Peer Support Literature Review

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Peer support in and beyond school has been considered a cost-effective approach to in-service teacher development, especially in developing countries, that includes formal and non-formal mechanisms (Westbrook, et al., 2013, Avaolos, 2011). Westbrook et al (2013) in a rigorous review of literature identify peer support as one of the main ways to support effective pedagogy. The review identified several studies (i.e. Coffey International Development, 2012,Geeves, Ly, Lorn, Borrmei, & Saran, 2006, Kelani, 2009, Power, Shaheen, Solly, Woodward, & Burton, 2012) where peer teachers share teaching-learning resources, lesson plans and assessment practice and solve problems together. The review noted that peer support operated in schools both through…show more content…
A number have begun to establish links between teachers’ peer learning and changes in their pedagogy. In a general sense, the literature supports the idea that engaging in a learning community of peers leads the teachers to changes in teaching practice. Dunne, Nave, & Lewis (2000) compare teaching practices of a group of teachers who attended a critical friend group with those who did not. The authors concluded that the practices of participants became more student-centered. Participants increased the use of techniques, such as flexibility of classroom arrangements and changes in the pace of instruction to accommodate for varying levels of student content mastery. Englert & Tarrant (1995) studied three special education teachers within a learning community and suggest that one teacher developed skills of implementing a new group story format and utilising choral reading strategies. Berry, Johnson, & Montgomery (2005) noted that teachers in a learning community search for outside ideas to help them solve teaching dilemmas. Andrews & Lewis (2002) explore teachers’ perceptions about being in a learning community and indicated changes in their practices. However, in all those studies concrete evidence of a link between peer support and changes in practice is illusive; especially the methodologies are challenging. Although Dunne, Nave, & Lewis (2000) studied teachers for two years and collected data through multiple ways, there was no indication of practices prior to the intervention. Englert & Tarrant (1995) conduct their study in a small scale project, which includes only three teachers and it touches the peer learning and changes in practice lightly. On the other hand, Berry, Johnson, & Montgomery (2005) conduct their study in a large scale project; however, they

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