Question....Part 6

Homa, 1. Of course you and Amandou could visit MATCH if you get to Boston. In fact, there are 2 other schools here I'd want you two to see that are really terrific, and probably a somewhat more replicable model. (MATCH has a ton of full-time tutors at our school that would be prohibitively expensive).

2. On peer tutoring, read this short article. It might stimulate some questions we could discuss.

This is a longer article, more formal.

3. The particular program described in the first article is "Peer Assisted Learning" or PALS. I pasted the main idea below.

It could either happen during class -- you'd have to get a teacher who'd want to experiment with something new -- or it could happen before or after school. My suggestion would be during class. Given how you've described the lessons, it sounds painfully boring -- peer tutoring would probably be a very welcome change.

An alternative would be a simple experiment. You'd identify, say, 5 stronger students. You'd ask them to work 1-on-1 with 5 weaker students, before or after school. Measure whether they can create improvement.

4. Do you ever do any teaching yourself? If you come up with some methods that you want to try, it occurs to me that you may have to try them yourself with the students. Other teachers, particularly if they only last one year, may be disinclined to try new things. Although one would certainly hope you have at least a few intellectually curious teachers who'd like to try new ways.

Best wishes, Mike

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Reading PALS Reading PALS pairs students in a systematic way. First, students are ranked according to reading competence. Next, each student in the class is paired with another student. The pairs consist of one higher- and one lower-achieving student. The higher-achieving student always reads first, as a model for the other student. Students are monitored as they engage in the lessons.

The chart below describes the typical format for a Reading PALS lesson:

There are three parts to PALS sessions in which the partners take turns reading and describing what they read to each other.

Task 1: Partner Reading - the higher-achieving student reads aloud while their partner follows along correcting mistakes. After five minutes the students switch roles and reread the same selection.

Task 2: Paragraph Shrinking - students must state the main idea in ten words or less which encourages them to display and monitor comprehension while taking turns reading one paragraph at a time. They earn points when the goals of the exercise are met.

Task 3: Prediction Relay - a partner predicts what information will be in the next half page of text, and then reads out loud to find the information. This reading exercise includes use of the prior tasks (i.e., correcting errors and summarizing the text).

*Pairs earn points for every correct prediction and for appropriate summaries.