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This content is taken from the Queen's University Belfast's online course, Using Peer Tutoring to Improve Student Reading. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 4 secondsHi. I'm Allen Thurston. Welcome to the MOOC on literacy. What I'm going to do, first of all, is tell you a little bit about myself. And then I'll tell you a little bit about the MOOC. Working as an environmental education officer in a country park, I worked with a large number of school parties. And I enjoyed working with the school parties, so I became a teacher. And I worked in three different schools based in three different areas of Scotland. But one of the things that struck me repeatedly was there were a group of children whose school failed and who failed to learn in school. And these were children predominantly from high-poverty backgrounds.

Skip to 0 minutes and 40 secondsIt started raising questions in me, was there a better way that schools could work with these students? And that's probably formed the basis of my research over the past 20 years. And many of my colleagues-- I worked with many inspirational colleagues-- had great answers to some of the questions that were posed. But they didn't have all the answers. And I think that's been a predominant factor of our education system over the past 50 years. We've been able to teach children better and better. But the gap between reading attainment of those who come from affluent backgrounds and those who come from high-poverty backgrounds is growing greater and greater year on year.

Skip to 1 minute and 18 secondsSo at that point, I decided that educational research might provide us with the answers. I was looking enviously at the medical profession and the range of drugs and procedures that were all research and evidence based that were available to them. And I guess I started thinking, why shouldn't education have the same standards, the same opportunities to develop and test new ways of working with students and make sure that they work before we ask teachers to do them? So the MOOC is for teachers, those of you who work in child care settings, or parents. And the MOOC is designed to help you use a technique of reading with your children that will hopefully improve their reading attainment for them.

Skip to 2 minutes and 2 secondsHow do we know it will work to improve their reading attainment? Well, we've been working on research on this for about 15 years. And we've done two very large trials. And we tend to know who it works for and when it works. And what we hope to do is tell you the technique and also tell you when you should be using it.

Welcome to the Course

Professor Allen Thurston, the lead Educator, provides a warm welcome to all those interested in this new course on peer tutoring.

He briefly outlines his background, why he became interested in the improvement of reading attainment in children and the importance of educational research in developing a robust technique.

We hope that you will be able to use and adapt this peer reading technique by engaging in activities and discussion over the next few weeks.


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This video is from the free online course:

Using Peer Tutoring to Improve Student Reading

Queen's University Belfast