Prof. Allen Thurston, Dept. of Education, Queens University Belfast
Can children help each other to improve their reading? Findings from four randomised controlled trials using cooperative learning in schools.
Poverty is linked to lower literacy levels in the UK, with similar patterns reported in international populations. The literacy gap between rich and poor students is stubborn and difficult to close. This talk will report on results and lessons learned from four randomised controlled trials using a structured form of peer tutoring/cooperative learning in reading, to help improve reading comprehension attainment for students in high poverty schools. Findings indicated that peer tutoring/cooperative learning could be a powerful pedagogy to address literacy inequality caused by poverty. By systematically researching peer tutoring we have identified the optimum patterns of use, and which students are most likely to benefit from using the pedagogy. The theoretical reasons as to why peer tutoring/cooperative learning may benefit certain groups of students will be explored. Next steps in research will be discussed.
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