Students as Co-Teachers

As students with more diverse learning needs are entering the general education classroom it is becoming increasingly important to increase supports and services for all student. Along with this need is that the reality of the financial situation of schools is on the decline, with no financial upswing in sight. The researcher saw an opportunity to increase supports within the classroom, without impacting finances. She saw that the older students were naturally mentoring younger students and created a systemic program that would ideally benefit everyone: teacher, students and peer teachers. The researcher created a peer-teaching program, where upper classmen would co-teach alongside the classroom teacher to underclassmen once a week. The researcher did an ethnographic study to see if the program, in deed, do what was intended. Through survey, interview and observation the research found the program was making a positive impact on students, teachers, and the peer teachers. The researcher learned that although the goal of building in extra supports for students was reached, an unintended impact also occurred. Through the peer-teaching program it was the peer teachers themselves who had the most positive impact through this program.