Peer Tutoring: Definition, Pros & Cons

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  • 0:04 What Is Peer Tutoring?
  • 0:30 Peer Tutoring Models
  • 1:49 How to Select Tutors & Models
  • 2:19 Benefits of Using Peer Tutors
  • 2:57 Disadvantages of Using…
  • 3:15 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
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 peer tutors in your classroom? This lesson will help you understand what peer tutoring is. We will also discuss the different models of peer tutoring, as well as the possible implications, both good and bad.

What Is Peer Tutoring?

Peer tutoring is a teaching strategy that uses students as tutors. The student pairs might work on academic, social, behavioral, functional, or even social skills. There are many different ways to pair students, such as by ability level, skills mastered, or age. The following model descriptions will assist you in selecting the correct model based on certain criteria.

Peer Tutoring Models

There are many different ways you can group students to tutor each other. It's important that you, the teacher, make sure that any material being reviewed by tutor groups is accurately assessed in these groups. Peer tutoring is not meant for introducing new materials or concepts. You need to monitor for understanding on both ends.

  • Class Wide Peer Tutoring (CWPT): In this model, the whole class is divided into pairs or small groups no larger than five. The groups should include students with different ability levels. For example, you would use this model if the whole class were preparing for a school-wide spelling bee.
  • Cross-Age Peer Tutoring: Younger students are paired with an older student. The older student is there to model good behavioral, functional, adaptive, or social skills. For example, a second grader could be paired with a kindergarten student to show them how to walk to the cafeteria, get a lunch tray, select foods, and find a place to sit.
  • Peer Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS): Students are paired with students around the same ability level. The tutee and tutor roles can change based on which student needs help on a particular skill. For example, one student may help their partner with science vocabulary words, and then the partner may change roles and help the other student with multiplication facts.

How to Select Tutors & Models

When selecting students to serve as tutors, be mindful of which students will be most helpful. You have to consider personalities, academic needs, behaviors, and preferences. Pairs should not be randomly selected when possible to deter disruptions during the tutoring sessions.

The model you use will be determined by the learning objective. You may have to teach students their roles in each group; do not expect them to know what they're supposed to do as tutee or tutor. You should model each role for them.

Benefits of Using Peer Tutors

The following are some of the many benefits of using a peer tutoring model in the classroom:

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