Classwide Peer Tutoring: Definition & Examples

Instructor: Lori Sturdivant

Lori has a specialist's degree in Instructional Leadership/Mild Moderate and currently serves as the Lead Teacher for The University of Southern Mississippi's Autism Project.

Are you considering using Classwide Peer Tutoring (CWPT) in your classroom? This lesson will explain exactly what CWPT is, as well as examples of how to implement it in the classroom.

What Is Classwide Peer Tutoring (CWPT)?

Classwide Peer Tutoring (or CWPT) is a teaching strategy in which the class as a whole is divided into pairs, or small groups no larger than five. The tutoring happens during regular class time, and is led by the students. The groups should include students with different ability levels. Each student should have the opportunity to be both the tutor and the tutee. The teachers are in charge of what information is being tutored or reviewed in the groups. During the tutoring, a peer explains the work, asks the questions, and provides the feedback to the peer(s) while the teacher monitors the class. This strategy is for reviewing materials or practicing a skill. It should not be used for introducing new content.

How CWPT Can Help You

Classwide Peer Tutoring has numerous advantages, including:

  • It provides for a student to work with someone who can explain lessons to them on their level, at their pace.
  • It gives students more opportunities to discuss what they are learning, and to practice the skill with someone monitoring them, and making sure they do it correctly.
  • It provides students with immediate feedback.
  • It offers students opportunities to ask questions, without worrying about being embarrassed in front of the entire class.
  • It provides for someone to encourage students to stay on task and complete assignments.
  • Students will get more one-on-one instructional time because their peer tutor can assume the role of the teacher in the group; the teacher cannot provide one-on-one to more than one student at a time. Instead, the teacher can monitor all of the groups at once.

Is CWPT Right for My Population of Students?

Research has determined that Classwide Peer Tutoring is helpful in reading, writing, spelling, math, and writing. It has also proven helpful for students in pre-school all the way to high school seniors. CWPT is appropriate for all students regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or disability.

How Do I Get Started?

  • Discuss peer tutoring and model it.

Role play being the tutor and tutee with another teacher; then have the students role play both roles with each other. Provide specific feedback during their practice sessions.

  • Define behavior expectations.

Instruct your students on what is considered appropriate tutor and tutee behaviors. Include things such as how to provide and receive constructive criticism.

  • Make sure all students have the chance to be the tutor, even in areas where they struggle.

They can still improve their skills by being the tutor, and they will gain more self-confidence.

  • Ensure that it is fun!

Reward students for making progress, and for demonstrating the appropriate defined behaviors. Let the students help you determine what rewards will be used.

  • Listen to your students.

Let them provide input on the process. Consider their concerns and suggestions as appropriate.

Examples of When to Use CWPT

  • Johnny has difficulty staying on task during seat work. He is easily distracted by outside sounds and such. When he is off task, he can become disruptive to other students.

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