Students Teaching Students – An Idea Worth Trying

Life is an exciting journey and living it we come across many tough and challenging situations every now an then. To overcome these we usually look for help in the form of information, knowledge and guidance from others. We try to connect and get along with all kinds of people like friends, relatives, mentors etc. who we feel could understand our situation well and give us the right opinion or advice. Moreover we also feel that these people won’t mind us asking questions or doubts that could actually be no-brainers.

During the course we are sometimes able to get the right help right away whereas in other cases it takes finding the right people to get the right kind of advice which is much more acceptable. What ever the case may be, looking back you would realize that that’s how you have approached and overcome most of your hurdles in life, learning something new every time.

Talking about Schools and the way classroom teaching happens today, we still observe students not asking enough questions and keeping it to themselves due to which the clarity never sets in. There’s no one here at fault because that’s how our system is designed giving room to more competition and hindering the way students think when it comes to sharing their doubts and opinions in front of a group of students competing with each other.

Surprisingly, what caught our attention was that the same approach, which we use to learn in real life and as explained above can actually be simulated into our classroom with a few simple arrangements. Let’s take an example of class 3 with the topic as Photosynthesis. Get a few students from either the immediate next class, which is 4th, or the second immediate class, which is 5th. Now choose students who you feel have performed well in the selected topic when they were in Grade 3 and assign them the task/activity to discuss the same topic with a group of students and help them understand the concept.

Rewards in the form of grades or points can be linked with this activity just to ensure that students who have been assigned the task of teaching, do all that is required from their end to ensure that other students understand the concept well. Teachers can always monitor this from somewhere outside the classroom but don’t have to be a part of it during the activity.

What makes this approach effective is the same underlying phenomenon, which is students getting along better with other students as compared to their teachers. These students could be their friends, classmates or seniors with whom they feel more comfortable sharing and clarifying their doubts. We feel that this realistic approach to learning could actually add a lot more fun to the classroom and at the same time make teaching and learning more effective and fruitful. Schools can start with a period of 30-45 minutes everyday trying this approach and evaluate the outcomes to change the duration if required.

We would love to have your feedback on the same and in case you have already been trying something similar, do share your experiences with our audience and us.