Copyright 2017 by Dana Monaghan, M.S., CCC-SLP, Teach Tutors™. All rights reserved.
Given all of the duties that educators must fulfill on a daily basis, it can sometimes be daunting to consider developing and implementing a peer or cross-age tutoring program; however, there are many significant and well-documented benefits for tutees, tutors, teachers and schools that show the investment of time and effort to be worth it.
Benefits to Students Receiving Tutoring
Studies have shown that participation in tutoring programs results in both academic and affective improvements for a variety of at-risk students including learning disabled, English language learners, low achieving students, students from underprivileged backgrounds and students with behavioral challenges. Students receiving tutoring improved academic performance, study skills, organization, classroom participation and motivation. Students also benefited from the opportunity to interact with peers and older student role-models in a positive and productive manner demonstrating improved social skills and time-on-task. These benefits have been witnessed among both regular and special education students across a variety of different subject areas and at all grade levels including elementary school, middle school, high school and college.
Benefits to Students Serving as Peer Tutors or Cross-Age Tutors
Students serving as tutors or classroom student aides also benefited greatly from participation in peer tutoring or cross-age tutoring programs. Tutors strengthened and deepened understanding of the content they were tutoring, gained an increased sense of confidence and personal efficacy and developed responsibility and empathy. Research also found that student tutors demonstrated improved attendance and reduced tardiness and truancy. Serving as a peer tutor, cross-age tutor or student classroom aide also provided students with the opportunity to gain insight into the learning process and a better understanding of the field of teaching.
Benefits to Teachers, Schools and Academic Institutions
The availability of peer tutoring or cross-age tutoring was found to be beneficial to schools in that it provided an opportunity for students to receive individualized attention and support in an extremely cost effective manner. Utilizing peer tutors and student aides during class provided teachers with increased opportunities to differentiate instruction, time to more effectively manage behaviors and address individual student issues, the option to provide more guidance during small group work, and an increased ability to accommodate the diverse set of needs demonstrated by their students. It was found to promote a more cooperative classroom environment and led to improved student attitudes toward the subject matter. Peer and cross-age tutoring programs also provided another avenue by which students who may otherwise be hesitant to approach teachers or professors could access help. Many students reported that they felt more comfortable and were less intimidated approaching a peer tutor or cross-age tutor to ask questions, discuss class material, gain clarification and receive extra assistance.
Dana Monaghan, M.S., CCC-SLP is an educator and licensed speech language pathologist with over twenty years of experience serving students in the public schools. To read more about Dana's background or to contact her, please visit teachtutors.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Educator & Speech Language Pathologist
The Benefits of Peer Tutoring &
A Summary of the Research