You may never realise that going to the neighbourhood ‘Didi’ for help with Differentiation might be a better idea than struggling with cos and tans on your own. Here is where peer learning comes in. In easy words, it is when that senior clears your doubts and advises on tackling a particularly difficult topic. It is also when your friend explains a topic to you which you have been finding heavy no matter how many times the teacher explained it. As it can be seen, peer learning happens all the time and it’s really no big deal. When the peer learning becomes organised and goal-oriented in a school environment, it becomes purposeful. The aim is promoting value-based learning for the students which would develop a tendency of self-education in them.
There are mainly two types of peer learning- tutoring and collaborative learning. Tutoring is as simple as that sounds with the educationally advanced student teaching the ones who might need help. The tutor can be a senior or may belong to the same class. In the latter, there is no such thing as a tutor or a tutee but a group of children learning from each other. And here comes the need to explain that this process of peer learning is an effective to enhance the existing classroom teaching and not a substitute for that. First, the teacher explains a particular topic through a lecture, some relevant reading material or maybe educational videos and so on. Then, the students proceed with the tutoring or collaborative learning. The activities need to be supervised by the teacher for efficiency and discipline.
If worked out properly, the process would develop skills that would help children throughout their lifetime:
- Self-directed learning skill would help the child in developing a thought process.
- It develops critical thinking and problem-solving skills creating a better understanding in the child.
- There is enhanced learning outcomes understanding a particular subject and why it is relevant for him.
- Better communication is facilitated developing a tendency for team-work.
As a whole there is less to lose and more to gain through peer learning. A very important fact remains that it cannot work on its own without a proper teaching module. There is a need of a teacher to properly execute the activities and help with the preliminaries. But in the long run, learning with fun and joy instead of the monotonous classroom teaching, this leaves an impact. As such, this can be considered a much better substitute for tuitions and coaching institutes which are uneconomical and unreliable at an individual level. Coachings and tuitions have just become financial institutes run in the name of education. There is no guarantee for every child that goes there. Comparatively, if someone of the same age group can explain better with devotion and the required attention, this might just be a better option. Some people might be doubtful of these unprofessional ‘teachers’ but it shouldn’t be forgotten that it’s easier to relate to the thought process of someone closer to our age. We can hope that in one of these days, more people can see eye to eye with us on this belief.