The University of Western Australia

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Alternative Modes of Teaching and Learning

Alternative modes to delivery

Peer Teaching


Peer tutoring is the system of instruction in which learners help each other and learn by teaching. Tutoring schemes, known variously as Peer Tutoring, Cross-Age Tutoring, Youth Tutoring Youth, and Each One Teach One, have used students to teach students, students to teach children, non-professional adults to teach adults and children, and children to teach children. In every case of peer tutoring, a professional teacher organises the activity of the non-professionals (tutors) as they minister to the needs of the ultimate beneficiaries of the process (tutees).

Goodlad, S. and B. Hirst, Peer Tutoring: A Guide to Learning by Teaching. 1989, London: Kogan Page Limited. 184.

Peer tutoring involves students teaching other students in a given subject area and takes a variety of forms, including one-to-one tutoring by more experienced students; formal student presentations in seminars and tutorials; and students actively assisting other students, both in small-group learning activities in tutorials or labs, or informally with friends outside of class contact hours.

Issues of Teaching and Learning, Vol. 3, No. 3, April 1997, The University of Western Australia.


  • Involves students directly in the teaching and learning process
  • The act of teaching others enhances student's own learning
  • Encourages collaboration between learners
  • Enriches learning environment
  • Shares responsibility for teaching between teacher and learners
  • Uses expertise in the learning group
  • Can be viewed as a strategy for dealing with individual differences in the classroom


  • May put too much pressure on individual learners
  • Not all students will be 'good' teachers
  • Level of instruction offered by a peer may not be high enough

Resources and References

DeLiberations on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
A Magazine for Academics, Librarians and Educational Developers

Issues of Teaching and Learning, Vol. 3, No. 3, April 1997, The University of Western Australia.

Kairos: Home Page
A Journal For Teachers of Writing in Webbed Environments

New Tools for Teaching: J.J. O'Donnell

Rogers, C., An Unusual Science Course in a University, in Freedom to Learn for the 80's. 1983, Charles E. Merrill Publishing Co.: Columbus, Ohio. p. 73 - 93.

University Learning and Teaching in Business Art Society and Education

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