Written by Geoff Petty
Imagine you teach on a business studies course, and you have found that Jake is having trouble with percentages. You find another student Bracha who is good at percentages, not a friend necessarily, and some would say it would be best if the helper were not a friend. You talk to Bracha and ask if she would help Jake, just with percentages.
You emphasise the difference between being helped to learn, and copying! Students get this, you don’t need to explain much. If Bracha, or some other student agrees to the helping role you explain this to Jake, and Jake and Bracha meet outside class time to resolve the difficulties. Jake knows that Bracha will report back to you how things are going, the effort that Jake is putting in, and progress made etc. You might formalise this agreement, ground-rules and process. Or you might leave it informal and fluid.
Research shows that Bracha will get at least as much out of this as Jake.
Learning teams are groups of about three to six students who offer each other mutual support. They last about two months to a year, and so become quite well established, though they act fairly independently.
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