Friends that study together, learn better

Published: 04th July 2013 12:07 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th July 2013 12:09 PM   |  A+A-


As we reach higher classes, studies become increasingly challenging and stressful. Very often, we find it hard to understand all the concepts being taught in class and do not know whom to turn to for help.

Have you ever considered seeking help with your studies from your peers? You may wonder how someone who is at the same level of learning as you could possibly help you! A method referred to as peer-to-peer tutoring, which involves students teaching other students, has been found to be a very useful technique that enables school and college students to learn from one another. This benefits both the learner and the tutor.

The tutor gains mastery over a concept when she can clearly articulate the main ideas of the topic and explain it to others. The student learns due to the reduced age gap and the ability of the tutor to relate with the student, using relevant examples to illustrate the important points. Besides, when there are no clear hierarchies between the teacher and the learner, there is no fear. You can ask as many questions as you want, no matter how silly they may sound. It is believed that when children work on problems together, their ability to solve them is enhanced as opposed to when they are working alone.  

Adapted from the concept of cooperative learning proposed by psychologist Lev Vygotsky, peer-to-peer tutoring is considered an effective learning technique across the world. Formally, it has been used in classroom situations. At an informal level, students can form their own study groups. You could begin by approaching some of your classmates whom you feel comfortable with. Consider meeting on a regular basis at someone’s house; choose a specific subject and topic to study and let everyone come prepared based on their comfort level, understanding of the topic and ability to learn. The role of tutor and student can be taken by anyone, alternated among the group members. Let everyone contribute, explain, prompt, clarify, ask questions, answer questions, and suggest improved ways to grasp the topic. Remember, learning will be most effective when the group participates and allows everyone to contribute in a constructive manner as the idea is to support each other’s learning.  

I know that the idea sounds fascinating and some of you might be encouraged to try it. What could be better than getting more time to spend with friends? However, here is something that you should keep in mind before you form your study group.

It is important that all the group members agree on the purpose and seriousness of the initiative. The meeting should not be an excuse to meet up with friends, where precious study time is wasted.

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