Academic and Personal Impact of Peer Tutoring on the Peer Tutor

Academic and Personal Impact of Peer Tutoring on the Peer Tutor

Susan Finlay (Sultan Qaboos University, Oman)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5846-0.ch014

Abstract

This chapter features results of a mixed-methods study of the academic and personal impact of peer tutoring on tutors at the Tutorial Centre, Centre for Preparatory Studies at Sultan Qaboos University, Oman. The perceptions of the impact of peer tutoring were gained by interviewing 12 experienced current and former peer tutors who have not yet graduated, that is, former peer tutors who had only recently finished peer tutoring. Transcriptions of the audio-recorded interviews were analyzed using a process of thematic analysis to explore emerging themes. In addition, participants' GPAs before they began tutoring were compared to their current GPAs after they had completed at least two semesters of tutoring through a paired samples t-test. Practical implications of findings for future peer tutoring practice are discussed.
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Literature Review

Peer tutoring has been widely documented as being beneficial to tutees across a variety of disciplines, including maths, science and nursing (see American River Project, 1993; Brannagan, Dellinger, Thomas, Mitchell, Lewis-Trabeaux, & Dupre, 2013; Loke & Chow, 2007; Moust & Schmidt, 1994), as well as for predominantly non-content based subjects such as English language skills (Alraji & Aldhafri, 2015; Finlay, 2017). From these studies, it is generally agreed that, when tutors are well chosen, well trained, and well mentored, and when financial backing and the availability of resources are in place, tutees greatly benefit academically from this support as a complement to their classroom based studies.

Other studies focus on the effects of tutoring on the peer tutor. Chai and Lin (2013) looked at the perceptions of the challenges faced by Business Administration peer tutors of small groups of tutees at an institution in Malaysia. In this study, the groups of tutees were given group decision-making tasks facilitated by the peer tutor, which were video-recorded. Peer tutor participants were also interviewed and asked to complete diary entries of their experiences. Perceptions of peer tutoring appear to be quite negative, with the main challenges being tutees’ attitudes and lack of interest. Alsup, Conard-Salvo and Peters (2008) described more positive experiences in the Purdue University Writing Lab in the United States, in which Peters was a tutor before going on to be a pre-service English teacher. Benefits reported by this study include gaining authentic teaching experience, and learning how to be flexible and responsive to the needs of tutees.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Foundation Program: A series of courses that undergraduates follow before they start their main degree and credit-bearing subjects. In the current research site, this program includes studying English, math, and IT.

Teaching Practice: Part of an education degree in which students perform supervised teaching at a school.

Tutee: A student who participates in tuition that is offered by a tutor.

Academic Benefits: Effects that have a positive impact on areas directly related to a students’ studies.

Sultanate of Oman: A country in the Middle East which borders the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.

Peer Tutoring: The process by which a student helps teach other students, in a one-to-one or small group setting. For the sake of this paper, this is a senior undergraduate student who usually tutors foundation program students.

Personal Benefits: Effects that have a positive impact on areas related to a student’s personal development.

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