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Peer Tutoring at CSS

Marla Paxton ~ Student Services and Counselling

“Peer tutoring is partnering a younger student who may be struggling in one or more subjects with an older student who is willing to take on a leadership opportunity, be a greater part of our school community and may have a strength in a certain subject area. Parents, teachers or students themselves can fill out a Peer Tutor form and Ms. Paxton, the head of the program will match a struggling student with a tutor. This program has allowed me to connect with other students in different grades and review past subjects. The best way get a deeper understanding of something is to teach it to someone else. I think that this program can benefit everyone in our school including tutors, students, as well as teachers.” 
 - Maddy, grade 9 tutor -

Initial Phases…
The Peer Tutoring program is one where students tutor other students who require additional support in academic subjects and/or organization. This was something I had hoped to bring to CSS in my time as the guidance counselor here. Students and parents are often looking for a tutor to help so we tapped into the strengths of our students and it was there where the Peer Tutoring Program began to take shape.

I was hoping to provide a program where students could have ownership over their learning and in such, ownership over their supports. As our school is a middle school (gr 4-9) the tutors we used were from grades 7-9. Every student who wanted to be a tutor had to fill out one of the Selection Forms below. This allowed both parents and teachers to have some input into the extra workload students would be taking on when becoming a tutor.

Rolling it out…
 We rolled out the program through the Student Services website and via the student report card folder. We sent a copy of the following home with their report card to let parents know what we were all about. This gave us a lot of exposure at a very opportune time. Within a week we had 30 students signed up!

The Peer Tutoring request form was filled out for each student needing support. This was available in hard copy on the bulletin board outside my office, teachers were sent an electronic copy, and electronically on the Student Services Website. 

Keeping each other accountable… Students who were interested in tutoring attended several meetings around learning about what it meant to be a tutor… how to approach students, confidentiality, team
tutoring, and communication skills. Once tutors were chosen we meet weekly (sometimes bi-weekly) to check in and support each other with any hurdles students had encountered. Collaboration between the team members was important to the process being student run/owned. The timetable board for students was updated and students booked in their meeting times (with tag saying booked facing out) and their own commitment days (tags facing out without writing).

If you would like to roll out a similar program at your school and have questions or feedback for our program here let us know! As it stands now we have 42 students receiving support and 20 tutors on team.


Garry McKinnon said...

Marla, it is great that you have written this blog to share detailed background information relating to your organization and implementation of a peer tutoring program for the school. You should take a great deal of satisfaction in the overwhelming success of this initiative. Your blog will certainly serve as a valuable resource for guidance counselors and teachers in other schools who are interested in initiating a similar program.

Daniele Ickes said...

Even if some schools don't acknowledge peer tutoring, this is an effective way to enhance a student's interest in studying. Those supported by peer tutors have been seen to improve in their academics. The tutors can also boost their confidence and help with their social interactions. There are students who sit silently in a classroom discussion, but can freely interact with other students at peer tutoring. :)

Unknown said...

Peer tutoring is definitely gaining prominence as a tool to improve academic performance in schools. I've even seen some tertiary institutions utilizing this strategy with their students! I think it's also a great opportunity for not only intra- but also inter-level socialization when older students tutor younger ones. It fosters an atmosphere of respect, cooperation and altruism, which are great character traits to develop early on. This is definitely a great post that can help any educational institution willing to embrace this strategy.

Jan @

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