Peer Tutoring and Communication Practice
Foreword: Communication and Peer Tutoring Christopher Bell and Sherwyn Morreale
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Communication and Peer Tutoring
Christopher Bell and Sherwyn Morreale
At the collegiate level, the value of peer tutoring, both for the tutor and the tutee, cannot be overstated. Colvin (2007) broadly states that “peers are often considered the most powerful influence in undergraduate education, even more so than advisors and instructors” (p. 166). It takes time to enact real learning; critical foundational matter must be understood in order to build more advanced concepts. Tutoring, particularly peer tutoring, can supplement an instructor’s capacity to assist student learning at various stages along the way. Peer tutoring provides an opportunity for students of different skill levels to come together to learn course material—a valuable enterprise for both sides of the tutoring equation. The student being tutored is given a chance to learn from someone who may use different language, examples, or instructional methods than the professor. As a result, the material may “click” for the tutee in a new way. The student doing the tutoring strengthens his/her own grasp of the concepts and reinforces her/his knowledge of key principles by explaining them to someone else. Far beyond the amorphous “learning leadership skills,” this exchange may not only help the tutor retain important information, it also can reveal gaps in the tutor’s knowledge that need to be shored up. Topping (1996) reminds us that “Just preparing to be a peer tutor has been proposed to enhance cognitive processing in the tutor—by increasing...
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