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A peer tutor is anyone who is of a similar status as the person being tutored. In an undergraduate institution this would usually be other undergraduates, as distinct from the graduate students who may be teaching the writing classes; in a K-12 school this is usually a student from the same grade or higher. There are some basic rules to establishing your peer tutoring program, the key to success is a clear objective. Thorough planning and evidence gathering activities will contribute to substantiation of the decisions you will make.
There are many benefits for both the peer tutor and tutee in this relationship; one aspect of this is that the tutor can establish a rapport with the tutee in a way that a teacher cannot. A peer tutor may have taken the same class recently, or have taken similar classes.
Because the peer tutor is seen by the tutee as being more at their own level, advice given by the tutor may be accepted more readily than advice from a teacher. Another key reason for this is that a peer tutor does not give any grade on the paper, whereas a teacher serving in a tutor role may still be perceived as someone who grades papers.
Peer tutors can't be trained through on-the-job training, as well as through formal workshops. New tutors can be paired with more experienced tutors for their first few tutorials, and after the tutors are satisfied that the new tutors can operate alone they can give one-on-one tutoring. A key aspect of tutor training is the reflection on tutorials with other tutors; this reflection looks at what could have gone better as well as the tutor's progress in giving tutorials.
In higher education tutorial settings, the benefits of peer tutoring programs also extend to class tutors. Using grounded theory techniques, it was found that the following five themes underlie their experiences: role exploration, sharing responsibility, regulation of the peer tutored groups, harnessing the peer tutors’ role, and community (see article for further detail).
ESL training can be separated from regular tutor training as a subject that contains special difficulties that must be dealt with on their own. Tutoring in an Online Writing Lab can also be separated from normal training.
Stated by Goodlad and Sinclair, "Peer tutoring is the system of instruction in which learners help each other and learn by teaching. Tutoring schemes have been used in a variety of context, with students teaching students, students teaching school pupils, non-professional adults teaching adults and children, and pupils teaching pupils."