Saturday, July 15, 2017

Education Research, part 2

Peer Tutoring is great. All the best teachers set it up in their classrooms. Research says it raises achievement. After all, studies prove that "Teaching something is the best way to learn it."

I personally hate it. I've hated it since 7th grade when teachers started "encouraging" me to tutor other kids. I hated it in high school because I always got paired up with kids I didn't like or who resented that I was smarter than they were. Call me selfish? Tough shit; I was a teenager. It was NOT MY JOB. Teenagers have enough stress in their lives.Telling them they're responsible for some meathead's education? Oh, yeah, that is a *great idea*.

I won't require anyone to do it. EVER.
Purely voluntary, "working together"? Absolutely.
Homework club? Bring it on.
Labs? I'll encourage collaboration but if a student wants to go it alone, I won't stop them.

But studies show ...

From dcox, Research is great until you have to use it.
The EEF toolkit rates ‘peer tutoring’ as having a positive possible effect. I could see this and tell my staff ‘I want to see ‘peer tutoring’ in all your classes because that will enhance learning by ‘+5’ months.
However, the evidence behind this summary wouldn’t support this action. It specifies that the tutoring is most effective with cross-age tutoring, with two years between the students. That wouldn’t be the case in one class in the UK.
And crucially it also states:
‘Peer tutoring appears to be less effective when the approach replaces normal teaching, rather than supplementing or enhancing it, suggesting that peer tutoring is most effectively used to consolidate learning, rather than to introduce new material.’
Research in the wrong hands and with superficial or no in-depth analysis can be dangerous….

John Hattie's Visible Learning is a great tool but you've got to pay attention.

Perhaps Dan Willingham's Bill of Research Rights for Educators is appropriate here.

1 comment:

  1. Tutoring can be helpful (though no panacea) if the tutor is older than the tutee, has volunteered to tutor, and is being supervised and supported. AND, if it does not take up class time.