Peer tutoring at a comprehensive school in KwaZulu-Natal : limits and possibilities.
In this study, an innovative 'peer tutoring' programme at a high school in KwaZuluNatal was examined. The aim of the study was to explore the limits and possibilities of this approach to enhancing learning at the school from the perspective of teachers, tutors and tutees. 30 learners who were tutees in the programme, 10 tutors, and 5 educators were interviewed through semi-structured interviews into order to examine how they were experiencing the programme. In addition, the researcher conducted non-participant observations of selected peer tutoring sessions at the school. The findings revealed that overall peer tutoring has positive benefits for learners and has the potential to enhance learning and teaching at the school. Some of the benefits that emerged are: increased motivation; enhanced self-concept; reduced inhibition; learning in a supportive, enabling environment; increased communication and dialogue; development of learner autonomy and independence. The study revealed there are areas in the programme that need to be systematically monitored, for example, peer interactions to ensure that they are not at a purely concrete knowledge telling level. Training has to ensure that deep level thinking and problem solving occurs. The active involvement of teachers is necessary at all levels, in particular to monitor discipline. The findings also suggest that the success of a peer-tutoring programme may be linked to the culture and ethos of the school as a whole. A school that upholds the principles of inclusivity, values of caring and affirming others, collaboration, and an ethos of working together may be an environment in which a peer-tutoring programme will flourish. The whole school community needs to build this kind of an ethos and culture - teachers, learners, parents, school management.