Effects of training peer tutors in content knowledge versus tutoring skills on giving feedback to help tutees’ complex tasks

Amy Hsiao, Francis Brouns, Jan Van Bruggen, Peter Sloep

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    Abstract

    This study aims to investigate the effectiveness of training tutors in content knowledge of a particular domain versus training them in tutoring skills of pedagogical knowledge when tutoring on a complex tutee task. Forty-seven tutor-tutee pairs of fourth year secondary school students were created and assigned to one of two treatments. Twenty-two tutors received training in content knowledge and the other twenty-five tutors in tutoring skills. Tutors formulated written feedback immediately after the training. Tutees first interpreted the tutor feedback and then used it to revise their research questions. The results showed that tutors trained in tutoring skills formulated more effective feedback than tutors trained in content knowledge. In addition, tutees helped by tutoring-skills tutors found the feedback more motivating than those helped by content- knowledge tutors. However, no differences were found in tutee performance on revision. The findings are discussed in terms of the set-up of this study and implications for improving the effectiveness of peer tutoring.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)499-512
    JournalEducational Studies
    Volume41
    Issue number5
    Early online date7 Jul 2015
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Keywords

    • peer tutoring
    • tutor training
    • content knowledge
    • tutoring skills
    • complex tasks
    • peer feedback

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