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Review no.2: Peer Tutoring: A training and facilitation guide by Jesse Pirini

Year published: 

Review of Peer Tutoring: A training and facilitation guide
by Sandy Wild

As someone who has been in teaching a long time, since 1985, and been responsible for training tutors as well as teachers I wondered what this guide had to offer me that was new. It turned out quite a lot. Some of the tools and techniques were well established and proven ones that were put into a fresher context of the relationship between the tutor and their student.

The strong emphasis on the tutoring relationship, with an emphasis that this was the responsibility of the tutor, was refreshing and important. There were very useful hints and tips as to ‘how’ to create this safe learning environment with a strong focus on development of a growth mind-set.

To deviate onto a small tangent, I initially thought that this slim volume would be a very quick read but it turned out to be far from that. Throughout the sections the text referenced work by other studies and credible respected researchers and educators. Every time I came across these references, I skipped to the reference list at the back and read up on the original work. This might have been a detour from the original text but it was an extremely worthwhile one.

One section that I found particularly useful, not just for tutors but also for classroom teachers, was the part in section 2 that focused on developing students into a growth mindset. I found that this caused me a large detour into the work of Carol Dweck. My sole criticism of the book was the difficulty in reading the incredibly small font size used in Figure one, page 24, which is a comparison between Fixed and Growth Mind-sets. A trip to the photocopier and enlarging the figure solved this minor frustration.

A second part that I saw as immediately useful in a classroom context, as well as in tutoring, was early in section 3 ‘Tutoring tools and Techniques’. The three questions developed by Richart et al., 2011 called ‘Think, Puzzle, Explore’ were put to immediate use in my classroom with surprisingly instant beneficial results.

  • What do you think you know about this topic?
  • What questions do you have?
  • How can you explore this topic

It also encouraged students into the growth mind-set.

In conclusion, I would recommend this book for those seeking to set up peer tutoring programmes but it also has much to offer teachers, such as myself, taking on new roles within a Community of Learning framework.