“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
Peer education is a process when students get together and study. The group dynamics in such cases create a magic which enhances the learning curve of all the children.
Peer collaboration has been found to be a super effective technique by the teachers in class to handle children who need special attention and guidance. It is truly said, ”Two heads are better than one”. Today’s classrooms are way more diverse than what they used to be some 12-15 years ago. The inclusive education system has given ample opportunity to learners with varied backgrounds and needs. And collaborative tutoring or peer collaboration is a boon for the teacher. This form of learning is seen to accelerate high level thinking skills in children and boost their self-confidence and self-esteem. Children many a times face the problem of not asking questions from the teacher as they have their own inhibitions. Or many a times a teacher is, due to scarcity of time unable to provide individual attention. Here the role of peer collaboration plays an integral part as the learner gets to clarify concepts in a more comfortable and better way. The result, improved social and inter-personal skills that becomes the cherry on the cake.
Keeping in mind the current trend of nuclear families with single child, teaching the young learners to move from the “me” to the “we” mode is crucial for their overall growth. Students need to find a reason for collaboration as simple and easy to-do tasks are normally done by them individually. Hence they should be provided with complex challenging tasks that call for teamwork. This would make find the task at hand invigorating and motivate them to put their heads, heart and mind together to fit the missing pieces. This would result in an enriching outcome where the youngsters learn the art of:
Creating a team with diverse interests, conducting research, bringing their own uniqueness to the table, as they plan out with more precision and take up different roles of coordinator, executors, spokesperson, designer etc. and delegate duties. In addition, it is important to teach them to follow up on the work delegated and take necessary steps to motivate team members towards completing their work within the stipulated time. Encouraging active listening skills and motivate them to ensure that no group member is free riding by delegating work to each member.
Establishing the expectations from each member of the team would help provide clear guidelines on conflict resolution resulting in students seeing the larger goal of peer collaboration and desired outcomes.
This would help peers to work together on a shared intellectual space where they learn together and experience more powerful experiences on the go.
By Mansi Thukral, Director, Evergreen Public School