domingo, 22 de abril de 2012

Solidarity and self-esteem

"Learning is enhanced when it is more like a team effort than a solo race. Good learning, like good work, is collaborative and social, not competitive and isolated. Working with others often increases involvement in learning. Sharing one's ideas and responding to others improves thinking and deepens understanding." 

                                                                                                                      Chickering & Gamson (1997)                                                                             

I've always knew that helping is important in the classroom, but since I've made cooperation "explicit" through the implementation of a tutors' system I can see results and I'm very proud of my learners. It's great to see how stronger students support and guide weaker students. In this process both the tutor and the helped student grow and learn from each other. 
I strongly believe that self-esteem is raised in both sides since the tutor feels helpful and the weak learner feels supported and cared for. What's more, sometimes students may feel more comfortable or will learn best if a peer helps him/her since they have the same age, interests and needs
I'm glad because in general I've received a positive response from parents, tutors and the helped students. I feel so happy when some tutors praise their mates for making an interesting comment or having a bright idea or when they let me know that kids are doing fine. Although the system is working well I´ll plan a brief meeting with the tutors to talk about their responsibilities, to give them some feedback, to make them do a guided self-assessment of their role and to listen to their opinions. I think that controlling these things from time to time is crucial for the system's effectiveness.

Chickering, A. W, and Gamson, Z. F (eds.), Applying the Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, no.47. San Francisco: JosseyBass, 1991.

3 comentarios:

  1. Ani,
    What an interesting strategy you have implemented! It is true that Patsy has used it with Francesco but all in all it was different, mainly because Fran needs some special kind of support.In the case of your sts,the situation is different first of all there is an important gap between outstanding and weak sts in that class,and in a way this may be a problem in the every day work!By implementing the tutorial system you have catered for both groups'needs: weak sts gain support and someone who is constantly encouraging them(because this is what I think their task should be!)and high achievers will be busy and at the same time they will feel proud of being useful.
    However, it is true that this system may have some drawbacks if you do not consider certain possible situations:1-The good sts may do the work for them 2-They may try to explain to them certain topics they are not ready for 3-They can get bossy 4-Weak sts can rely too much on the friends' help.
    So as to avoid this, I think you have to make the criteria explicit( in the meetings), by sharing the success criteria with them, they will know what you expect from them, they will have a clear direction to the final aim of collaborative work in the lesson.

    1. Vivi,
      Thanks for your possitive comments! I hope everythings goes on well and I would like to do this meeting with tutors this week if someone can replace me 20 minutes in my classroom. I've he self-assessment charts ready and the kids know we'll have this meeting, specially to talk about the cases that don't want tutors or feel more comfortable with one that the others

  2. IT is great that parents agree and share the joy of having a peer supporting their chilren's work