What is Peer-Tutoring?
The term „peer“ signifies people of same age, same status ,colleagues and more. Accordingly, peer tutoring is learning and consultation among equals. As opposed to rather classic situations in a university context where both learning and consultation take place between students and professors, peer tutoring creates an environment that does not involve an imbalance in power and authority.
Peer tutors offer capacity building and guidance. They are no replacement teachers or professors but rather initiate and encourage their fellow students to reflect on their learning process and problems through the use of moderating and consulting techniques. Peer tutoring offers opportunities for students to develop problem-solving competences in one-on-one, peer-group and peer-training situations collaboratively.
The term “peer tutoring” was coined by Kenneth Bruffee. In the 1970s as a professor for the New York Brooklyn College he noticed that consultations for academic writing offered by students were decisively more successful than those offered by teachers. His commitment to various forms of peer learning contributed to the institutionalization of peer tutoring in Universities around the world. Today peer tutoring is common in many Universities and is becoming even more important especially at German Universities.
For successful peer tutoring it is vital that peer tutors go through a qualified training. That is why the European University Viadrina has established the peer-tutoring-project. Tutors go through a professional training program that focuses on both theoretical and practical aspects of the work of a peer tutor. The peer-tutoring-project links to the successful integration of peer tutoring projects at the Viadrina situated at the Writing Center, the Center for Intercultural Learning and the Foreign Language Center.