Peer-mediated instruction

Peer mediation is an effective means of differentiated reading instruction. Douglas and Lynn Fuchs discuss several peer-mediated programs for elementary students that are research‑backed

FOR MORE THAN A DECADE, differentiated instruction has been one of the “it” phrases in education. This is because it is recognized by many as critically important; a strategy for accelerating student learning and for celebrating their diversity. However, it is difficult to accomplish. Despite enthusiasm for the strategy, and occasional descriptions of exemplary teachers, there is persuasive evidence that few classrooms truly differentiate instruction. One promising approach to differentiation is peer-mediated instruction whereby children work together to support each others’ learning. The connection between peer-mediation and differentiated instruction is that peer-mediation represents an important reorganization of the conventional classroom; an alternative to the “sage-on-stage” and “stand-and-deliver” approach to learning and teaching; a decentralized learning environment. This decentralization provides teachers (and students-as-teachers) with opportunities for customizing goals, activities, support, and accountability that do not exist in more conventional classroom arrangements.

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May 2009