As per Topping’s definition (1996), “In peer tutoring people from similar social groupings who are not professional teachers but help each other to learn and learn themselves from teaching.”
In simple words, this innovative teaching methodology involves collaboration among students in the classroom to master an educational skill. It is an extremely flexible and peer-mediated strategy, which involves students serving as academic tutors and tutees.
Why Prefer Peer Tutoring?
Peer tutoring's primary objective is to assist students who have mastered a given subject or skill, which they have not yet done. However, this technique does not completely replace full classroom teaching or individual work. It is just an addition that provides a way to help students when they have not been sufficient to master the material handy.
What are the Pros of Peer Tutoring?
Enhance student attitudes to learning
One of the major benefits of peer teaching includes a positive impact on students' attitudes about what they are learning and the learning process in general and help improve their attitude towards learning. Research from the International Encyclopedia of Education shows that peer-to-peer collaboration in a learning environment can improve students' socio-emotional development. It can also break down the obstacles that could have existed for certain disengaged students.
It is also found that students who sense a disconnection while learning from a teacher who studied the material long ago are more likely to appreciate learning from a more relatable peer.
Foster more personalized learning
The practice of peer tutoring or cross-age tutoring is found to be beneficial to schools in that it provided opportunities for students to receive individualized attention and support in an extremely cost-effective manner. Utilizing peer tutors and student aides during class provided teachers with increased opportunities to differentiate instruction, time to more effectively manage behaviours and address individual student issues, the option to provide more guidance during small group work, and an increased ability to accommodate the diverse set of needs demonstrated by their students. Utilizing peer and cross-age tutors promoted a more cooperative classroom environment and improved student attitudes toward the subject matter. Peer-to-peer and age-to-age tutoring programs also provided another way to help students who would otherwise be reluctant to talk to teachers. Many students reported that they felt more comfortable and were less intimidated approaching a peer tutor or cross-age tutor to ask questions, discuss class material, gain clarification and receive extra assistance.
Engages Students Through Cooperative Learning
Peer tutoring can also be characterized as cooperative learning. Cooperative learning implies that students work together, each bringing what they can to help improve their understanding of a topic. Typically, cooperative learning involves students from different skill levels working together in groups.
Peer-to-peer learning automatically lends itself to a collaborative class setting. Therefore, encourage engagement within the classroom. Cooperative learning has a student-centred approach. Therefore, it makes sense that it is amongst the best ways of creating an engaging and cooperative learning experience that students lead is for the students; research demonstrated the same. It demonstrates that cooperative learning contributes to improved productivity and success and peer support relationships, and overall mental and emotional well-being and self-esteem.
Higher Academic Achievement
With the points mentioned above, it is somewhat clear that when students get more engaged in the learning, more motivated, and have received more individualized assistance, it is easy to predict why they are likely to attain success through Peer Tutoring. More engagement through peer tutoring can make a huge difference in a few students learning experience. Also, higher performance is especially likely if a peer-learning model prioritizes small classes or low student-teacher ratios. More individualized teaching also makes it more likely that students with natural talent will excel beyond the course's standard learning objectives.
Peer Teachers to Build Confidence and Sharpen Their Skills
With peer tutoring in practice, peer educators can also benefit from the peer learning process's commitment. As it is rightly said, you learn by doing. If a student ever teaches a concept or skill to a friend, they may brush up on information or sharpen their real-time skills. Peer tutoring has also been found to have additional benefits for peer professors. The development of lessons and working in an instructor role can help them to grow in creativity, independence, confidence, among other things. Some peer professors can have their excitement and inspiration around a certain field of content or revitalized skills by making it alive for other students.
What are the Cons of Peer Tutoring?
Though teacher shares their tips and guidelines with the students, it will not build an expert teacher (student). There are also potential gaps in communication between the student and the teacher, often failing in assigned activities.
The Reluctance of Students
As every coin has two sides, there may be students who are desire to teach, and on the other side, there may be students who are hesitant or find it uncomfortable to work out of their comfort zone. Consequently, it becomes a challenge for the teacher to bring peer mentoring into practice.
Cost and Time Commitment
An effective peer tutoring program requires an investment of time and energy to initiate and sustain the school. According to researcher K.J. Topping in "Higher Education", peer tutoring requires extensive peer tutors training, careful matching of tutors to tutees, ongoing supervision, and monitoring progress. Related costs may include purchasing peer-to-peer tutoring materials and hiring staff to help teachers implement and manage peer-to-peer tutoring initiatives.
Resistance and Skepticism
Probably parents and students misinterpret peer mentoring. They may take it in a derogative manner that some other kids of the same age and grade level teach their kid, and teachers are sitting idle. They can stay sceptical until they are not convinced that it is sufficient. They would need evidence that peer mentorship can improve test scores and results. The student selected as peer tutors should be well-deserved and should not dislike the given responsibility or lack empathy for struggling peers. If most tutors come from a privileged and affluent environment, disadvantaged students who receive tutoring may feel stereotypical and stigmatized.
Another barrier to peer mentoring is the logistics of planning a formal program, which can be problematic. Schools/universities that implement peer tutoring programs must consider when and where the tutoring will take place. If the tutor only works with less performing students and does so in class, they can be socially stigmatized. It may upset other students, or those who are not tutors may distract students who are tutors. Staging the tutoring sessions in another location presents additional problems. Both tutors and students will miss new classwork while the tutoring takes place. If tutoring is scheduled during lunchtime or recess, students may perceive it as a form of punishment.
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