Research School Network: Five reasons to love peer tutoring Five reasons why every school should love peer tutoring


Five reasons to love peer tutoring

Five reasons why every school should love peer tutoring

by Shotton Hall Research School
on the

Peer tutoring is not as popular as it should be. Here are five reasons to love it.

1. It works

The EEF’s Teaching and Learning Toolkit reports that peer tutoring is high impact for very low cost based on extensive evidence.

There are some fascinating details in the evidence base, which I have explored in this companion piece, but the overarching headline is clear: peer tuition can make a real difference.

2. Lots of pupils are struggling

Many pupils are struggling with core aspects of learning like reading and schools are struggling to meet this need using teaching assistants and other resources.

Meanwhile, schools are sitting on a largely unused army of potential tutors who would enjoy helping their peers – especially with the gentle bribery of some bagels and badges.

Crucially, the difficulties many pupils face – like inadequate reading fluency – are challenges peer tutors are well suited to meet. This can free up wider resources to focus on pupils with more complex needs.

3. It helps tutors too

Bribing pupils to become low-paid tutors in exchange for bagels, badges or any other incentive can sound exploitative. Still, the evidence is clear that tutors benefit too – perhaps more than the tutees.

The EEF’s Teaching and Learning Toolkit explains that:

Peer-led tutoring can offer tutors the chance to revisit and revise skills, prior knowledge, and develop metacognitive understanding of topics.

4. Wider benefits

There is a long history of research into peer tutoring; Professor Keith Topping even traces the story of peer tutoring back to the ancient Greeks.

A theme throughout studies of peer tutoring is that it can help achieve a range of wider outcomes that Ofsted would recognise as part of their personal development judgement.

5. Low cost

Peer tutoring can be extremely cheap to run, but it should not be done on the cheap: it needs care and attention to maximise the quality of the interaction between tutor and tutee.

If you want to realise the benefits of peer tutoring, I recommend reading my analysis of the evidence and Louise Quinn’s description of how we have applied the evidence to design our peer tutoring programme.

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