REVIEW OF LITERATURE (abbreviated)
should be taught. Some researchers and administrators believe that direct instruction or
traditional lecture, learning, and regurgitating information is the only approach that
should be used...
According to Weissglass (2001), there are many differences of opinion about
curriculum which originate from differences about the way students learn, the way
society believes students should learn and the purpose of schools in a democracy…
Traditionalists believe that the core body of knowledge that all students should
learn includes: mathematical and scientific concepts, historical facts and interpretations,
and books that are part of our shared American heritage (Resnick, 2001)…Traditional
teaching has long been the preferred method of teaching and it has become a habit for
some teachers that is hard to break.
Progressive instruction is a concept founded by John Dewey in 1896 in the
traditional to an all inclusive teach every child system…
The battle between the progressives and the traditionalists will continue with
neither side giving in, because progressives are against memorization of facts and
repetitive learning. Progressive methods of teaching include: group activities, hands-on,
cooperative learning, and peer-tutoring…
Peer Tutoring, also referred to as peer learning – students’ working together to
complete academic tasks is - not a new concept… In the 1960s there was a great
resurgence of interest in peer tutoring as
attention in the
problems of underachievement in public schools.
Studies report that peer learning promotes greater conceptual and procedural gains
for students... Peer-tutoring programs have positive social and cognitive effects on many
of the participants (Coenen, 2002)... Powell (1997) summarized a significant national
study and evaluation of peer tutoring in schools. The researcher found that peer tutoring
can positively affect academic achievement.
How does peer tutoring work? Peer tutoring is the process by which a competent
pupil, with minimal training and with a teacher’s guidance, helps one or more students at
the same grade level learn a skill or concept (Thomas, 1993). Peer tutoring can be used
as an effective teaching strategy...
Peer tutoring has repeatedly been found to be an effective method of teaching
students with disabilities (Burnette, 1999)…
Peer tutoring has been found to be effective in helping second language learners
keep pace with peers...
Are there any examples of tutoring success? According to Gaustad (1993), one
successful program was at
successful program was in
school students were recruited to tutor at-risk Hispanic elementary students. Another
study by Fisher (2001) suggests that peer tutoring was beneficial for the students who did
What are the costs involved with peer tutoring? According to Kalkowski (1995),
peer tutoring has been shown to be more cost-effective than reducing class size or
increasing the length of the school day..
Who are the students who will benefit from peer tutoring? Olge (1997) found that
at-risk and divergent learners benefit from peer tutoring in both the academic and
affective realms and at all age/grade levels.
Who are the divergent learners? Divergent learners have different personality
traits that differ from other students and the thinking process is of divergent learners is
different. Divergent learners seek constant reassurance from other people and value close
friendships (Johnson & Lane, 2002).
The one factor that all divergent learners have in common is a strong dislike for a
traditional classroom and traditional teachers. According to Johnson (2000), divergent
learners think, learn, and behave different from other students and therefore have
difficulty keeping up with daily assignments. Unfortunately, students identified as being
divergent learners often receive the traditional teaching approach that emphasizes rote
memorization and basic academic skills.
Different learning styles are also being recognized to empower students to learn
faster and easier. Once teachers understand that different learning styles exist, teachers
can direct students to take responsibility for learning.
According to Guskey (1996), "most teachers use too few instructional strategies
and those that are used conflict with the modality strengths of most youngsters" (p.3). If
anything, peer tutoring raises both teacher and student expectations…Over the past
decade, peer tutoring has emerged as the leading new approach to classroom instruction.
Peer tutoring has also been found to help Learning Disabled students and
according to Braxton (1998), traditionally children diagnosed with ADHD...
Can new technology provide meaningful learning experiences for diverse learners
and students at risk of educational failure? Cohen (2001) did a study that found that the
use of technology affected all aspects of the teaching and learning continuum and
demanded new approaches to the curriculum. Jones (1996), in a study for the
Department of Education, found that students using computers to learn need instruction
that recognizes students’ unique learning styles. The study also concluded that students
learn with and from each other…
Are there any problems with students helping other students as an approach to
teaching diverse learners? According to Kerka (1998), one of the problems with tutors is
that tutors sometimes tend to be insensitive to different cultural perspectives. In addition
to these problems, Ogle (1997) found that teachers still maintain traditional ways of
teaching because at-risk students often challenge teachers in classroom order and
Should teachers concentrate more on males than females when researching
at-risk learners in a technology curriculum? Bae, Choy, Sable, and Synder
(2000) found that females are just as likely as males to use computers at home and at
school, although some of the activities for which computers are used differ.
In summary, research indicates that traditional lecture classes are not addressing
the problem. Therefore, educators must assess teaching methods and the manner in which
students learn, in order to insure learning experiences that will prepare all students for the
varied demands within and outside the educational environment.
Peer tutoring has not been researched as much as extended time and cooperative
learning and the benefits, although promising, are not conclusive. Peer tutoring generally
works well as a teaching strategy because it provides a progressive approach to learning
that emphasizes learning together as a social activity. The old adage, "those who teach
learn twice," holds true for peer tutoring and when it is used, learning becomes much
more effective because learners are teaching themselves (Whitman, 1988). This approach
warrants study across the curriculum, particularly in technology, which is being used in
most classrooms today.