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A closer examination of peer helping

1 June 1997


The purpose of this was to answer three research questions: 1) What is the role of the when work together in a peer helping situation?; 2) How do on assignments after peer helping?; and 3) How helping pairs respond to each other through dialogue? The rationale, origins, and practice of peer helping, a way for students to and put their helping into practice, are into account that children have been virtually ignored as a source of positive help to other children. In fact, peer culture itself is often seen as a powerful negative force in need of adult control and management. However, without the active help of students in resolving their own problems, it is unlikely that other more traditional approaches will effective. Instead, teachers must recognize the skills, behaviors which already are part of a students these. Teachers, then, cannot continue to mold, to fit a model of direct instruction which is alien to the attempting to serve. Instead, the teacher must use aC810elTlIC Sm3IealE~S based on a thorough understanding of the factors influencing development (Myrick, & Erney, 1978). This study took place at a rural K-6 elementary school located in the Pacific Northwest. The participants' were fourth Information was gathered in the classroom through a variety of methodological approaches including observations, student work, an experiment in spelling, and informal interviews. In order to protect the participants' rights to privacy and anonymity I have provided pseudonyms for all participants' in this study. After collecting and organizing extensive field work, the experiment in spelling, and informal interviews, patterns emerged in the way these children conceived the peer helping relationship. My research revealed that the peer helping relationship is not only beneficial to the tutee, but maybe even more so to the tutor. Where the tutee was able to grasp major concepts and understand how they worked, the tutor solidified those major concepts within his/her own learning making retention far greater then before a peer helping situation. Moreover, peer helping situations which demand students active participation should be initiated. The changes in classroom activities that occurred when active participation was used appeared to result in greater academic gains.


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