Peer tutoring programs are beneficial for the tutors as well as the students. Learn how these programs can help students, regardless of what grade they're in.
What is a Peer Tutoring Program
A peer tutoring program is when trained students who excel in a particular subject tutor others who are having difficulties. Many educators and guidance counselors find this to be much more effective because peers understand each other better. Here are some other reasons why this type of tutoring is more helpful than regular adult-child tutoring relationships.
- Lack of intimidation
Sometimes students feel more comfortable speaking to someone of the same age because they feel intimidated by their teacher and do not want to ask certain questions.
- Better explanation
Sometimes no matter how many times an adult tries to clarify something, it may not click until someone of the same age explains it.
Sitting down with a friend working on class work can be much more motivating and fun than spending extra time with an adult or teacher.
The Benefits of Tutoring by Peers
Not only are these types of programs beneficial to students in need, but they benefit the tutor as well.
- Sense of accomplishment
It's rewarding when a student is able to teach another student something.
The tutor feels he or she is needed and special.
- Building skill
Not only does the tutor polish his or her skills on the subjects, the tutor also builds skills on how to teach others and work with others.
Both the student and tutor learn the value of teamwork.
- Learn how to be supportive
Some children have a hard time supporting each other and this program teaches tutors how to take time to listen and help their peers.
- It's good to help others
These programs help teach young adults the value of helping others so they can grow up to be a caring adult.
How to Start Peer Helping Programs in Your School
Many guidance counselors and educators start their own programs in their school. You will need to set up guidelines, rules and training sessions for the individuals who are interested in becoming tutors. The students have to do well in the subjects they want to teach. They will also need to learn how to help others with subject material. If the student is not in the same class as the person he or she is tutoring, he or she might have to sit in on the classes to understand what the teacher is covering for that week. Here are some books you may want to purchase for ideas on how to get started.
- Peer Helping Skills - Guide: Leader's Guide for Training Peer Helpers and Peer Tutors (For Middle & High School- Paperback)
- Tutoring and Mentoring: Starting a Peer Helping Program in Your Elementary School
- Increasing Student Productivity Through Peer Tutoring
Where to Start When Setting up a Program
Principals and school boards usually accept this because it gives the school something to be proud of and is low cost. If you present the benefits and a plan of action on how you will get the program started so that it will succeed, you should not have much of a problem getting it approved.
Many parents will be delighted your school will be holding tutoring programs. Parents of the ones chosen to tutor will be proud of their son or daughter, and parents of the ones who need help will be happy that they won't have to pay for outside help. It is necessary to address that their child will need transportation home if you hold after school hours unless you have a special bus to take children home afterwards.
Teachers will appreciate their students are getting extra help because it gives the teacher more time to get other work done and helps the teacher move through lessons easier. You will need to have a staff person present during tutor hours so you will need to ask who is available and willing to volunteer for this.
It takes time to set up a program such as this one so do not get discouraged. You will have some students who are excited at first, but then drop out. At first, you may not get many students coming to the clinic for help because they are shy. Teachers and peers can help by advertising the services. As soon as some find the courage to use the services, others will follow. You will find that once this takes off it will be one of the best services your school can provide.