Information Age Education Blog
Students Learning from Each Other
At lunch today I spent time talking to Bob Sylwester, my co-author of the Information Age Education Newsletter available free at http://iae-pedia.org/IAE_Newsletter. We talked about his experiences in teaching in a one-room school, and how collaborative learning and older students helping younger students was the norm in those one-room schools of the “good old days.”
The article Peer Pedagogy: Student Collaboration and Reflection in a Learning-Through-Design Project (http://www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentID=15198) caught my attention later in the afternoon. In 2008 research involving a mixed class of 4th-5th grader students studying science, the authors report:
Results: We found that experienced [in student collaboration] fifth graders took on many socializing functions, effectively apprenticing younger students into the practices of learning through design. Interviews revealed that both fourth-grade and fifth-grade students were highly reflective about their respective collaborative roles and that experienced students benefited as much as, if not more so, than inexperienced students from this arrangement.
I view each person both as a lifelong learner and as a lifelong teacher. In every interaction with another person you learn and you help the other person to learn. I like to think of students in school as developing professionals in the habits and skills of a lifelong learner. Through appropriate teaching and practice they get better as learners. That is a major goal of education.
Some of us are professional teachers. Through study and practice we get better at teaching. That is a major goal of preservice and inservice teacher education.
What You Can Do
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Written by J Mullin, September 15, 2010.
I attended a two room school 1-8 in "the good old days." It was simply expected that the grade ahead would help the grade below. For instance, the 2nd graders were expected to spend 10-15 minutes helping, showing, sharing with a 1st grader. So... as an 8th grader I spent approximately 20 minutes a day with a 7th grader. As an 8th grader, if I had better than average grades, I was also allowed to help the 2nd and 3rd grade reading groups. This was a great way to free up the teacher to attend to other students and it gave us tons of reinforcement in our own learning. And... it kept us on our toes! Looking back, this may have been where and how I fell in love with teaching. This taught all of us how to learn and work collaboratively; a skill widely used in college groups and businesses.