High school peer tutoring: an in-depth look at what constitutes an ideal peer tutor and an ideal peer tutoring session

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Peer learning is one of the longest established and most intensively researched forms of learning. As a form of peer learning, peer tutoring is characterized by specific role-taking as tutor

Peer learning is one of the longest established and most intensively researched forms of learning. As a form of peer learning, peer tutoring is characterized by specific role-taking as tutor or tutee with high focus on curriculum content. In the late 18th century, Andrew Bell undoubtedly became the first person in the world to use peer tutoring in a systematic fashion within a school setting. Due to its miraculous success, Bell affirmed that peer tutoring was the new method of practical education and was essential to every academic institution. Early in American education, teachers relied on certain students to teach others (i.e., peer tutoring) but this occurred on an informal, impromptu, as needed basis. This type of peer tutoring lasted well into the 20th century. A recent change in the traditional face of peer tutoring arrangements for U.S. schools has occurred due to more than 30 years of research at four major tutoring centers. Peer tutoring has moved away from an informal and casual approach to a more formal and robust method of teaching and learning. However, at the researcher's high school, peer tutoring was still very casual, informal, and practically non-existent. Consequently, the researcher created a peer tutoring club, and developed, and implemented a peer tutoring program. The researcher conducted a mixed-methods study with design-based research (DBR) as the preferred research design in order to discover what constitutes an ideal peer tutor and an ideal peer tutoring session. The researcher utilized qualitative means to analyze the following data: 1) field notes, 2) impromptu interviews, 3) questionnaires, 4) focus group interviews, and 5) a semi-structured interview. The researcher utilized quantitative means to analyze the following data: 1) sessions tutored survey and 2) archival data (e.g., daily attendance, school records). Analysis of qualitative and quantitative data suggested that the ideal peer tutor was qualified (e.g., desire, character traits, content mastery), trained (e.g., responsibilities, methodologies, procedures), and experienced. Likewise, in addition to having an ideal peer tutor, an ideal peer tutoring session took place in an environment conducive to learning and tutees were prepared and actively participated.