The math education advocates at SchoolMart.com explain the importance of encouraging children to teach each other mathematical concepts.
Recent studies have shown that children who teach each other the principles of mathematics develop a better understanding of those concepts. In addition, children who are provided outlets for practicing their natural instincts to teach math concepts to their peers are able to develop their comprehension of their environment and their social surroundings from a young age.
Children are more likely to learn math concepts effectively when the context surrounding the concept is relevant to them. Although play time at home may seem informal, it can be just as influential on a child’s learning as learning experiences in school. Math-based toys, like building blocks and memory games, help children to begin school with a baseline understanding of simple math. These toys, in combination with sibling interactions, have been shown to encourage math teaching and learning before kids ever enter a classroom.
At times, struggling students may feel undue pressure to quickly grasp challenging material. In these situations, and regardless of what teaching method is used, these students may not feel adequately supported. In cases such as this, it can be extremely beneficial for a child who has a conceptual grasp of the material to teach it back to the struggling student. It is therefore vital that peer-to-peer interaction is encouraged when appropriate.
Students are often able to recall how they acquired their understanding of the subject, and what teaching methods worked best for them more easily than their teachers can. They are therefore better able to recreate their path in order to clarify confusing concepts for their fellow students. Further, this allows children to develop a clearer understanding of the material by breaking each concept down piece by piece. Peer tutoring, as a result, can improve the confidence of all students involved.
Children who are encouraged to teach each other also develop their creativity through the education process. They may use drawings, pantomime, and props as part of their teaching strategy. They may also employ creative thought processes that may be different from the strategies of their teachers.
When children instruct each other, both parties improve their social and communication skills. Especially in cases involving large age gaps, older students must learn to use simple and clear language, while younger students are encouraged to expand their vocabulary. Studies have also shown that youth peer tutoring programs yield positive results for both the tutors and the students receiving assistance. Employing a system in which there is a two-year age gap between student and tutor seems to be a particularly effective.
Peer tutoring can also offer benefits to parents and teachers. This method is an inexpensive and accessible learning tool, and is fairly easy to implement. Peer tutoring requires little, if any, equipment, and almost no training.
Encouraging children to tutor and teach each other mathematical concepts is a win-win situation. All of the students involved come away with improved understanding of the concepts discussed, more confidence in their grasp of the material, and improved communication skills.
For more information on how to encourage more peer-to-peer math education into your classroom, please contact the math education advocates at Schoolmart.com today.