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The role of tutors in peer led teaching

Nisbet, Jolan T. and Haw, Mark D. and Fletcher, Ashleigh J. (2014) The role of tutors in peer led teaching. Education for Chemical Engineers, 9 (1). e15–e19. ISSN 1749-7728

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Problem based learning can impact not only on students' academic performance but also their social interactions within their peer group, and many institutions have embedded such teaching within their core curriculum. This paper looks at the interactions within a first year undergraduate engineering cohort that uses peers to tutor small groups through problem based learning at a Scottish Higher Education Institution. Most significantly, this work focusses on the impact that these interactions have on the students engaged as tutors within the programme, bridging the gap left by previous studies and providing an insight into how tutors are affected by their experiences. It was found that the recruitment of tutors requires careful consideration of their social as well as academic qualities, and that they should receive training and guidance within their adopted roles that takes account of social factors, questioning the traditional practice of employing individuals purely on the basis that they have studied the class previously themselves. The dynamic of tutor position with regard to the presence of senior staff is also explored, and suggests mechanisms for further student development.