Excellence for All

This is an exciting development – rigorous evaluations have already shown peer learning to be effective in many situations but this is the first-ever large scale implementation of peer learning methods. Fife Council has a long-established reputation as an organisation which is progressive in its outlook and activities. The council is very committed to this project and take up has been high with 120 primary schools participating. It is hoped that, through this project, Fife Council will become an established centre for excellence in peer learning, providing a template for others in the UK.

The Fife Peer Learning Project is designed to complement and enrich the existing educational provision within schools, offering both pupils and their teachers valuable opportunities for development. The teachers’ skills will be enhanced through the co-ordination of peer learning activities, enriching perspectives on formative assessment. As well as reinforcing and consolidating core curricular learning, this project will support schools in meeting governmental targets as outlined in “A Curriculum for Excellence” and “Assessment is for Learning”.

Tell me more about the Peer Learning Programmes:

During the two years of the project some schools will be involved solely in Reading or Maths peer learning programmes while others will be involved in programmes which combine Reading and Maths.

Sometimes older children will tutor younger children across year groups while others will tutor pupils of the same age within year groups.

Two Peer Learning Associates have been appointed, one specialising in Literacy, the other in Numeracy and the majority of schools’ involvement in the project will be through them.

What is Peer Learning?

Part of life at school asks children to try to do better than other children. But another very important part of school and later life is working with and helping other people.

Peer Assisted Learning means having children help other children to learn.

Your child will be paired with another child. One will take the role of mentor while the other will become the mentee. Sometimes these roles will change to provide both with the opportunity of developing skills in each area.

It is important that Peer Assisted Learning is set up in a way that makes sure that the pupil who is helping gets something out of it, as well as the pupil who is helped.

To be able to help in a subject, you have to really get to understand it well and be able to explain it. So helping helps the helpers learn faster too.

Peer Assisted Learning is used for only a small part of the school day.

Research shows that Peer Learning increases the effectiveness of regular teaching by the class teacher.

How does Peer Learning benefit pupils?

  • Raised attainment in literacy and numeracy
  • Improved motivation and self-esteem
  • Increased confidence
  • Enhanced interpersonal skills
  • Greater awareness of the needs of others
  • Further opportunities to encourage responsible citizenship in a caring, supportive and tolerant environment.

What is the teacher’s role in Peer Learning?

Teachers will be supporting pupils in Peer Learning activities. Setting up peer learning projects needs enthusiasm, careful planning and hard work on the part of the teacher. Careful plans must be made for pairing pupils, finding the right sort of materials, training helping and helped pupils, and many other points of organisation.

Tell me more about the Reading Peer Learning Programme:

Paired Reading is a kind of supported or assisted reading. It follows a tried and tested method which has been refined over the past 30 years. Emphasis is placed on reading for information, understanding and enjoyment. A rapport is built up between the mentor and mentee which encourages discussion on the language and reflection on the content of chosen texts. Since reading is the ultimate transferable skill increases in reading ability through peer learning activities will impact positively on all areas of the curriculum.

Tell me more about the Maths Peer Learning Programme:

Duolog Maths is designed to hone skills of enquiry and reflection and to develop:

  • critical thinking skills
  • problem solving capabilities
  • ability to transfer and apply knowledge to other everyday contexts

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