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Children being 'teacher'

(19 Posts)
Thumbcat Sat 21-May-16 16:07:29

In DS's year 3 class children who have grasped something, particularly in maths, are then paired with a child who hasn't grasped it to be a 'teacher'. What do others think about this? I think it could get demoralising for those children who are never a teacher and I think the children who have grasped it should be allowed to move on to new things. It seems like lazy teaching to me but I'd welcome other's views.

Lonecatwithkitten Sat 21-May-16 16:12:07

Peer -to - Peer learning is a very established technique at all levels of teaching.

OurBlanche Sat 21-May-16 16:12:14

Ye gods! 45 years ago we did this. I was teacher in English and another girl, who could barely spell her name, taught me maths. We both gained.

20 years ago I was the teacher and found that for many kids it is reassuring when a friend teaches them... they rarely notice if they n/ever get to be the teacher, they are usually well aware of what they are/are not good at.

Peer teaching is a recognised and often very useful strategy. You ABU to have blanket doubts. However, if it is used as a blunt instrument, then you would be right to be concerned... it should be closely monitored, to make sure both sides gain from the experience. It is not instead of a teacher's input.

Workingmum34 Sat 21-May-16 16:13:10

It works really well - if students have understood a concept then getting them to teach someone else really embeds their knowledge and helps them remember it. Plus students learn really well off each other and like it.

OurBlanche Sat 21-May-16 16:14:11

Should have addressed your point about the 'teacher' - they get to strengthen and develop their understanding of an issue. They get to be more certain, confident and often can then make better links between topics. It has measurable benefits for them too.

That1950sMum Sat 21-May-16 16:20:00

Being able to explain what you have learnt deepens your own understanding. This is a well known strategy and usually benefits both children. It is good teaching to make sure children have mastered a subject before being moved on to new things.

Thumbcat Sat 21-May-16 16:31:21

Thanks for the replies. I can see that consolidating their knowledge is helpful.

I was asking in the context of a year where DS seems not to have made the great progress he always has before and has lost his enthusiasm for learning. He grasps mathematical things very quickly and gets bored having to do the same thing over and over.

SpoonintheBin Sat 21-May-16 16:36:31

Isn't it an accepted part of the curriculum now, with this mastery stuff?

Progress in learning, especially in maths, is sometimes seen as a race, if a child understands one thing they should race ahead and learn the next thing, with more able pupils racing ahead and pupils who struggle staying on the same concept for ages. This is not very good in my mind. Supporting pupils to have a deeper understanding of a topic is much better, and being able to explain something deepens the understanding. I don't have a problem at all with this approach and think it's better than more able children just racing ahead. And I am saying that as parent of a child gifted and talented in maths.

SpoonintheBin Sat 21-May-16 16:38:17

Thumbcat, you need to help him understand that all children get bored at one point or another at school even the a more average kids!

OurBlanche Sat 21-May-16 16:41:30

Have you had a chat with the teacher? You need to know if he grasps things quickly and consolidates that knowledge, can apply it to other tasks. If he can/does then the teacher should be ready with extension tasks for him... different ones!

If he 'surface learns' and can only apply that knowledge in a simplistic manner then, again, the teacher needs to vary their strategy to keep him occupied.

But you might find out that whist he grasps ideas he doesn't really understand them properly and the teacher is hoping that by making him 'teacher' he will come to realise this for himself, without having his confidence knocked by being categorically told he hasn't understood something fully.

Whichever is the case, a quick chat with his teacher will be a help.

But bear in mind that sometimes, having to work at a group pace is also a valuable learning experience.

MrsKCastle Sat 21-May-16 21:00:13

As others say, this can be really beneficial if done well. Both children can benefit and in an ideal world, nearly all children will get to be the 'teacher' sometimes. The children that find literacy hard might be great at ICT, and so on.

However, if your DS is not being engaged and motivated with his learning, then that is something that needs addressing. Is he spending a lot of time being the 'teacher'? Definitely worth having a word with the teacher about how he is feeling.

Mandzi34 Sat 21-May-16 21:29:11

I don't mind it at all. My DD was 'teacher' on Friday and I'm happy she can help someone else, just as I would be happy if she was helped by another.

nicp123 Sun 22-May-16 15:14:41

Children being 'Teacher'... or Children "scaffolding" learning?... A technique used for hundreds of years in some schools, nothing new I think. Research has been done and the results have shown that some children are more likely to learn quicker from their friends and peers rather than adults.
I know that in some Grammar Schools in my area 'Peer assessment' is also frequently used in English writing tasks and the children I know are OK with it.

corythatwas Mon 23-May-16 08:40:35

If done to excess, or to the exclusion of other learning, I can see that it might be harmful.

Personally, though, I have found that early experience massively helpful in my later career; very developing in all sorts of ways to have to explain something to somebody who is at a different level from yourself. You not only understand more about the subject itself, but you learn to put yourself into somebody else's shoes. The kind of skills that are required by so many modern jobs. Very few jobs come with a guarantee that you will never be required to work with somebody who understands less than you do: if you can't handle the situation it is likely to play havoc with your career prospects.

Having said, there needs to be a reasonable balance, of course, and
if he is struggling with motivation you need to discuss that with the teacher as a separate issue. He needs to understand that everybody has to put up with being bored sometimes; she (if a she) will hopefully find ways of ensuring that he is not bored all the time.

(thinking about it, I suppose I was very driven by my desire to learn more, almost like fulfilling a physical need, so it never occurred to me that school or anyone else could put me off that; not everybody is going to feel like that.)

clam Mon 23-May-16 14:44:59

It seems like lazy teaching to me

hmm Yeah, right. She probably nipped out to get her nails done whilst it was going on. Bloody lazy teachers! Commanding massive salaries with long holidays just to sit around skiving whilst the kids learn nothing.

irvineoneohone Mon 23-May-16 16:39:40

It can be "lazy teaching" though.
My ds was given a task to help group of children, or work on computer on his own doing multiplication tables(which he was already secure) everyday for while in YR1. It was definitely lazy teaching, the teacher didn't/ couldn't differentiate.

This year, he occasionally help others, but he enjoys it, and it's more to do with change of curriculum to master/master with greater depth, which seems fine, and benefit both my ds and other dc.

OurBlanche Mon 23-May-16 17:30:23

Yes, can be rather than is

irvineoneohone Mon 23-May-16 18:28:13

Yes, OurBlanche. I think explaining something to others can be a good way to help yourself understand even deeper. It can be very beneficial if used correctly.

mmgirish Wed 25-May-16 13:14:50

Research has shown that when students engage in peer learning like that, the student who benefits the most is the one who is sharing their learning.

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