Peer tutoring with built-in feedback

Peer Tutoring

The Task:
A common theme from the majority of my observations over the past year has been that I tend to do too much work. This is an experiment that I wanted to conduct to see if I could limit my input to a lesson, while also attempting to measure the effect peer assessment/feedback would have on a group. I used a year 10 BTEC group for this task. In order to work this exercise, I chose three students who were HA’s in my group, gave each a topic(which had been previously covered), and tasked them with running a revision lesson before their BTEC finance exam. The lesson was run on a carousel basis and the rest of the group were split into three mixed ability groups.
“The paradigm shift away from teaching to an emphasis on learning has encouraged power to be moved from the teacher to the student” (Barr and Tagg 1995)
The Method:
In order to ensure that each pupil had taken something from each element of the carousel, I provided with a simple worksheet (right) which would need to be completed by the end of the lesson. Each ‘tutor’ was expected to be able to answer the questions on the worksheet. This sheet would then form a resource from which the students could revise from.
This gave me some indication of the level of work being carried out during the lesson.
The question this threw up for me was, ‘Are they learning, or are they simply having answers being dictated to them?’, or ‘Is there progress being made?’. This is something which I had considered previous to the lesson, and I wanted to be able to provide some measure of progression.
For me to be able to gather some evidence of progress, I developed a self-assessment sheet, which in theory would allow the students to feed back to me whether or not they considered themselves to have made progress. Below are two examples completed.
     

Before the beginning of the carousel of activity, each pupil marked in red, on a scale of 1-5, how confident they were in answering each question posed. This sheet was revisited at the end of the lesson and a green marker was used to show their level after the tutor carousel. I do not believe this to be a perfect or flawless piece of evidence to show that these students have progressed, but it did encourage me to use this format for lessons again.
The Observation:
What I witnessed during this lesson was for me extraordinary, and something which I was not expecting. I had zero behaviour issues within the lesson. That was not on account of me delivering firm warnings to students or threatening punishment etc.. Each ‘tutor’ on the carousel was treated with respect, had their work carried out without fuss and seemed to make an impact. As I meandered around, trying not to disturb the ‘busy little elves’ type environment, each pupil was able to answer questions I had on the topics they had covered. As I said, I would be reluctant to consider this a foolproof method, but I have taken some big positives from this lesson. I will definitely try this again and again, and I am curious to know if the lack of behaviour issues would transfer to a slightly more raucous group.
With regard to a measure of the impact this has had, it is difficult to be 100% sure or to give a definitive measure, but students feedback was positive and encouraging. I guess the real measure may be when the results come around in January!

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