Making Peer Tutoring Work

Schools do not have enough teachers or aides to work one-on-one with every student needing extra assistance. Also, English and reading peer tutors require extensive training before working with students. How can these challenges be overcome? Let's look at two examples:

• Adapting peer tutoring in The Karate Kid caused the main character to learn karate without being taught. (Video clip.)
• As demonstrated in a national television newscast with Harry Reasoner, instruction adapted for peer tutoring caused a beginner to learn to play tennis without technical instructions. (Video clip.)

In both examples, pairing simple, easy-to-follow directions with personalized feedback replaced complicated explanations and technical instructions to cause these students to learn karate and tennis.

• PEER TUTORING IN ACTION: A local newscast showcased how 40 ASU football players became peer tutors for high school students. (Video clip.)

Peer tutoring provides more opportunities for interaction and personalized feedback, thereby alleviating pressure on individual classroom teachers. Students who receive peer tutoring can quickly learn to tutor others using the same materials. One overlooked benefit is encouraging more students to be teachers.