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Stephanie Fryberg and others respond to a question about the value of peer-to-peer teaching in Education Week’s “Classroom Q & A” blog.

Response: The Value of 'Peer Teaching'

 (This is the third post in a four-part series. You can see Part One here and Part Two here.)

The new question-of-the-week is:

What are effective strategies for having students teach their classmates and other peers?

Response From Megan Bang, Laura M. Brady, Stephanie A. Fryberg, and Mary C. Murphy

Dr. Megan Bang is an associate professor of learning sciences and human development at the University of Washington. Her research focuses on improving the quality of life and educational opportunities for youth, families, and communities historically disadvantaged by education, with a central focus on indigenous peoples and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) education.

Dr. Laura Brady is a research Associate at the University of Washington. Her research focuses on understanding how culture, social class, and race shape educational experiences and opportunities, and how schools can build more inclusive, motivating environments for students from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Dr. Stephanie Fryberg is a professor of psychology and American Indian Studies at the University of Washington. Her primary research interests examine how social representations of race, culture, and social class influence the development of self, psychological well-being, and educational attainment. Her most recent intervention research focuses on scaling up a model for building culturally inclusive growth-mindset classrooms.

Dr. Mary Murphy is an associate professor of psychological and brain sciences and associate vice provost for student diversity and inclusion at Indiana University. In the realm of education, her research illuminates the situational cues that influence students' academic motivation and achievement with an emphasis on understanding when those processes are similar and different for majority and minority students:

Peer-to-peer teaching is a powerful way of leveraging students' existing knowledge to deepen their own and their peers' engagement with course material. In our work, we take peer-to-peer teaching a step further, using this practice to help teachers build culturally inclusive growth-mindset (CIGM) classrooms. The core beliefs of CIGM classrooms are that 1) students from all backgrounds (e.g., race/class/gender) belong and can make valuable contributions; and 2) all students can grow through effective effort, persistence, and support from teachers and peers. CIGM classrooms are inclusive, collaborative environments where students take risks, embrace challenges, and support one another's learning and growth. All students feel valued, included, and respected, and they make (and learn from) mistakes without fearing that they will be judged. Rather than focusing on perfect performance, students understand that learning involves growth, and teachers celebrate all students' progress as evidence of learning.

Over the past two years, we have worked with hundreds of educators and thousands of students to understand how to build CIGM classrooms. Peer-to-peer teaching is one of our key CIGM practices. Many traditional approaches view peer-to-peer teaching as a means of deepening knowledge for successful students while improving understanding for struggling students. A CIGM approach, however, breaks down the notion that certain students are "good" students while others are "strugglers" and creates an environment where all students learn from one another. In CIGM classrooms, students' diverse cultural experiences and perspectives are resources that enhance learning by challenging the class to engage with class material in different ways.

Read the entire article here.