Peer tutoring is widely used to provide learning support or as an opportunity for learning that is different and additional to the traditional model of class teaching. The objective of this study was to explore the perceived impacts of an established cross-school, cross-age peer tutoring project – the Hamilton Primary Numeracy Project – to gain a better understanding of its impacts on participants. It was hoped that findings would inform development of future iterations of the programme.
A largely interpretative approach was employed to gather research findings, before and after the 20-week programme, from ca.80 participants across 6 Oxfordshire schools. Several data collection techniques were used, including ‘Salmon’ lines, hardcopy and online questionnaires. On conclusion of the programme, audio-recorded semi-structured group interviews were used to probe areas of interest in greater depth. The constant comparative method was used to code data, from which emergent themes were identified. Themes were mapped using network analysis. School staff contributed their perceptions of programme impacts in terms of the ‘five Cs’ of positive youth development: competence, confidence, character, connection and compassion.
Salmon-line data from tutees revealed perceptions of elevated levels of maths confidence and ability across the duration of the programme, alongside improved attitudes to the subject. These findings are corroborated by their teachers’ observations. Qualitative data showed that tutees derived enjoyment from the sessions and evidenced positive impacts on their mathematical understanding, confidence, independence and resilience. Many also cited the positive impact of the tutoring environment and their relationship with the secondary tutors. Being a programme tutor appears to have impacted the secondary students’ overall development, evidenced by their many perceptions characterised as one of the ‘five Cs’ or as a different life/ social skill, such as patience, adaptability and communication.
While presenting organisational questions for HPNP facilitators, and recognising that challenges exist for schools and participants, this study provides strong evidence supporting the continuation of the programme and, potentially, the wider application of such projects.
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Rights Holders: Barwick, Nicholas
Supervisors: Wright, Susannah
School of Education
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