Since time immemorial, learning and teaching have been very essential elements to the progression of the society (Cowan, 2006). According to researchers, Learning is essential for a variety of internal developmental processes that are usually notable when interacting with more competent people in their environment and in cooperating with peers. There are quite many ways from which students can learn (Cowan, 2006). The main focus of this essay is peer teaching method. Peer teaching method is one teaching method which involves people from similar groups, in some sort of reciprocal learning where one student educates another and in return the others learn from the experience. Note that Peer teaching method maintains the concept describing the significance of the social environment in the cognitive development of learners (Cowan, 2006). This is because of the open area communication that allows them to reason and expresses themselves better and to objectively achieve the much-needed understanding. According to researchers, instances of peer teaching were the concept derived from the Ancient Greeks. One major importance of peer education is that it offers the opportunity for students to model themselves and therefore leading to the acquisition of the required concepts in the most amicable manner (Cowan, 2006). The purpose of this essay is to outline the various issues inherent in peer teaching and the relevant teaching experiences as a result of peer teaching. Apparently, the essay takes the form of a personal perspective (personal experience). It is concisely an elaboration as well as a reflection on my teaching mode. This essay also covers some of the outcomes that accrue from such acts of peer teaching. Additionally, the essay discusses a selected topic from an array of topics including other related issues that relate to peer teaching practices.
My personal experience concerning peer teaching was quite different. It sounded quite different being in the position of the teacher. At first, I must say that I had a mixed feeling. I had this feeling of excitement and nervousness which affected my way of effective teaching in equal measures. The feeling of nervousness or rather anxiety was brought about by the fact that I had never participated in such an activity (and therefore leaving me tensed). Excitement filled my initial peer teaching experiences due to the fact that I was assuming new roles of mentoring fellow students. The beginning of the peer teaching episode saw me fumble for words here and there, but through self-reflection, I eventually improved my intercommunication practices. Otherwise, from the teaching experience, I learned quite a lot. The experience built myself-confidence, and therefore, I learned how to express myself with courage. I also learned one or two things concerning how to effectively communicate with others. Therefore, I must say that the peer teaching episode also played a role or two in building my interpersonal communication. A apart from the above I also came to learn that peer learning is a significant tool for both the tutor and the tutee, this is because, through the peer teaching episode, I came to realize the positive aspects of team building and spirit, social competence, self-esteem including higher achievements and greater productivity.
When it comes to my language, I believe that it impacted positively towards the comprehension of the topic at hand (minimal Accent challenges to my fellow students). I believe that I was also quite effective in explaining the relevant concepts to my fellow students. Apparently, I improve as time went by (I was quite a beginner when I started). My engagement was also excellent. I perceived this extent of excellence by the positive body languages, gestures and cooperation from most of the students if not all. This was also due to the reason that students feel more open and comfortable when interacting with a peer (McAllister, and Irvine, 2002). In such instances, students also share a similar discourse and therefore allowing room for greater understanding. Peer teaching is also an important activity for the teachers. Teachers may use the opportunity to prepare for the upcoming activities or rather the upcoming lessons, and this increases the student’s individualized learning time (Brown, 2001).
As part of the peer teaching, the essay integrates a chosen topic known as the effective communication strategies. Effective communication is quite essential in peer teaching. Ostensibly, it is important to note that effective communication is often described with the way people appear (or even attempt to appear) in the actual communication (LaPointe, and Reisetter, 2008). Effective communication is also described with the way the respective individuals relate to the ones they are communicating and how their messages are typically being interpreted (LaPointe, and Reisetter, 2008). Note that in any other setting; the ability to communicate is often the minimum requirement for a particular degree of success. Apparently, effective communication involves proper listening skills, proper observational skills, and effective application of vocal cues including non-communication (Swan, 2000). The integration of questions in the communication process also implies effective communication. As for active listening, it involves good listening skills and also showing genuine interests to the speaker. In our case, those students who practiced this attribute of effective communication were able to display effective problem-solving capabilities. When it comes to the non-verbal communication, note that five-nine percent of the communication is usually made up non-verbal communication (Yammiyavar, Clemmensen, and Kumar, 2008). Non-verbal communication may involve the following: eye movement, voice tone, facial expression, hand gestures among others. During the peer teaching activity, I strived to maintain eye contact (with an aim of displaying a sense of confidence). During the teaching, I also saw the need to keep my message consistent with the various non-verbal communications. The application of vocal cues in my previous teaching helped me to refrain from using an excessive amount of filler words (sounds such as “uh, er, um”). The use of such words may be disadvantageous. This is because they make listeners lose interest in the conversation. The use of questions is also important as it probes whether the listener has understood the concept (Yammiyavar, Clemmensen, and Kumar, 2008). It is also important in helping to clarify most of the concepts by the speaker.
However, to improve the learning experience based on the above discussion I would consider modifying certain teaching behavior that I had used before. To prompt for more active listening, I would prefer creating instances that are meant to arouse intention and also the employment of suspense in the learning process. I would also consider including funny moments in the process as a way of creating humor for the purpose of creating attention. As a way of enhancing observational skills, I would ensure that I include the use of various non-verbal skills that may be used to alongside other important concepts in the process of the learning to help understand the various better. Also to ensure effective application of non-verbal communication, I would consider matching the right verbal concepts with their non-verbal communication counterpart. This may be important for the purpose of triggering the ability of an individual to recall different concepts taught in class. I would also consider applying the use of the vocal cues. I would try to accomplish this by ensuring that the relevant concepts are concise and to the point (refraining from being so much wordy).
Otherwise, I have to admit that this activity would not have been a success without the help of the numerous course materials. The success of the activity was apparently realized with the help of the course materials which had notable characteristics of comprehensiveness as well as being precise which in turn aided my teaching to a greater extent. This includes the course materials on the Australian dispute resolution methods which had generally quite a good consideration for activities of peer teaching. An example included the ability of the relevant course materials to include relevant examples that students can relate to in their effort to understand the concept better. Otherwise, I would say that the authors of the relevant course materials considered peer teaching method while authoring the relevant course materials.
Brown, R. E. (2001). The process of community-building in distance learning classes. Journal of asynchronous learning networks, 5(2), 18-35.
Cowan, J. (2006). On becoming an innovative university teacher: Reflection in action: Reflection in action. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).
LaPointe, L., & Reisetter, M. (2008). Belonging online: Students’ perceptions of the value and efficacy of an online learning community. International Journal on E-Learning, 7(4), 641-665
McAllister, G., & Irvine, J. J. (2002). The role of empathy in teaching culturally diverse students a qualitative study of teachers’ beliefs. Journal of Teacher Education, 53(5), 433-443.
Swan, K., Shea, P., Fredericksen, E., Pickett, A., Pelz, W., & Maher, G. (2000). Building knowledge building communities: Consistency, contact and communication in the virtual classroom. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 23(4), 359-383.
Yammiyavar, P., Clemmensen, T., & Kumar, J. (2008). Influence of cultural background on non-verbal communication in a usability testing situation. International Journal of Design, 2(2), 31-40.