Collaborative learning among peers with help of each other is peer to peer learning. An environment where learners come together to learn from each other and with each other facilitates effective peer to peer teaching.
While some strategies and models define the best ways to make this work; I feel any strategy and activity can be turned into a peer to peer teaching technique by altering it to ensure students get to learn with and from each other. Apart from education, peer-to-peer learning model help students develop their soft skills which make them future-ready.
Below are five benefits that showcase the importance of peer to peer teaching:
Increased Literacy Scores
According to The Ohio University pilot study students who read and discuss story passages with their peers recall more content and score higher on assessments. The research was conducted by dividing four average students in 6th grade. The first pair participated in peer reading activities twice a week and the second pair read the same passages individually at the same frequency. The first pair scored higher on each reading assessment.
Developed Reasoning and Critical Thinking Skills
When working in groups and among peers, students tend to work and develop their reasoning and critical thinking skills, this happens so as they engage with peers that may come with different and unique ideas and perspectives. Hence, they get a chance to polish their skills. In the process of learning, they become active learners, discussing and rationalizing lesson concepts in their own words. The same has been proven by this oft-cited study about science education which states that Students who work in pairs and groups typically perform better on tests that involve reasoning and critical thinking.
Increased Comfort and Openness
This 1988 study indicates that “students generally identify more easily with peer helpers than with adult authority figures.” Children will certainly feel more comfortable with their peers. They find it easier to open up with them and share their challenges with peers they resonate with. This comfort and ease help in creating an environment where students comfortably ask questions and work on areas that they know need more effort. This also helps in creating a healthy class environment free from ridicule.
Better Confidence and Interpersonal Skills
Since peers are involved in activities with each other, they brush up and improve on their communication skills. Dealing with each other, they learn to communicate and express better. They learn from each other and also develop their skills while teaching each other. This also helps in confidence-building as they start to get a sense of self-confidence on every little achievement, be it in the form of successfully teaching a peer or performing better than their peers. Pioneering research from 1988 states tutors improves self-esteem and interpersonal skills by giving feedback. Students playing tutees realize these benefits by asking questions and receiving immediate clarification.
Since the essence of peer to peer teaching is collaboration, a lot of variation can be done to multiple activities. You can have a range of activities conducted on different subjects and objectives across multiple grade levels. There is no limit to the activities that can be done while working on this method of teaching. The only limit is the innovation. This versatile way of facilitating education to students can be engaging for students as they get to experience education differently.
These advantages mentioned above clarifies why many educators are turning towards peer tutoring activities. On the whole, they are engaging, meet the learning needs of the students as well as help them develop other crucial skills.
For your next read, I highly recommend you to read this article on Peer Learning Strategies in the Classroom. The post further elaborates on learning techniques both in and out of the classroom, including peer tutoring, small and large groups for class discussion, and online discussion and feedback.
What’s your take on peer-to-peer teaching? As an educator, would you like to implement this in your classroom? Do share with us in the comment section below.