Peer tutoring in language learning in higher education: the impact at a BIS university

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    The use of peer tutoring programs as an extracurricular strategy in higher education has grown globally (Chen & Liu, 2011) as young people and teachers seem to value collaborative learning processes, either because of the low levels of school performance and the derived need to address the problem or because of the effectiveness of this teaching-learning strategy (Topping, 1996). The purpose of this research is to explore the impact of tutoring on students’ language learning and on students’ affective and social skills development among students from a Bilingual International and Sustainable (BIS) University in the state of Puebla.
    The Bilingual International Sustainable Model is described by the Secretariat of Public Education (SEP) in Mexico as a cutting-edge model that responds to international trends and is unique in Latin America. BIS Universities employ a bilingual pedagogical scheme where the courses are mostly offered in the second language. This implies the immersion of new students in an intensive English language program. The study will explore peer tutoring as a strategy for language learning during the immersion course in which learners are required to obtain an A2 proficiency level.
    To evaluate the impact of implementing peer tutoring strategies within the research context, the research will follow a three-stage mixed methods research methodology. The first stage will focus on exploring the participants’ perceptions about the concept of peer tutoring and tutoring sessions through a questionnaire. This diagnostic phase will provide information to plan a tutorial model. In stage two, the tutor-tutee dyads will be formed. Tutees will be low performing students (according to the institutional diagnostic exam) from the immersion course while tutors will be proficient English language learners from higher level courses. After the peer tutoring organization is established, participants’ behavior/performance will be observed and documented while they work and socialize. In stage three, tutees’ academic achievement will be evaluated at the end of the program through their diagnostic and final ITEP test outcomes. To investigate students’ perceptions towards peer language learning, participants will be interviewed after the implementation of all the sessions.
    The significance of this study is to contribute to the theory and practice of EFL peer tutoring in higher education in Mexico. The results are intended to provide valuable information for English language teachers considering employing cooperative learning in their classrooms. It may also help learners to become aware of the implications on academic performance and social skills development. Peer tutoring is expected to help BIS students to improve their academic skills. Likewise, it is expected to enhance students’ social and affective skills and provide more opportunities for language practice and use.

    Chen, C., & Liu, C. C. (2011). A case study of peer tutoring program in Higher Education. Research in Higher Education Journal, 11. 1-10.
    Topping, K. J. (1996). The Effectiveness of Peer Tutoring in Further and Higher Education: A Typology and Review of the Literature. Higher Education, Vol. 32, No. 3 pp. 321-345. Springer
    Topping, K. J. (2005). Trends in peer learning. Educational Psychology, 25(6), 631-645.


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