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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.
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Read about Peer Tutoring

Peer tutoring is as old as civilisation. Where people have needed to learn what foods to eat, how to cultivate crops or how to build structures for shelter, commerce or worship, informal cooperative learning has taken place.

We even see a form of structured peer tutoring in ancient civilisations. Socratic discourse, could be considered an ancient form of peer tutoring. This when two people discuss opposing ideas to determine which has more merit.

The idea of peer tutoring is that a more competent peer, but not a trained teacher, helps a peer complete work. It would be wrong to think of this as being a passive process of learner and teacher. There is evidence that tutors have much to gain in this process also. By having to deconstruct their understanding, and finding ways to explain it to a peer, tutors generally end up deriving more benefit from the process than tutees do!

Peer tutoring, a form of cooperative learning, is reported to have broad academic and socio-emotional benefits. The more structured forms of peer tutoring have been found to be the most effective. This is when there are set interaction patterns for both the tutor and tutee. There is also evidence to suggest that peer tutoring is effective when used to develop reading, rather than when used in other curriculum areas. So, by deciding to use peer tutoring in your classroom, you will be making an informed decision that has evidence of effectiveness.

A teacher’s journey

In this article from The Guardian, read about a teacher’s journey in the use of peer tutoring. In the article, a teacher talks about the Fife Peer Learning Trial.

You will learn more about the Fife Peer Learning Trial later in the course.

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This article is from the free online course:

Using Peer Tutoring to Improve Student Reading

Queen's University Belfast