Peer and Cross-Age Tutoring as an Academic-Instructional Method By: Brittany Holman SPY 620-Goss
What is Peer and Cross-Age Tutoring?Peer tutoring is when fellow, same age students tutor kids whoare struggling in their class, in hopes that both the child who isstruggling, and the child who is tutoring, will learn and benefitfrom the grouping.Cross-Age tutoring is similar, except that it involved olderstudents tutoring and mentoring those younger than themselves.The goal of this is also that BOTH students benefit from thegroup, as teaching others often leads to learning things oneself.These methods are effective in many ways. Not only do studentslearn academics from one another, but they also learnresponsibility, social skills, and gain self-esteem.
History of Peer and Cross-Age TutoringThe history or peer and cross-age tutoring goes as far back asman has existed. It has always been common for siblings andcompanions alike to learn from watching and conversing withanother.The first time we see this method utilized in an educationalsetting is in 19th century England, where Joseph Lancaster cameup with the monitorial system, where his older students wouldteach and monitor the progress of his younger students.This idea slowly swept into America, where financial difficultiesmade it impossible for large amounts of students to learn.Through peer tutoring, however, it was extremely doable.
What specific student populations benefit from this method?One group of students particularly identified as benefittingfrom this method is students with different first languagesthan English. By being involved with a tutor, they get moreof a chance to practice their English proficiency in acomfortable setting.Students with behavioral problems also benefit, as theylearn from their tutors to have a better attitude towardsschool, and their dropout rates decrease. Oftentimes,students that have behavior and attitude problems dontrespect or trust authority, but will open up more to someoneless intimidating and more like themselves.
Cost-Effectiveness of peer and cross-age tutoringThis type of method is seen to be extremely costeffective, especially when compared to having topay outside tutors, or hire additional teachers torun small groups of struggling students. It isfound to be extensively cheaper than computer-aided instruction, which would be an alternativemethod of tutoring. Really, the only cost is whenstarting up the program, as teachers andstudents have to be trained correctly, but it iswell worth the money, since it has beensuccessful in implementation!
How is Peer and Cross-Age Tutoring assessed?When assessing how effective this method is for the tutors, it isrecommended that they keep a journal that they write in at leastonce a week. In this way, they can reflect on what theyve doneand understand what they can learn from it. It is also standard fortutors to have group reflections with other tutors, where they canhear about each others experiences and learn from one another.Certain ways that have been found to be effective whenmonitoring the tutees growth is through interviewing them, talkingto the tutors and the students parents on a regular basis,observing the students, and taking pre and post standardizedtesting.
Peer and Cross-Age Tutoring in the 3 Tiers of RTITier 1: Using this method in a tier 1 RTI group would basically meanthat everyone in the entire group would be paired up, and each couldbecome a sort of “expert” on a subject, and teach what they havestrengths in to the other studentTier 2: In tier 2 this tutoring would become more intense, where onlystudents who are struggling would be assigned with a peer or cross-age tutor to give them extra help on specific difficulty subjects. In thistier, students who are struggling may also be asked to go and tutoryounger students, in hopes that this task will help them learn and gainskills as well.Tier 3: tier 3 would be the most intense form of peer tutoring, whereperhaps a student would have a full time peer tutor that worked withthem for most of the school day, and the assessments that the tutorand the students would fill out would have to be much more frequent,perhaps once a day instead of once a week.
Study 1: The Effects of Peer Tutoring on ReadingMiller, Topping, and Thurston (2010) investigated the effects that peer and cross age tutoring had on students self esteem. They conducted a study of 125 primary schools in England, where either classrooms had 6th grade students tutoring 4th grade, or 4th with 4th and 6th with 6th. They had these match ups participate in a paired reading cycle, which had the tutors and the tutees read together, and the tutor would either praise if the student did well, or correct them and work with them on reading strategies if they made mistakes. The students progress was assessed by having them take pre and post self esteem tests. The results found that self esteem and self confidence went up for both groups of students, while self- worth only went up significantly in the cross-age groups. Regardless, the results were strong enough to show that this type of intervention works to improve feelings of self, and when students feel good about themselves, they have more
Study 2: The Effects of Online Cross-Age Tutoring in College De Smet, Van Keer, and Valcke (2009) examine the effects ofcross-age (seniors to freshman) tutoring that occurs online at acollege campus. When first hearing about peer and cross-agetutoring, my immediate thought was college, where one of myfreshman classes was taught by a graduate student... its kindof the same idea. This study follows 19 college seniors as theyeach lead their own discussion/tutor group of about 10freshman. This, in a way, is peer tutoring as well, since thestudents worked with others in their same class as well. Theresults were measured through quantitative content analysis,where students responses in the group were measure throughcertain scientific guidelines. The study found that the tutorsincreased social and organizational skills in the tutees, but alsofound that tutors went from acting as a model, an example, toacting as a coach, and somewhat let the power go to theirhead, perhaps somewhat decreasing their social skills.
Study 3: Cross-Age Tutoring onReading Attitude and ImprovementDavenport, Arnold, and Lassman (2004) examined theeffects that cross-age tutoring had on fifth grade studentswith learning disabilities and kindergarten students. Thefifth grade students pre-read the books selected for thekindergarten classes, and would go in twice a week andread a story to them for half an hour. They alsosometimes went in an assisted in a literacy-relatedactivity. The worked with the kindergarteners in smallgroups or one-on-one. Their progress was monitoredthrough pre and post testing of reading skills. The resultsshowed that both the fifth grade students with disabilities,as well as the kindergarteners, intellectually benefittedsignificantly from this type of intervention.
Study 4: Peer Tutoring as an Alternative to the Reading Resource RoomFisher (2003) examines how well a group of 47 teenagersdid on improving their reading when working as a tutorwith younger children, as opposed to the more secludedchoice of a segregated resource room. The teens weresent to read and tutor at the local elementary school for ayear, where they implemented more difficult texts as theyear went on. The teachers would come up with the tutorslesson plans and they would have time to look them overand practice them before hand. They were to read a bookto the elementary kids and then ask clarifying questionsabout the reading. The study measured the tutorsimprovement through journals that the tutors kept, anddirect observations of the students and their fluency andcomfortability with the younger kids.
BibliographyDabkowski, B. (2000). The History of Peer Tutoring. Intertext. Accessed June 12, 2012. http://wrt-intertext.syr.edu/viii/dabkowski.htmlDavenport, S. V., Arnold, M., & Lassman, M. (2004). The Impact of Cross-Age Tutoring on Reading Attitudes and Reading Achievement. Reading Improvement. (41,1). 3-12.De Smet, M., Van Keer, H., & Valcke, M. (2009). Cross-Age Peer Tutors in Asynchronous Discussion Groups: A study of the Evolution in Tutor Support. Instructional Science. (37,1). 87-105.Fisher, Douglas (2001). Cross-Age Tutoring: Alternatives to the Reading Resource Room for Struggling Adolescent Readers. Journal of Instructional Psychology. (28, 4). 234-240.Kelly, B. (2010). Peer And Cross Age Tutoring. Washington Reading Corps: Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. 1-37. Http://servicelearning.orgMiller, D., Topping, K., & Thurston, A. (2010). Peer Tutoring in Reading: The Effects of Role and Organization on Two Dimsensions of Self Esteem. British Journal of Educational Psychology. (80). 417-433.
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