At UFA we believe in peer tutoring, in the benefits to the school, the community, the teachers and of course to the young people involved. A great deal of research and evaluation has been carried out across the globe to measure the impact on learning, performance and on the confidence and wellbeing of all the young people involved in peer tutoring.
For us at UFA the heart of the whole programme is that partnership between the tutor and tutee and the experiences, trust and learning which is shared.
Summarising that in a research paper or evaluation report can be hard, which is why this first-hand account of being a peer tutor has such an impact.
Written by a Year Ten student at St Philip Howard School in Glossop, for us it sums up the whole person learning that peer tutoring brings to the entire school.
St Philip Howard will have more than 120 peer tutors and tutees in the new school year and in a secondary school of just 500 students, that’s a significant number.
The school has also taken the next step and invested in peer training, training existing peer tutors to train their classmates to be peer tutors and they already have eight pupils in place delivering the programme.
The UFA team will be working with the staff to evaluate the impact in the coming year, but after reading this account, it’s clear why they are so committed.
“Because of peer tutoring we’re able to learn entirely new things about ourselves and about others. Peer tutoring has been able to show many different attributes that I have that I didn’t know I had before. For example I can be a very quiet and introverted person, but because of peer tutoring I’ve been able to see the confident side of myself. New skills have been learnt and old skills have been developed; we work a lot more in a team and work with a much younger age group, therefore causing us to become far more patient and persistent, as well as supportive. Many of my own thoughts and feelings about tutoring are shared by other tutors as well. I’ve realised that people want to develop particular skills that I want to develop and that we have similar queries and questions about what peer tutoring brings to our lives.
Peer tutoring has been very enjoyable for me; I’ve met many new people and have made a new friend (my tutee). It’s also been a very good thing to do whilst at school; school isn’t just about doing the normal, repetitive routine anymore, instead we can focus on different things that bring different experiences, because of peer tutoring. Being a peer tutor has given me many new skills and because of this I’ll be able to use in the future; peer tutoring and the skills I’ve learnt have made me want to take part in peer training and train other to become peer tutors and learn the same skills. I would like to thank Lula and the many teachers involved in peer tutoring in introducing tutoring to my school life.”
We need to be building a solid evidence base and that should include randomized control trials, but we must not be so focused on these that we stop looking at individual case study evidence.