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Terms and Descriptions
For a variety of K-12 peer-teaching (PT) approaches, the research suggests that the following ideas will likely increase the academic, social, and attitudinal benefits to kids:
- Structure the tasks clearly, emphasizing group outcomes.
- For low level tasks assigned to groups, use group rewards and reinforcers as well as individual accountability.
- Coach all students in roles, responsibilities, and group skills:
- How to give good explanations
- How to ask higher-order questions
- How to give and receive help productively
- How to organize the tasks, build the product, and share the results.
- Give students practice in helping each other every day.
- In general try to use heterogeneous grouping.
Following are some basic descriptions of terms used in our work; they are not technical definitions:
|A type of classroom strategy where the teacher organizes students to work together in small groups or pairs toward common goals.|
|Practice of asking one student to help another at the same age or grade level (same-age peer tutoring or SAPT). When the tutor is older and at a higher grade level than tutee, the practice is cross-age peer tutoring or CAPT). Some examples of this are A+ Tutoring in Missouri, Teaching Academy and Cadet Teaching programs in many American high schools.|
|Informal peer tutoring|
|“Study-hall” atmosphere in class, where people are encouraged to seek help from each other as needed on a task|
|General class discussion|
|Typical of teacher-led discussions and reviews, where students raise hands to answer teacher’s questions and, in the process, teach the rest of the class also|
|Posting work products|
|Students are requested (or required) to display work products through a bulletin board posting, demonstration, or performance|
|Reciprocal peer tutoring|
|Students are placed in dyads and tutor each other equally, usually following a structured format (Peer editing is a related approach in writing.)|
|Class-wide peer tutoring (CWPT)|
|A classroom strategy that assigns “think-pair-share” partners in advance|
|Spaces in a classroom set up with materials and tasks (Although usually for independent learning, learning centers provide opportunities for a variety of peer teaching approaches, especially CWPT or Informal Peer Tutoring.)|
|Mixed-ability tutoring (heterogeneous dyads or groupings)|
|Higher ability students work with lower-ability students, usually of the same age|
|Literature [or] Book circles|
|Groups of students discuss pieces of literature they are reading|
|Student presentations/peer modeling|
|Students prepare and present information or demonstrate skills to the rest of the class, individually or in small “project teams”|
|Students preparing quizzes or tests|
|Students make tests or contribute questions/problems to a teacher-compiled test|
|A structured approach to improving reading comprehension that involves instruction and practice in strategies such as generating questions, summarizing, and predicting what might happen next in a story or other text. Strategies are taught and modeled by the teacher. The students gradually take over the role of facilitator and provide instructional support to each other. (CRISS*, SRA/Open Court*, and SRA/Reading Mastery* systems are based on similar structured approaches and research findings, but have less emphasis on PT.)|
|Large group (whole-class) projects|
|Complex project learning, requiring large numbers of people to contribute individual skills or knowledge simultaneously, often with periodic evaluation and correction of group effort (Examples are house-building projects, team book or web site construction, theatre or video productions, musical ensembles, and team sports.)|
|CRISS = CReating Independence through Student-owned Strategies|
|SRA/Open Court and SRA/Reading Mastery
Reading Mastery is under “Direct Instruction” on this menu.