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Using peer-assisted learning in Sweden and Russia: preparing active citizens for their future professional life
University West, Department of Engineering Science. University West, Department of Engineering Science, Division of Land Surveying and Mathematics.
2010 (English)In: NERA’s 38th Congress.: 11-13 March 2010, Malmö University School of Teacher Education, Malmö: Nordic Educational Research Association (NERA) , 2010, p. 129-130Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Research topic/aim: This paper evaluates and compares students’ and academics’ experience of peer tutor system in Mathematics and Physics education in two contrasting settings. The first one is a traditional classroom environment with a teacher centred educational process (Russia), the other is tutorials in the higher education where a range of student-centred teaching and learning methods has already been introduced (Sweden). The education systems in Europe including Scandinavia are facing new challenges in preparingyoung people for their social and professional integration, successful career and personal development in the modern knowledge-based society. The implementation of this task influences approaches to teaching and learning in so far as greater emphasis is placed on learner, learning outcomes and student competence. The appropriate choice of teaching methods is instrumental to a successful implementation this task. Theoretical framework: This study is underpinned by the socio-cultural theory of the learning processes which was originally formulated by Vygotsky and is based on the idea that knowledge is socially and culturally constructed. The research has also demonstrated that the teaching practices that teachers adopt affect students’ learning process. Our study adopted teaching methods based on the learning-focused conception. PAL is an example of a student-to student support scheme grounded in collaborative learning. PAL is aimed to improve student performance and to develop a range of study skills through creating an informal environment for learning. This method has been applied across a range of disciplines and is becoming an important part in programmes’ delivery. Methodology/research design: Our study was carried out in 2008. 31 A-level student studying Physics and 42 first year students on the ‘Land Surveyors’ undergraduate programme participated in this study. PAL sessions have been incorporated into the Physics subject and Core Mathematics’ module delivery. The lectures were delivered in a traditional way; several PAL sessions were introduced during tutorials. A-level students were grouped according to their performance. The university students were randomly divided into groups. A peer tutor from the same student cohort was assigned to each group and trained. Peer tutors were selected from the more advanced students. The tutors decided themselves which teaching method they were going to use. The questionnaire was designed to evaluate the students’ learning experience with the focus on competence development. In addition, the peer tutors and both lecturers were interviewed.Expected conclusions/findings: Our findings showed that all A-level students and over 60% of the students at University Vast evaluated PAL method as useful and valuable. The students highly rated collaboration with peers and commented that it was easier to ask questions, get support and explanation. Both groups of students felt that PAL stimulated their activity, that they were more in control of their learning and found it more enjoyable. The evaluation of students’ level of generic and subject specific competences prior to the study and after the study was analysed. The analysis shows that students developed such competences as critical thinking, problem solving, decision making etc which are importance for becoming active members of the society. Our study showed that the number of students enrolled on the course, the choice of peer tutors and timing of the sessions are crucial for the successful implementation of PAL. Relevance for Nordic Educational research: The results of this study enable to identify the ways to further develop student competences which are necessary for their active participation in a democratic society through the use of best practice and knowledge transfer.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Malmö: Nordic Educational Research Association (NERA) , 2010. p. 129-130
National Category
Computational Mathematics
Research subject
Mathematics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-2427OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hv-2427DiVA, id: diva2:315691
Conference
Nordisk förening för pedagogisk forskning. Kongress (38 : 2010 : Malmö)
Available from: 2010-04-29 Created: 2010-04-29 Last updated: 2011-01-26Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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