Pros and cons of using gifted students as classroom tutors.
There are many things to consider when implementing a program to use gifted students as classroom tutors. It is best to think through the pros and cons and try to set up your program to eliminate or minimize as many of the drawbacks before implementing the program. Here are some of the pros and cons to consider:
1. The tutoring experience has the potential to benefit the gifted student as well as the student he/she is tutoring. The gifted student, who often finishes his/her work quickly and then is bored waiting for others to finish, will find a use for that extra time and will find meaning in helping others.
2. The student receiving the tutoring will benefit from having a peer mentor. The gifted student can learn to help the other student and can learn loyalty and the wonderful quality of learning to pull for that student to do well.
3. The classroom teacher can cover more material and work to ensure the classroom is a cohesive group rather than trying to balance keeping gifted students busy and giving enough attention to students who are not doing so well.
4. The gifted student will learn responsibility for others. At the same time, the student being tutored will learn to communicate their educational needs with a peer.
1. The program for using gifted students as tutors needs to be implemented carefully to ensure that the gifted student has the skills to teach another. Just because a student is gifted doesn’t mean that he/she knows anything about using their knowledge and skills to help others. It is up to the teacher to implement a training program for potential tutors to give them the skills they will need. This often takes more valuable time away from the class.
2. The gifted student needs to learn to approach the tutoring in a helpful manner. Often tutoring of students within a classroom can single out students as not being as smart or as talented as the other students. This can be a blow to the ego just as being put in the slow reader’s group can damage a student’s ego and make him/her into a slow reader. The introduction of the student tutors and the use of them within the classroom need to be handled in such a way that the students do not become embarrassed by receiving help from a peer. The teacher needs to be aware of the possible problems, train the students accordingly and supervise closely enough to ensure a successful program.
When handled correctly, tutoring by gifted students can be a positive classroom addition. The teacher needs to watch carefully however to ensure that mentoring is occurring.