Peer Instructions


Among its other objectives, KEY 1.0 wants to promote innovation in the science class, more specifically, the discussion among peers as a pedagogical tool. There exist many ways of using discussion to teach science. We use mainly the work by Erica Mazur, of the University of Harvard, spokesman of the method called Peer Instructions. The learning process can be divided into two phases. First, the learners get new information by reading a book or paying attention to a speaker. Then, they reflect about the notions they were exposed to and try to comprehend them. In the traditional school setting, students are supported in the first phase and left alone in the second. Peer Instructions inverts this pattern, and gives to the teacher a crucial role especially in the second phase. Students are told to study a given content at home, before the lesson takes place. Then, during class, the teacher follows the following algorithm

1) She briefly resumes a part of the content to be learned.

2) She asks a question relative to this part. Each student reply by their own.

3) If less than a third of the class answers correctly, the lesson goes back to point  1

4) If more than two thirds of the class responds correctly, the lesson can skip to point 9

5) If the correct answers are more than one third but less than two thirds, a discussion between student takes place. Those who understood correctly, are more likely to convince the colleagues who disagree.

6) The same question is posed again.

7) If the percentage of correct answers increases significantly, the discussion achieved its goal, the lesson go to point 9).

8) If the process fails, all the work starts over again from point 1).

9) The teacher gives a last brief explanation of the reasons for the answer to the initial question, which reasons, at this point, have been understood by most students, and then moves to the next topic. To learn more on this topic, visit this page.

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