Research

The Dual Impact of Peer Tutoring

What is Peer Tutoring?

Peer tutoring is one of the most effective ways to learn the material needed to excel in a college course. Receiving help and guidance from a peer provides a comfortable learning environment for the tutee, allowing them to learn without feeling the need to have all the answers.

Peer tutors are students who have recently been in the position of their tutee(s) — fresh off of learning the material and fully understanding the stress/frustration the tutee may be experiencing. That is why students are more likely to understand and grasp new concepts when they are communicated by a peer, rather than a professor or professional tutor. In fact, peer tutors don’t need advanced expertise to help their tutees be successful.

The Benefit for Tutors

The tutee is not the only student benefitting from these interactions. In fact, peer tutoring provides just as much (if not more) value to the tutor.

To teach is to learn twice.

– Joseph Joubert

By engaging in this interactive learning process, peer tutors are reinforcing their own subject-matter knowledge. This allows them to further solidify their understanding of concepts from previous courses, which helps them to be successful throughout the rest of their studies. Furthermore, through tutoring, they are unknowingly preparing themselves for their professional careers.

A peer tutor goes far beyond a high GPA

The National Association of Colleges and Employers recently conducted research on the Key Attributes Employers Seek On Students’ Resumes. The most sought after skills included problem-solving, the ability to work well in a team, leadership, communication, and strong work ethic. These soft skills preferred by employers, many of which cannot be accurately measured by a student’s GPA or paper resume, are the very same skills that are developed through peer tutoring experience.

Skills Development

Soft skills are necessary to excel in a professional work environment, yet they are rarely taught in a classroom. A high GPA may demonstrate a hard working student but it does not promise strong interpersonal and soft skills. Peer tutors, however, demonstrate and further develop the skills that will make them stand out to their future employers and excel in their professional careers. Some of these skills are: problem-solving, effective communication, working well with others, leadership, initiative, organizational ability, and a strong work ethic.

Building Clientele

Building and maintaining clientele can be a challenging task, even for hardworking professionals. As such, peer tutors with returning students are preparing for a successful professional career. A tutor who consistently provides enough value for their tutees to return demonstrates many of the skills mentioned above, especially interpersonal ability and a strong work ethic. Effectively scheduling this clientele also demonstrates excellent organization and sharp time management skills.

Overall, peer tutoring promises a strong impact on both the tutee and the tutor. Effectively communicating information during a peer tutoring session is just the beginning for a peer tutor. By virtue of guiding and teaching their peers, they are preparing for their future career. The interpersonal/soft skills, time management, and strong work ethic developed through tutoring will take them far beyond their GPA and will play a big role in all of their future endeavors.