Instructional Science

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 321–350

Tutor learning: the role of explaining and responding to questions

Article

Abstract

Previous research on peer tutoring has found that students sometimes benefit academically from tutoring other students. In this study we combined quantitative and qualitative analyses to explore how untrained peer tutors learned via explaining and responding to tutee questions in a non-reciprocal tutoring setting. In support of our hypotheses, we found that tutors learned most effectively when their instructional activities incorporated reflective knowledge-building in which they monitored their own understanding, generated inferences to repair misunderstandings, and elaborated upon the source materials. However, tutors seemed to adopt a knowledge-telling bias in which they primarily summarized the source materials with little elaboration. Tutors’ reflective knowledge-building activities, when they occurred, were more frequently elicited by interactions with their tutee. In particular, when tutees asked questions that contained an inference or required an inferential answer, tutors’ responses were more likely to be elaborative and metacognitive. Directions for future research are also discussed.

Keywords

Peer tutoring Tutor learning Tutorial dialogue Explanations Questions Metacognition Verbal data analysis 

References

  1. Allen, V. L. (1983). Impact of the role of the tutor on behavior and self-perceptions. In J. Levine & M. Wang (Eds.), Teacher and student perception: Implications for learning (pp. 367–389). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  2. Allen, V. L., & Feldman, R. S. (1976). Studies on the role of tutor. In V. Allen (Ed.), Children as teachers: Theory and research on tutoring (pp. 113–129). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  3. Annis, L. (1983). The processes and effects of peer tutoring. Human Learning, 2, 39–47.Google Scholar
  4. Atkinson, R., Renkl, A., & Merrill, M. (2003). Transitioning from studying examples to solving problems: Effects of self-explanation prompts and fading worked-out steps. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95(4), 774–783.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Azevedo, R., & Hadwin, A. (2005). Scaffolding self-regulated learning and metacognition: Implications for the design of computer-based scaffolds. Instructional Science, 33, 367–379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Baker, L. (1979). Comprehension monitoring: Identifying and coping with text confusions. Journal of Reading Behavior, 11(4), 367–374.Google Scholar
  7. Bargh, J. A., & Schul, Y. (1980). On the cognitive benefits of teaching. Journal of Educational Psychology, 72, 593–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Benware, C. A., & Deci, E. L. (1984). Quality of learning with an active versus passive motivational set. American Educational Research Journal, 21(4), 755–765.Google Scholar
  9. Bloom, B. S. (1984). The 2 sigma problem: The search for methods of group instruction as effective as one-to-one tutoring. Educational Researcher, 13, 4–16.Google Scholar
  10. Brown, A., & Day, J. (1983). Macrorules for summarizing text: The development of expertise. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 22, 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chan, C. (2001). Peer collaboration and discourse patterns in learning from incompatible information. Instructional Science, 29, 443–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chi, M. (1997). Quantifying qualitative analyses of verbal data: A practical guide. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 6(3), 271–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chi, M. (2000). Self-explaining expository texts: The dual process of generating inferences and repairing mental models. In R. Glaser (Ed.), Advances in instructional psychology (pp. 161–238). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  14. Chi, M., Siler, S., & Jeong, H. (2004). Can tutors monitor students understanding accurately? Cognition and Instruction, 22(3), 363–387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Chi, M., Bassok, M., Lewis, M., Reimann, P., & Glaser, R. (1989). Self-explanations: How students study and use examples in learning to solve problems. Cognitive Science, 13, 145–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Chi, M., deLeeuw, N., Chiu, M., & LaVancher, C. (1994). Eliciting self-explanation improves understanding. Cognitive Science, 18, 439–477.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Chi, M., Siler, S., Jeong, H., Yamauchi, T., & Hausmann, R. G. (2001). Learning from human tutoring. Cognitive Science, 25, 471–533.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cohen, J. (1986). Theoretical considerations of peer tutoring. Psychology in the Schools, 23, 175–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cohen, P. A., Kulik, J. A., & Kulik, C. C. (1982). Educational outcomes of tutoring: A meta-analysis of findings. American Educational Research Journal, 19(2), 237–248.Google Scholar
  20. Coleman, E. B. (1998). Using explanatory knowledge during collaborative problem-solving in science. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 7, 387–427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Coleman, E. B., Brown, A. L., & Rivkin, I. D. (1997). The effect of instructional explanations on formal learning from scientific texts. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 6(4), 347–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Davis, E. (2003). Prompting middle school science students for productive reflection: Generic and directed prompts. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 12(1), 91–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Derry, S. J., & Potts, M. K. (1998). How tutors model students: A study of personal constructs in adaptive tutoring. American Educational Research Journal, 35(1), 65–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Duit, R., Roth, W., Komorek, M., & Wilbers, J. (2001). Fostering conceptual change by analogies—between Scylla and Charybdis. Learning and Instruction, 11, 283–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fantuzzo, J. W., Riggio, R. E., Connelly, S., & Dimeff, L. A. (1989). Effects of reciprocal peer tutoring on academic achievement and psychological adjustment: A componential analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 81(2), 173–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Flavell, J. (1979). Metacognition and cognitive monitoring. American Psychologist, 34, 906–911.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Fogarty, J., & Wang, M. (1982). An investigation of the cross-age peer tutoring process: Some implications for instructional design and motivation. Elementary School Journal, 82(5), 450–469.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Foot, H., Shute, R., & Morgan, M. (1997). Children’s sensitivity to lack of understanding. Educational Studies, 23(2), 185–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Foot, H., Shute, R., Morgan, M., & Barron, A. (1990). Theoretical issues in peer tutoring. In H. Foot, M. Morgan, & R. Shute (Eds.), Children helping children. (pp. 65–92). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  30. Fox, S. (1996). Human physiology, 5th ed. Chicago: WCB Publishers.Google Scholar
  31. Fuchs, L. S., Fuchs, D., Bentz, J., Phillips, N. B., & Hamlett, C. L. (1994). The nature of students’ interactions during peer tutoring with and without prior training and experience. American Educational Research Journal, 31, 75–103.Google Scholar
  32. Fuchs, L. S., Fuchs, D., Hamlett, C. L., Phillips, N. B., Karns, K., & Dutka, S. (1997). Enhancing students’ helping behavior during peer-mediated instruction with conceptual mathematical explanations. The Elementary School Journal, 97(3), 223–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Gartner, A., Kohler, M. C., & Riessman, F. (1971). Children teach children: Learning by teaching. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  34. Glenburg, A., Wilkinson, A., & Epstein, W. (1982). The illusion of knowing: Failure in the self-assessment of comprehension. Memory and Cognition, 10(6), 597–602.Google Scholar
  35. Goldstein, E. B. (1999). Sensation and perception. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  36. Graesser, A. C., & McMahen, C. (1993). Anomalous information triggers questions when adults solve quantitative problems and comprehend stories. Journal of Educational Psychology, 85(1), 136–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Graesser, A. C., & Person, N. K. (1994). Question asking during tutoring. American Educational Research Journal, 31(1), 104–137.Google Scholar
  38. Graesser, A. C., Person, N. K., & Magliano, J. P. (1995). Collaborative dialogue patterns in naturalistic one-to-one tutoring. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 9, 495–522.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Greenwood, C. R., Carta, J. J., & Hall, R. V. (1988). The use of peer tutoring strategies in classroom management and educational instruction. School Psychology Review, 17(2), 258–275.Google Scholar
  40. Hacker, D. (1998). Self-regulated comprehension during normal reading. In D. Hacker, J. Dunlosky, & A. Graesser (Eds.), Metacognition in educational theory and practice (pp. 165–191). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  41. Hamaker, C. (1986). The effects of adjunct question on prose learning. Review of Educational Research, 56(2), 212–242.Google Scholar
  42. Ismail, H., & Alexander, J. (2005). Learning within scripted and non-scripted peer-tutoring session: The Malaysian context. Journal of Educational Research, 99(2), 67–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Juel, C. (1996). Learning to learn from effective tutors. In L. Schauble & R. Glaser (Eds.), Innovations in learning: New environments for education (pp. 49–74). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  44. King, A. (1994). Guiding knowledge construction in the classroom: Effects of teaching children how to question and how to explain. American Educational Research Journal, 31(2), 338–368.Google Scholar
  45. King, A. (1998). Transactive peer tutoring: Distributing cognition and metacognition. Educational Psychology Review, 10(1), 57–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. King, A., Staffieri, A., & Adelgais, A. (1998). Mutual peer tutoring: Effects of structuring tutorial interaction to scaffold peer learning. Journal of Educational Psychology, 90(1), 134–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Leinhardt, G. (2001). Instructional explanations: A commonplace for teaching and location for contrast. In V. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of research on teaching: 4th Ed. (pp. 333–357). Washington, DC: AERA.Google Scholar
  48. Maki, R., Shields, M., Wheeler, A., & Zacchilli, T. (2005). Individual differences in absolute and relative metacomprehension accuracy. Journal of Educational Psychology, 97(4), 723–731.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. McArthur, D., Stasz, C., & Zmuidzinas, M. (1990). Tutoring techniques in algebra. Cognition and Instruction, 7(3), 197–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. McNamara, D., Louwerse, M., Cai, Z., & Graesser, A. (2005, January 1). Coh-Metrix version 1.4. Retrieved September, 19, 2006, from http://cohmetrix.memphis.edu.
  51. Merrill, D., Reiser, B., Merrill, S., & Landes, S. (1995). Tutoring: Guided learning by doing. Cognition and Instruction, 13(3), 315–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Osborne, R., & Wittrock, M. (1983). Learning science: A generative process. Science Education, 67(4), 489–508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Palincsar, A., & Brown, A. (1984). Reciprocal teaching of comprehension-fostering and comprehension-monitoring activities. Cognition and Instruction, 1(2), 117–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Peverly, S., & Wood, R. (2001). The effects of adjunct questions and feedback on improving the reading comprehension skills of learning disabled adolescents. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 26, 25–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Pressley, M., Ghatala, E. S., Woloshyn, V., & Pirie, J. (1990). Sometimes adults miss the main ideas and do not realize it: Confidence in responses to short-answer and multiple-choice comprehension questions. Reading Research Quarterly, 25(3), 232–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Pressley, M., McDaniel, M., Turnure, J., Wood, E., & Ahmad, M. (1987). Generation and precision of elaboration: Effects on intentional and incidental learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 13(2), 291–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Putnam, R. (1987). Structuring and adjusting content for students: A study of live and simulated tutoring of addition. American Educational Research Journal, 24(1), 13–48.Google Scholar
  58. Renkl, A. (1995). Learning for later teaching: An exploration of mediational links between teaching expectancy and learning results. Learning and Instruction, 5, 21–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Rohrbeck, C. A., Ginsburg-Block, M. D., Fantuzzo, J. W., & Miller, T. R. (2003). Peer-assisted learning interventions with elementary school students: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95(2), 240–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Roy, M. (2001). Comprehension and learning through multimedia: Integrative processing of text and illustrations. Doctoral dissertation, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.Google Scholar
  61. Saulny, S. (2005, April 4). A lucrative brand of tutoring grows unchecked. The New York Times, p. A18.Google Scholar
  62. Scruggs, T. E., & Osguthorpe, R. T. (1986). Tutoring interventions with special education settings: A comparison of cross-age and peer tutoring. Psychology in the Schools, 23, 187–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Sharpley, A. M., Irvine, J., & Sharpley, C. F. (1983). An examination of the effectiveness of a cross-age tutoring program in mathematics for elementary school children. American Educational Research Journal, 20(1), 103–111.Google Scholar
  64. van der Meij, H. (1994). Student questioning: A componential analysis. Learning and Individual Differences, 6(2), 137–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. VanLehn, K., Siler, S., Murray, C., Yamauchi, T., & Baggett, W. (2003). Why do only some events cause learning doing human tutoring? Cognition and Instruction, 21(3), 209–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Webb, N. (1989). Peer instruction, problem-solving, and cognition: Multidisciplinary perspectives. International Journal of Educational Research, 13, 21–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Wood, D., Wood, H., Ainsworth, S., & O’Malley, C. (1995). On becoming a tutor: Toward and ontogenetic model. Cognition and Instruction, 13(4), 565–558.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Learning Research and Development Center, Department of PsychologyUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

Personalised recommendations