Peer tutoring is a common academic assistance program used in schools for students as young as primary school age. Students get to teach or tutor their co-students under this. However, it is more common in higher education as it is more formally recognized as one merit in a student’s portfolio, especially if they are aspiring tutors.
As the class sizes in Singapore are on the larger side, it’s nearly impossible for teachers to be able to give their full attention to each and every student. There are also cases of introverted and shy students who prefer their own company and usually, struggle to raise their questions in a classroom setting. Additionally, not all students also learn best using one teaching method so there could be instances they may better understand the lesson when it is taught differently. This is why peer tutoring in school exists as it gives students the chance to go over their lessons while also working with their friends and classmates.
There are different types of peer tutoring that students can use depending on which one suits them best.
This type of peer tutoring involves a more academically advanced student who is the one to help other students or those that are struggling on the topic. In a sense, they become the mini-teacher for their peers. In a group setting, they are the ones in charge of teaching their friends on a subject or topic they have already mastered.
Contrary to uni-directional tutoring wherein students rely on the knowledge and expertise of one student, bi-directional is a buddy system wherein both students can help each other out in different areas. for example, one student is struggling with understanding subject-verb agreement but is proficient in answering algebraic expressions. They are then paired with a student who is having difficulty in Math and is good in English. In this type of tutoring, the students have an exchange of their knowledge and skills.
Group tuition is a style of instruction in which a few students gather together and work with a tutor to learn a single subject in a small group. Nearly any location that the students can agree upon can be used for group tuition classes: one student’s home, a café, a community center, a mall, or a roof deck. It’s also offered in tuition centers and may have schedules when a certain subject can be taught by tutors. It reduces tuition rates because the group can share the costs of the fee and it’s also more interactive than just the tutor and a student since they have other students in the group as well.
Aside from the tutee benefitting from the tuition sessions and academic coaching, the tutor also gets their benefit. Though they are usually already proficient in the topic already, there are some things they can still improve.
It is a well-known fact that when you teach someone, you are simultaneously reinforcing your concepts and confirming your comprehension. With all the previous learning you have, you will also get a refresher when you are teaching those to someone else. Additionally, you can also learn new things about the topic or update previous learning with new knowledge. If your tutee asks a question that you can’t answer, it will highlight the gaps that you may have in the topic and that you can also fill yourself together with your tutee.
One thing that always doesn’t hurt a student, especially if they are thinking of pursuing being a tutor in the future, is to widen their network. With peer tutoring, whether you have a fixed group of tutees or just one, it’s always beneficial to expand your connections. And the level or stage of education shouldn’t matter either. You can learn just as much from other students as they can from you.
Who knows? A student that you have tutored may be able to help you with their own contacts as well. They can refer you to their friends or other classmates who are also looking to engage in a dependable tutor. Having a tutee refer you to others is a great way to expand your network and also does good for your credibility as a tutor. Additionally, if you are looking or planning to be a home tutor in the future, your tutee can also refer students to you as they already have a sense of how you will be as a tutor.
It’s crucial to network because it can open doors for you that you might not have even thought of. Sometimes, you may think that you are just spending time with a fellow student to help and also enrich your own understanding, but that can also impact your opportunities and serve as a way for you to gain more tutees. Of course, credentials and expertise also come into the picture but without having to rely solely on your credentials, connecting with the appropriate people can help you realize your dreams.
Being a home tutor or a teacher has become very popular as of recently. This is mainly because it serves a deeper purpose to educate the citizens of tomorrow but also because of how fulfilling it is. If you are one of those aspirants to becoming a teacher or a tutor, starting small helps in paving the way for you to pursue your dream.
Starting small like helping your fellow students in classrooms without charging a fee can help you gain the experience of teaching another person. It also helps you as you can try different teaching methods and see how well each works for you and how you can incorporate it without also making the entire lesson teacher-centered. It helps you set the tone for what may work for you and what you may need to work on in your future career. This will make you more prepared, competent, and experienced when you do have your first formal student.
Everyone who participates in the peer tutoring program benefits from it, so you should definitely take advantage of the opportunity if you can. Not only will you be able to try your hand at teaching another student but you will also be able to enrich your knowledge as well as revise if there are some things you have missed. If you are a student who needs help and requires tutoring, this is also an opportunity for you to ask more questions and clear doubts as you would be more comfortable in speaking with a peer.
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