Using peer teaching techniques helps utilize all the resources available to a teacher. Students understand how other students communicate. Additionally, how one student internally assimilates information can be expressed to help other students understand it better. Effective peer teaching techniques improve the overall learning environment and success of all students when implemented properly.
When students have a written assignment due, have them exchange papers in the class prior to you reviewing their work. Allow each student time within the class to read and edit another student’s work. Of course, this student is not grading the paper, but she is being forced to find the things done well and the areas of improvement. Give students very strict guidelines of how they are allowed to critique to make sure that feedback doesn’t become hurtful or malicious. Another great benefit to this is the pressure each student has knowing someone in the class will read their work. Students will work harder if even to preserve their own ego.
Giving students a topic to research and present to the class is a great peer teaching method. You as the teacher are able to provide the basic background for each lesson to the students. They must then find pertinent information and look for a way to explain it to other students and friends. Encourage the use of visual aids. Not only does this remove some of the anxiety of public-speaking, but it helps students think about how to lay the information out so it makes sense to themselves and to the other students.
Breaking Into Smaller Groups
One great peer teaching technique is to break the class into smaller groups. Before the groups move off to discuss the topic, give them an overview of the topic and provide each group with specific tasks they must meet within a given time frame. When time is done, explain that the group should have a presenter that shares the group results with the rest of the class.
This is a great technique to force students to brainstorm and think. Give them a science topic, such as electricity, and ask them to come up with 10 questions or hypotheses about it. Not only does this technique keep students engaged in the class, but it provides constant energy renewal for a teacher who sees topics through fresh, new ideas with each new class.
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