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Releasing Responsibility to Students
There never seems to be enough time in the school day to teach everything that students need to know. But what if students weren't retaining all that information anyways? Don't get me wrong, I believe teachers are some of the most creative and innovative individuals. After all, they have one of the only professions where one individual is the coordinator, producer, content writer, set designer, and star actor in a stage show, often for 6 hours a day with many unexpected interruptions throughout. However, research shows that while teacher talk dominates 70-80% of the school day communication, students aren't retaining all this. In fact, students remember more of what they hear from their peers than they hear from their teacher (Hattie, 2012). If we know this is the case, why aren't we employing students in the teaching process? As educational theorist William Glasser said,
Over and over again, we've learned that humans thrive on contributing in a meaningful way to their communities, however large or small. How many times have we heard that students with behavior difficulties such as attention seeking, often benefit from being entrusted with a special classroom responsibility? I have learned through my research that students better conceptualize ideas when they are allowed to take ownership of that learning by teaching it to their peers.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began in the spring of 2020, students in classrooms around the world were abruptly separated from their classroom and school communities. Only 30% of students surveyed in the Youth Truth survey across the United States expressed a sense of belonging in their school communities during the virtual learning experience of spring 2020. Peer teaching not only allows for greater retention of information in students, it give students ownership of their learning and strengthens student relationships.