Implications for Leadership

W dokumencie European educational leadership : contemporary issues (Stron 106-124)

Anna Afolayan Cambridge University (United Kingdom)


In 2013 Michael Gove, the then Secretary of State for Education, announced that Gen-eral Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) exams will become linear as opposed to modular. These are the public examinations in subjects taken by most 16 year olds in England. Consequently, students will be sitting final exams at the end of Year 11 (pupils aged 15–16), not sizeable chunks across Year 10 (ages 14–15) and Year 11 as before when doing modular exams. In response different interventions have been put in place to support the students. in schools This, however, seems to result in a heavy workload being placed on the teacher as opposed to the students.

It is inevitable teachers will become challenged by the academic and behavioural diversity of a class (Hughes & Fredrick, 2006; Vaughn, Klingner, & Bryant, 2001). So a teacher’s time is of value, and they may feel conflicted in relation to the amount of time to spend with each student. Hence, having a peer tutor potentially allows the teachers to share the responsibility for the students’ learning, so that the teacher’s role changes from the primary deliverer of the intervention to the facilitator (Ma-heady, Harper, & Mallette, 2001). Some research says that teachers are in favour of peer-tutoring; as they recognize that students need more time than is offered in class to consolidate the material taught (Mastropieri, Scruggs, Norland, Berkeley, McDuffie, Tornquist, & Connors, 2006). This study examines how peer-tutoring can support the learning and motivation of Year 10 students in the school in England.

Critical Literature Review

Factors that affect motivation

Motivation helps one to comprehend why people make certain choices, and perse-vere in those activities and not others, leading to adopting/ preferring a particular behavior (Wlodkowski, 1984). Thus, motivation can exist in two possible forms: in-trinsic and exin-trinsic. Inin-trinsic motivation derives from character and is described as the inherent tendency to explore learning, improve one’s ability, and to seek novel situations (Ryan & Deci, 2000). Antithetical to this is extrinsic motivation, which

refers to the tendency to do something because it leads to a desired outcome (Ryan

& Deci, 2000).

What is Peer-tutoring?

The term ‘peer’ can be defined as one who is of a similar social standing as another, for example through age or educational level. A definition of peer-tutoring would be peers working together to teach and learn. This description encompasses the idea that both the tutor and tutee benefit from peer-tutoring.

The effect of peer-tutoring on the tutee The benefits

The effect of peer-tutoring can be at least threefold. First, successful peer-tutoring may help bridge the gap between the higher-attaining students and the lower attainers, as it can contribute to the academic growth of the tutee (Cohen, Kulik & Kulik, 1982).

Second, peer-tutoring can aid learning. For example, Yiu (1996: 78 as cited in Bray 2000) reveals the positive impact teachers reported: tutors help the tutees to consolidate what was learnt in class, and tutors also help by answering any questions that may have been overlooked in the classroom when the teacher was too busy. Additionally, a study done in the United Kingdom and the United States also found that peer-tutoring promotes ‘ac-tive enquiry’, where tutors’ questions promote higher-order thinking in tutees (Galbraith &

Winterbottom, 2011; Grubbs & Boes, 2009)). Peer-tutoring may also help the tutees feel more at ease and concentrate better; as they receive more teaching through individualized instruction, they may respond better to their peers through working in smaller groups (An-nis, 1983). Third, there may be social benefits of peer-tutoring It is claimed that it increases the motivation of the tutees, as it may build the confidence of those being tutored (Bray, 2000), particularly if the cognitive level, socioeconomic status and gender of the tutor and tutee are matched (Galbraith & Winterbottom, 2011, Grubbs & Boes, 2009; Leung, 2014).

Peer-tutoring encourages independent learning, and motivates the students to learn (Ch-ing & Chang-Chen, 2011). In studies look(Ch-ing at the students’ attitude, they were found to be more positive in the classrooms with tutoring sessions (Cohen et al, 1982).

The effects of peer-tutoring for the tutor

As outlined above, peer-tutoring is not just a linear transmission of knowledge from the tutor to the tutee (Topping, 1996), but rather a dyadic interaction from which both the tutee and the tutor benefit (Slavin, 1995).

The benefits

The benefits to tutors are similar to those listed above for tutees: namely, the aca-demic outcomes and study skills acquired, and the social benefits. First tutors tend to perform better in their own examinations than those who do not act as tutors (Cohen et al., 1982). Tutors also commonly have a positive attitude to tutoring (Cohen et al., 1982).

A study done by Ching & Chang-Chen (2011) found that those who prepared and deliv-ered lessons to teach others did better in their tests than those who only prepared the lessons but never taught, thus demonstrating the significance of the teaching process on learning. Indeed, this study was supported by Galbraith & Winterbottom (2011), who European Educational Leadership: Contemporary Issues

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also found that tutors benefited from tutoring, as when they help scaffold the learning of their tutees, they indirectly re-organize and clarify concepts in their own minds. Ad-ditionally, the discourse between the tutor and the tutee helps the tutor to reflect on the content, and ‘work through’ and rehearse ideas.

Second, the tutors greatly benefited socially from the learning process. They developed their communication skills, and built friendships with their tutees (Falchikov, 2001).As well as the teaching experience gained, tutors also had the opportunity to gain increased responsibility within the school (Falchikov, 2001),and felt their contribution to their com-munity led to a sense of self-worth (Beasley, 1997). Furthermore, the benefits of peer-tutoring are still evident as Annis (1983) reports: peer-peer-tutoring provides the tutors with the opportunity to build upon their own leadership skills, and it may well be a tool to help develop the tutors’ confidence as they take on the responsibility of their tutee’s learning.

Conclusions and Research questions

The majority of research suggests that peer-tutoring does have a positive impact upon both the tutee and the tutor (Kalkowski, 1995; Tymms, Merrell, Thurston, Andor, Top-ping, & Miller, 2011; Mastropieri et al., 2006). This study will examine how an inter-vention with Year 11 students as tutors benefits the learning and motivation of under-achieving Year 10 students in Sociology. This study examines two questions:

(1) Do learning and motivation of tutees change over the course of the intervention?

(2) How does the intervention affect the learning and motivation of tutees? Research Design The was a study of two classes with a total of fourteen participants.

These consisted of seven students (six girls and one boy) from a Year 11 class (15–16-year-olds) studying Sociology GCSE (national public examination for 16 year olds). The students’ target grades (those they hoped to achieve based on their abilities and attitudes) ranged from B-A*, they were all chosen as they are students that are hard-working. These were the tutors.

The other seven were tutees (two boys and five girls) chosen from a sociology class of 14–15-year-old Year 10 GCSE students. All the tutees were chosen as they had underachieved in two or more class assessments. The method used was semi-structured interviews.

Details of the Interventions

Cross-level tutoring was undertaken, as the tutor and the tutee were from the same insti-tution, but were from different year groups (Falchikov, 2001). There were certain stan-dardised instructions that the tutors had to adhere to, which were as follows:

1. Go over the previous lesson of their tutee

2. Using the textbook, do a test on the keywords at the bottom of the relevant pages 3. Do an exam question, recapping knowledge needed to answer the exam question

and exam technique.

4. Always set and review previous targets at the end, which the tutee must record, in their booklet.

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Recap tutees’ previous lesson Keyword test Exam questions Review and make new targets

Figure 1. below illustrates what happens in a typical peer-tutoring session

Figure 1. (a): A key showing the various activities in sequential order of what happened in the peer-tutoring sessions.

Source: own work

0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45

Time in minutes

Figure 1. (b): A generic indicator of the peer-tutoring sessions in intervals of five minutes Source: own work

Alias names were given to the students: Tutee 1 (T1) Adele was paired with tutor 1 (Tr1) Alisha, T2 Bella was paired with Tr2 Braide, T3 Courtney with Tr3 Ceyda, T4 Dani with Tr4 Debra, T5 Eoin with Tr5 Emmanuel, T6 Freddy with Tr6 Foshan and T7 Gordan was paired with Tr7 Gabrielle. Where possible, tutors were assigned tutees of the same gen-der as themselves. This was to overcome any barriers that the students may face by teach-ing or beteach-ing taught by the opposite gender (Toppteach-ing, Thurston, McGavock, & Colin, 2012;

Falchikov, 2001; Leung, 2014). The peer-tutoring sessions went on for a total of six weeks.

Data collection methods

The different data sources are shown in Table 1 and Figure 2, alongside the research question to which they apply.

Table 1. Data source for each research question Data source: Pre-

and post- assess-ment tests

Data source: Discus-sion analysis from


Data source: Ques-tionnaires

Data source:

Semi-structured Interviews Research Question: (1)

Do learning and moti-vation change over the

course of time?

9 9 9

Research Question: (2) How does the interven-tion affect the learning

and motivation?

9 9 9

Source: own work

RQ1: Does learning change over the course of the intervention?

Table 1: Change of the attainment levels of the Year 10 tutees

Tutee (T) Attainment grade before

peer-tutoring Attainment grade after peer-tutoring

Change in grades by sublevels (+3 sublevels

equivalents one grade higher)

Adele D- C- +3

Bella D- D+ +2

Courtney D- C- +3

Dani E+ C+ +6

Eoin E- D- +3

Freddy E+ D- +2

Gordan D+ B- +4

Source: own work

From Table 1, one can infer that all seven of the tutees have improved in their educa-tional achievement (assessed by grades), after having peer-tutoring sessions. Most have improved by one grade or more (+3/ >+3 sublevels) except for two students: Bella and Freddy, who although they haven’t increased by a grade, have managed to increase by two sublevels.

A questionnaire was used to see whether the students felt that their grades had im-proved, despite them not knowing their post-assessment grades.

Table 2: A summary of the changes in the tutees’ grades alongside the tutees’ opinions

Tutee (T) Change in grades by sub-levels (+3 subsub-levels means

one grade higher).

Do the tutees feel their grades have improved?

Do the tutees feel they have learnt


Adele +3 Strongly agree Strongly agree

Bella +2 Disagree Don’t know

Courtney +3 Agree Strongly agree

Dani +6 Strongly agree Agree

Eoin +3 Agree Agree

Freddy +2 Agree Agree

Gordan +4 Agree Agree

Source: own work

Table 2 suggests that in summary all of the tutees (7/7) improved in grades after the intervention, and the majority of students (6/7) feel like they have improved in their academic attainment in Sociology. Bella was the exception who stated that she doesn’t feel that her grades have improved and that she is not sure whether she has learnt more since having a tutor. Interestingly, Bella was one of the students who made the least gains (+2 sublevels) in her attainment levels in comparison to her peers. On the other hand

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Dani made the most attainment level gains (+6 sublevels) - three times more than Bella.

Dani felt that she had learnt more in Sociology and thus strongly agreed that she felt that her grades had improved despite not seeing them. This may suggest that both Bella and Dani are able to track their own progress by assessing how well they are improving.

RQ1 continued: Does motivation change over the course of intervention?

Table 3: Tutees’ responses to the questionnaire, examining change in motivation

Tutee (T) Change in grades by sub-levels (+3 subsub-levels means

one grade higher)

Are the tutees more

motivated? Do the tutees like Sociology more?

Adele +3 Strongly agree Strongly agree

Bella +2 Agree Agree

Courtney +3 Agree Agree

Dani +6 No change Agree

Eoin +3 Agree No change

Freddy +2 Agree No change

Gordan +4 Agree Disagree

Source: own work

Table 3 suggest that motivation does change over the course of intervention, as six out of seven tutees were more motivated after the intervention, with Dani being the only exception citing a ‘no change’.

Four out of seven students like Sociology more now since having a tutor. Two out of seven report no change in their liking for Sociology, and one disagrees, suggesting that he does not like Sociology more since having a tutor. It is worth noting that the three that do not feel they have enjoyed Sociology more are all of the male tutees that took part in the study: this suggests that gender may be a mediating factor.

RQ2: How does the intervention affect the tutees’ learning?

This section will explain the process used in the intervention session that affected the tutee’s learning outlined above in RQ1. The benefits the intervention had on both the tutees and the tutors will be described first and then the obstacles the students faced will be explored.

The benefits:

a) Understanding key terms:

The tutees were helped with learning the key terms, which they can now incorporate in lessons. Some of their comments are:

Before tutoring I was struggling with key terms (Dani).

Peer-tutoring was helpful as I learnt key terms (Bella).

When the tutors were asked what they did to help the tutees learn, their responses mir-ror the points above:

I taught key terms which she [tutee] goes home and memorizes. (Braide).

I think I have contributed to his grades, I have taught key terms and if he act upon it he should benefit (Emmanuel).

Exam awareness:

The nature and the structure of the exam and how to gain marks were taught by the tutors:

It helped going through the structure [of the exam] and explaining how to gain the marks (Bella).

It helped me by going through exam questions and the structure that is needed to improve (Adele).

We go through assessments with the tutees, and how the marks are awarded. We also helped with exam structure and exam technique (Gabrielle and Debra).

Reflect and recap:

Peer-tutoring is very beneficial in helping the students reflect and recap what has al-ready been learnt in the lessons. Bray (2000) said that tutors can help the tutees to consolidate what was learnt in class. Indeed, tutees and the tutors reported that peer-tutoring helped the tutees amalgamate what was learnt in class:

Peer-tutoring gave me someone after the lesson to recap as we don’t have sociology every day (Adele)……..I could recap mid- week so stays in for longer (Freddy)…….. I am more knowledgeable as I went over material so it was fresh in my mind (Eoin).

I could recap what I have done in class (Gordan)………..Peer-tutoring allows reflection on what I have learnt (Courtney)……….This is done through repetition (Ceyda).

Peer-tutoring encompasses the idea that both the tutor and tutee benefit from peer tu-toring. Tutors learn by teaching, and the value of the qualitative interaction between the tutor and tutee is now widely appreciated (Falchikov, 2001; Mastropieri et al., 2006). In this study, the peer-tutoring sessions were evidently beneficial to the tutors also; sup-porting the depiction of the definition of peer-tutoring above:

It pushed me to fully understand Year 10 material, in order to teach it perfectly to my tutee (Alisha)…..I agree, as it helped me not only to understand the material, but also with orga-nization skill as I had to plan and set targets ahead (Ceyda).

You have to know your stuff (Gabrielle)………They ask questions that I may not know, so know I will have to go home and revise(Debra).

Peer-tutoring helps me to re-cap Year 10 material that I may not do otherwise, it keeps me on the ball (Foshan)

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Clarity through questioning:

Additionally, the intervention assists learning as tutors help answer any questions that may have been overlooked in the classroom (Galbraith & Winterbottom, 2011). Tutors make things clearer for the tutees:

Peer-tutoring makes things clearer [by the tutor] asking questions (Debra and Gabrielle).


To facilitate extrinsic motivation, it is recommended that students are provided with regular feedback on their performance (McCombs and Pope, 1994). Both the tutors and the tutees also recognized that feedback from the tutors is crucial in helping to move the tutees on:

My tutor helped me by spotting mistakes and marking for improvement (Dani).

I was able to pinpoint the areas in which I felt that she needed help the most (Braide). This was acknowledged by her tutee: My tutor gave me useful feedback after going over an exam question (Bella).

My tutor tests my knowledge through weekly tests and gives feedback on targets (Eoin and Gordan).

My tutor gives feedback on what I should include in my essays (Courtney).


In order to increase intrinsic motivation, students should be placed in situations that allow a challenge (Bray, 2000). This was echoed by the students in this study, suggesting that it is important that the students go over what they find challenging for the sessions to be beneficial:

Peer-tutoring is helpful when you go over not what you find easy but what you find hard [challenge] (Freddy)….going over weak points help (Adele).

Delving closer at the literature alongside the findings, it may be that feedback promotes extrinsic motivation, as they are relying on a reward outside their own selves. Whilst a challenge helps to promote intrinsic motivation, as the students are less disengaged (Topping, 2005), together, feedback and challenge are two processes that can heighten students’ motivation, but in different ways to complement one another.

The Obstacles:

However, peer-tutoring is not without its difficulties. Obstacles to effective peer tutoring are outlined below:

Subject knowledge:

Tutors found it difficult to break down the material for the tutees to make the content comprehendible for them, especially if the tutors found the material ‘easy’:

It is difficult trying to understand why my tutee was finding certain topics hard. I found it hard trying to explain to her that it wasn’t as difficult as she thought (Braide)

It was difficult trying to break the material down so that the tutee could understand (Braide, Alisha and Ceyda).

In some cases the tutor did not make the material clearer, particularly if the tutor had forgotten the material that they had studied when they were in Year 10:

The tutor had to sometimes re-cap the material then and there as they had forgotten it;

they [tutor] need to know their stuff (Dani).

It required me to rely on my Year 10 knowledge, and at times this was difficult for me to do (Braide).

Linking it back to ‘providing a challenge’, which has been seen to be a beneficial process used to secure a successful session; if the tutor is too similar to the tutee they may not feel challenged enough, hence why the gains would be small (Topping, 2005), as they may be lacking intrinsic motivation. Therefore, care needs to be taken so that inexpe-rienced tutors that have not undergone training do not add to any misconceptions stu-dents may already have (Bray, 2000).

Lack of progress tracking:

As mentioned above, feedback was shown to be associated with the increase of extrinsic motivation, thus beneficial. However, feedback is only possible when progress is tracked, and this was not always the case for all pairs:

As mentioned above, feedback was shown to be associated with the increase of extrinsic motivation, thus beneficial. However, feedback is only possible when progress is tracked, and this was not always the case for all pairs:

W dokumencie European educational leadership : contemporary issues (Stron 106-124)