Saturday, June 4, 2011

Classwide Peer Tutoring

Maheady, L. & Gard, J. (2010). Classwide Peer Tutoring: Practice, theory, research, and personal narrative. Intervention in School and Clinic 46 (2), 71-78.

The article focused on classwide peer tutoring strategies for the elementary school classroom. The author worked closely with an elementary school teacher who modeled a spelling list peer tutoring strategy. In the article, the author provides an introduction for the need of different strategies in the classroom to support student learning other than direct-teacher instruction. In this area, the author raises the concerns that proponents of classwide peer tutoring and provides academic research to support the importance of engaging students in teaching one another. The article then provides a very clear description of the peer tutoring strategy in the context of the spelling lesson. The teacher who implemented the strategy, writes a narrative describing the path to this strategy and the different ways the teacher has utilized the strategy in successful ways in the classroom. The article closes with a description of more evidence in support of classwide peer tutoring, and references other articles that discuss this practice in different classrooms throughout the various levels of education.

Reflection for Practice--
While I do not think I will use this strategy for teaching specific concepts as the article discusses using this as a game and competition to re-enforce material already taught, I do see the value in establishing groups of students that can support one another through their education. The article also discusses the variety of ways that that students develop socially and emotionally through the peer tutoring groups that teachers establish. A particular part that stands out to me, and I will make sure to remember in my practice is that students must have opportunities to respond to curriculum and teacher instruction. Without this opportunity to respond and interact with material, students will not be able to engage with their learning and maximize their success.
“CWPT essentially harnesses these instructional variables into a game format that actively engages all pupils simultaneously, provides immediate positive and corrective feedback, and offers contingent rewards for improved academic performance.” p. 75
“Finally, developmental theorists argue that collaborative activities among children promote growth because individuals work within one another’s proximal zones of development and model collaborative group behaviors slightly above their own.” p. 76
“Research findings indicated that CWPT (a) significantly improved student academic performance on both curriculum-specific and strandardized measures of achievement, (b) reduced disruptive behavior, and © enhanced interpersonal interactions among students from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds as well as between children with disabilities and their normally developing peers. p. 76

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