A peer tutor is a person who is of a similar status to the one being tutored. In a K-12 school this is usually a student of the same grade or higher.
I teach in a high school and, last year, I was fortunate to have students who really wanted to learn and to absorb all the knowledge like sponges. The lessons were enriched by laboratory experiences, environmental excursions, group work, use of IT in business, videoconferencing, etc. but all this was not enough. They needed new experiences, they wanted to share with others their knowledge. After a debate in class and the idea of doing tutoring to children of lower secondary school degree was born.
They were using the padlet to document all scientific activities, they shared it with their colleagues and used it for group work. Prezi was used for their presentations and lab Go for the virtual laboratories. Later, they worked in an hour for queues, learned to program and created websites with blogs to disseminate their experiences.
They organized and decided that it would be nice to share a little of everything with the younger children so they were divided into three groups, organized their speeches with a prezi presentation and started their new adventure.
They worked with all the middle classes of out town showing maturity and flexibility. They have shown their knowledge in schools without a computer room, using the lim and pupils mobile phones in other classes with tablets or laptops when, sometimes, the internet connection was not even working. My function was only as a supervisor and support person.
This experience has been very positive for all for my little tutors and has showed once again that it is easier to peer-learn, same language, same dynamics and communication strategies.
I think that there are many benefits for both the peer tutors and those being tutored. In fact, an important aspect of this relationship is that the tutor can establish a relationship with the tutee in a way that a teacher cannot. A peer tutor can take the same class recently, or have taken similar classes.
As the peer tutor is seen by the tutee as being more at their own level, the advice given by the tutor may be more easily accepted than advice given by a teacher. Another key reason for this is that a peer tutor does not give any grades on paper, whereas a teacher in a tutor role may still be perceived as someone who grades papers.
Article written by: Costantina Cossu, Scientix Deputy Ambassador