theoretical Background It is useful to define two types of peer tutoring, (a) incidental and (b) structured peer tutoring. (a) Incidental peer tutoring often takes place, either at school or while students are playing after school or when they are socializing. Whenever children are cooperating, playing or studying and one guides the others, it may be stated that we have a kind of incidental peer tutoring. For example when a student asks his/her classmate to help him/her in Maths or asks for tips on how to improve his/her performance while playing a new video game, we have cases of incidental peer tutoring. (b) Structured peer tutoring refers to peer tutoring implemented in specific cases and for specific subjects, following a well-structured plan prepared by the teacher. Structured peer tutoring is spontaneously used by experienced teachers who are able to plan well in advance and are familiar on how to combine tutors and tutees appropriately in order to have good results. There is strong evidence that peer tutoring has clear positive results on learning and this makes it a valuable weapon in the teachers’ hands. Furthermore the evidence suggests that if incidental peer tutoring is replaced by a structured form then the results can be surprisingly remarkable. It should be noted that the research with respect to peer tutoring refers to monograde classrooms. Advantages of peer tutoring The main reasons why peer tutoring is an advantageous teaching strategy are given below. (a) Children understand easily tutors who are children, since they are cognitively closer to each other. Usually children find their own ways of communicating with other children and many times they can present a subject to other children better than an adult. Children-tutors can give to their class-mates their own models of understanding a subject, using their personal experience, fresh ideas, examples from children’s every-day life, even popular communicating symbols that make learning easier. 3 (b) Peer tutoring not only ensures a good level of effective and efficient communication and cooperation in favour of the tutees but also acts at the benefit of student-tutors as well. The tutors’ gains are the following: By spending time in revising the subject maters they have to teach to other students, they result in acquiring deeper and clearer knowledge on the specific subjects they deal with. It is said that we learn 95% of what we teach; Through tutoring, children tutors develop their ability and skill to teach and guide other students; Children tutors enjoy a rise in their self-esteem, feeling that they do something useful and seeing their tutees to improve. They also enjoy respect from tutees. Many times the ambition of older children to be selected as tutors increases competitiveness and results in improving the older groups’ standards. Of course care should be taken from the teacher’s side to limit as much as possible discrimination in favour of some children-tutors. Structured peer tutoring improves communication and cooperation among students, enhances the team spirit and helps socialization. Peer tutoring in a multigrade class Although there is no research evidence for peer tutoring in a multigrade classroom, it is expected that the effectiveness of this strategy is higher in such classes. More specifically it is well-known that in a monograde class the teacher has to manage teaching time in such a way as to succeed in a rational sharing among different groups. This implies that for significant time intervals, during which the teacher teaches one group, he/she is not available for all the other groups, the exact time of the interval depending on the number of groups that belong to the same monograde class. Allowing young tutors in multigrade classes to play teaching roles, offers support in managing teaching time. For an effective peer tutoring in a multigrade class it is essential to adopt the structured type of tutoring. The fact that tutoring of one or more groups takes place while the teacher is occupied with another group, makes necessary for the class to be well organised in this respect. Moreover, a good structure could be a way to overcome possible lack of experience in combining tutor/tutees. In respect of structured peer tutoring in a multigrade school, there are several dimensions that should be taken into account, since putting some students together and assigning tutoring roles to individuals doesn’t mean that positive outcomes are ensured. The young tutors, being students themselves are untrained on handling tutoring situations or are not really aware in depth on the subject they are about to tutor. They need guidance and support by teachers on developing tutorial, communicational and cooperative skills. For a successful structured peer tutoring in a multigrade class there are certain rules that should be followed: 1. It is required that teachers are familiarized with grouping techniques and have already implemented a mixed ability – mixed age grouping in their classroom. 2. It is necessary for the teacher to encourage peer tutoring, preparing tutors as well as tutees in advance. 3. It is necessary for the teacher to “appoint” in an informal, yet clear, way the tutors, -usually among the older students. 4 4. It is recommended that there is a good preparation of the tutoring’ s structure in respect to both, time and cognitive material. 5. It is useful for the teacher to give the appropriate guidance to the tutors, well in advance. 6. It is useful for the teacher to supervise the tutor discreetly, while tutoring. Once these requirements are met, teachers can apply peer tutoring within the framework of mixed age groups, taking advantage of the cognitive maturity of older students whose cognitive status is still close to that of their younger colleagues. In mixed age groups, older students can very successfully play the role of tutors for their younger group mates if their teachers appropriately support them. In this case all the advantages concerning structured peer tutoring are well-revealed. Suggestions and tips on guiding teachers for introducing peer tutoring in the multigrade classroom are given in this module at the “Suggestions for good practice and activities” section. This module aims at giving teachers the chance to apply peer tutoring in their multigrade class by providing tips and guiding in detail teachers in the process. Suggestions for further study The Multigrade classroom, A resource for small Rural Schools, NRWEL, Book 7: Planning and using peer tutoring, pages: 1-24 Robert L. T., Cross-Age and Peer Tutoring, ERIC Clearinghouse on Reading, English, and Communication, (1993), http://www.indiana.edu/~eric_rec/ieo/digests/d78.html Gartner, A., Riessman, F., Peer-Tutoring: Toward a New Model, ERIC Clearinghouse on Teaching and Teacher Education Washington DC, (1993) Kalkowski, Peer and Cross-Age Tutoring, School Improvement Research Series, NWREL, (2001), http://www.nwrel.org/scpd/sirs/9/c018.html Suggestions for good practice and activities Within the framework of this activity the teachers are asked to set up mixed ability groups of students in a lesson of their choice and assign peer-tutoring roles to specific students of these groups. It is supposed here that they are familiar with the concepts and the use of mixed age grouping in the multigrade class, as this was the subject of a previous training activity under the MUSE framework. The new characteristic in this training activity is that the teachers are asked to introduce peer tutoring within mixed age groups and try to reveal the potential of peer tutoring as a teacher’s supporting measure. The instructions to be followed are given below: 1. Select the lesson that you consider convenient for you to implement peer tutoring 2. Make any necessary rearrangements of your time schedule in order to be able to proceed with the activity in the selected subject 5 3. Set up mixed age groups of students for the subject you want to teach - For developing the mixed age groups follow the guidelines and the procedure that was presented at the “Mixed Ability Grouping” module. It is preferable for you to proceed with the selection of the groups before the lesson in order to save time and focus on the implementation of peer tutoring. 4. Select the peer tutors for each group and design activities. Try to follow the tips given below. Peer Tutoring TIPS on designing, developing and implementing peer tutoring activities Good Planning Successful introduction of peer tutoring in class requires detailed planning, careful monitoring and continuous provision of support to the young tutors. Research evidence indicate that good and detailed planning contributes the most for the benefit of the students while enhancing tutors’ self esteem and creating a good creative climate in the class Careful selection of tutors One of the most sensitive parameters for successful peer tutoring is the selection of the best tutors among the members of the group. Age and academic performance are two of the criteria used for selecting students. Engage older and good students of a group as tutors and capitalize on their cognitive and intellectual maturity on tutoring others. Important parameters on tutor selection are the sociability and personality of the potential tutors as well. Detailed design of tutoring activities Design activities that will allow peer tutors to actually support their tutees. Based on your personal judgement choose different tutors on different subjects or activities. Select tutors that you think they could manage with the tutoring group activity best. Give them in detail instructions on how to perform the activities and how to handle their tutees. Prepare material if necessary that will help the children to manage with the activity. Try to utilise the resources that your multigrade class has to design multidimensional activities that will benefit both young tutors and their tutees. Ongoing supervision and support for tutors It is very crucial not to leave the young peer tutors completely on their own to deal with their teammates. You should share your teaching time among the groups according to the lesson needs and try to guide the tutors on their work. Give them advice on how to manage tutees and try to prevent any misbehaviour phenomena by supervising the young tutors. 6 Utilise school resources and ICT infrastructure Try to involve students in open activities utilising the school resources such as books and tools, laboratory equipment and ICT infrastructure. Design activities that are going to require different levels of involvement by the students. Such activities will allow for the student tutors to learn as well by engaging themselves in more complex tasks of the overall activities. Computers, educational software and Internet allows for open ended cross curricula activities targeted for everyone. Keep record of the students’ activities Try to record the activities of each student group and the overall progress of the teams. In addition try to record any distinctive characteristics of effective or ineffective tutoring behaviour. This will help you understand better the ways that children cooperate together and will provide you input on how to support better peer tutoring in you class. Discuss with peer tutors Initiate a discussion with young tutors before and after the lesson. Before the activities you should encourage them on their tasks and remark the importance of their work for their teammates. Give them advice on proper behaviour to handle their tutees and try to show them verbally examples on how to instruct others. After the lesson discuss again with your tutors and try to record any positive or negative aspects of the procedure. Encourage your tutors again by thanking them for their work and try inspiring them for continuing tutoring activities at the future. Discuss with tutees You should talk with young tutees before and after the lesson as well. They to set away any possible fears they might have with working with other children. Explain them that they are going to assist by friends and of course ask their opinion on the lesson afterwards. Record their input and try to take it into account next time. 5. Develop special modules and worksheets for students if necessary. - You can summarize some advice for the tutors in a piece of paper and give it to them. According to the activity you can provide with different resources and modules tutors and tutees 6. Describe in general the way you decided to work and the philosophy of the activities you designed. 7. For each lesson fill in the “lesson plan & evaluation” form that follows. - Try to be clear and give adequate information on the lesson. It is preferable to fill the form electronically using your computer and send it back to your national training supervisor via e-mail. - Respect the format of it, it will be used for evaluation purposes - Try to share details and present aspects of the lesson that are related with peer tutoring in your class. 7 PROJECT MUSE TEACHERS TRAINING LESSON PLAN & EVALUATION Lessons’ Title: Grade: Date:. Other grades Present: Subject: Teaching Chapters of the Curriculum: Teaching Targets: Expected Results: Required Time and Teaching Time table (for all grades): Required Time: teaching hour/s A B C D E min min min min min Time devoted to the grade/group under main consideration (in minutes) Time devoted to other grades/groups present in the classroom (in minutes) Required Educational Material (books, notes, worksheets etc.): Required Equipment (ICT, lab equipment etc.): Required Software: Use of Internet and Links: Description of the subject to be taught: 8 Prerequisite knowledge of students: Implementation Scenario: Steps to teaching of the subject: 9 EVALUATION DATA Evaluation of students: (1 to 5) Group Pupil Attention Performance Cooperation Group Performance Group Name1 1 Name2 Name3 Group Name1 2 Name2 Name3 General Feeling of the class Did any specific problems occur during the lesson? Would you consider it as successful? Do you have any definite proposals for the improvement of teaching? General / Other comments?
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