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Peer Teaching

For: Teachers

Tags

Mathematics Social-Emotional Learning/Growth Mindset All Ages Strategy

Skills

Flexible Thinking Expressive Language Verbal Reasoning Abstract Reasoning

Peer Teaching

Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach.
— Aristotle

Teaching peers or siblings can be one of the most effective ways to solidify one's own learning--if you can explain it to others and comfortably answer their questions you can be more certain that you fully understand it.

How To Apply It!

  1. Peer teaching can happen in pairs or triplets in the classroom, at the front of the room, with siblings or during study groups.
  2. Teachers can group students in twos or threes and have them take turns explaining a concept. Stronger students can deepen their learning as they think through explanations, answer questions, and perhaps see the information from a different angle. Other students might recognize gaps in knowledge they missed in a larger group setting. While all students can benefit, sensitivity to student knowledge in pairings is key.
  3. At home, parents can ask an older sibling to explain homework to a younger sibling. This can be a good review for an older sibling who has not thought about the material in a while. Sometimes, the younger sibling might be more comfortable asking a sibling questions than an adult.
  4. Find opportunities for younger siblings to be an expert and explain to older siblings. Older siblings can definitely benefit from actively listening and responding to their younger siblings.
  5. Use study groups to peer teach. Take turns explaining difficult concepts to each other. This can be great preparation for essay questions. It also can help you catch potential misunderstandings.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

Studies show that students benefit greatly from peer teaching, particularly when they are at different levels (Tsuei, 2012). Teaching others enhances our own understanding because it requires us to think through the details and offer explanations to questions we might not have asked ourselves. In addition, since peers are not yet experts and may more easily relate to misunderstandings and confusion. Finally, students listen differently to their peers from how they listen to adults, and, in some cases, learn more.