The Inclusive Schools Network is committed to our mission to encourage and empower parents, schools, and the community to design and implement effective inclusive schools. Inclusion is an action, and we support a proactive culture that models kindness and acceptance. The importance of working together to create safe, supportive learning environments cannot be overemphasized! We… Read more
Inclusive Schools Network recognizes the importance of promoting peer relationships. One important aspect of peer relationships involves peer tutors or peer assistants in the classroom. ISN offers a variety of resources for establishing a formal peer tutoring program in your school. As we visit schools around the US, we find very few with formal peer tutoring programs that have procedures for selecting peer tutors, providing training needed to fill the role of peer tutor, or for evaluating the success of the program. We have several free tools to help you and your school cross these hurdles.
Another aspect of peer to peer relationships is the instructional avenues for promoting more peer interactions, such as cooperative learning, pair learning, and other collaborative learning opportunities that are easily imbedded into a good lesson design. You will find several tools that provide for more frequent peer interactions around instructional tasks.
We live in an interdependent world. To be successful in relating to people, we should be comfortable both giving and receiving help. Every teacher should consciously plan for these reciprocal interactions on a daily basis. Think of the many ways in which this can be accomplished. Just a few ideas include:
- Working with other students to locate reference materials in the library for class study;
- Distributing assignments or graded work to the class, just as typical peers fill this role;
- Assisting fellow students in checking their work with a teacher-provided answer key;
- Calling out spelling words to individual students in preparation for a test;
- And many more ways linked to classroom tasks and learning assignments.
Help us add to this list of ways all students can find meaningful roles of helping and being helped in an inclusive classroom. Please send your ideas and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Guide for Building Safe and Supportive Learning EnvironmentsOctober 3, 2022
ISN Partner: The Nora ProjectOctober 22, 2018
The Nora Project‘s mission is to teach empathy by sparking friendships between students and their peers with disabilities. Why it Matters Creating supportive communities for people with disabilities (now and for the future) starts with teaching today’s generation empathy—a practice that will benefit them in all aspects of their lives. Without the opportunity to learn… Read more
Peers Supporting an Inclusive School ClimateSeptember 9, 2015
Author: Toni Riester-Wood, Ph.D. Inclusive schools promote respectful and supportive relationships, avoid the bullying epidemic, and build the attributes of positive peer-to-peer interactions. Due to the current state of our national economy and shrinking education budgets, schools and businesses alike are striving for both efficient and effective ways to maximize resources. One very powerful resource that is… Read more
Tools for Peer Tutoring ProgramsSeptember 2, 2015
Peer Tutoring Weekly Log Cross-age peer tutors should complete a form like this one to document their support sessions and provide the teacher with information about student participation in this instructional process. Incorporating Peer Supports Into Inclusive Instruction Use this guide to assist teachers in considering appropriate collaborative activities to supplement and enhance classroom instruction. … Read more
Planning and Implementing Peer Support SystemsSeptember 1, 2015
Use this six step process to plan and implement successful peer support systems in your school. Step 1: Planning Team Who will serve on the planning team? What are the goals of the program? Step 2: Program Procedures Who will coordinate the program? What is the name of the program? Step 3: Recruit and Select… Read more
Leadership Connection: Building Natural SupportsAugust 31, 2015
Author: Toni Riester-Wood, Ph.D. Too often when thinking about students with special education needs being included in a general education classroom, many will make the assumption that we need to provide an adult to “accompany or assist” the student. Then, too often this well-meaning adult may “velcro” themselves to the student which my actually create more dependency… Read more
Resources and Strategies to Promote Peer SupportsJune 3, 2015
Using Peer Tutoring to Facilitate Access This brief defines peer tutoring and provides a brief description of three examples of peer tutoring, including how it promotes access to the general education curriculum and evidence of effectiveness. Peer Support Video Vlip This video "Enhancing School Community Through Peer Support" provides an excellent introduction to establishing formal… Read more
Peer Support in Inclusive SettingsMay 3, 2015
The current nationwide focus on inclusive supports challenges school systems to use all available resources to provide instruction in the general education setting. We are familiar with in-class supports provided by adults such as co-teaching and support facilitation. However, there are other strategies that are appropriate for students who do not require the level of… Read more
You’ve Got A FriendMarch 6, 2012
What is the most underutilized resource in schools today? Peers! Peer assistance in schools has been a valid teaching strategy for as long as schools have existed. Peer programs allow students to help other students with academic and social support throughout the school day. It takes different forms ranging from informal programs to structured formal… Read more
Building Natural Peer SupportsMarch 6, 2012
Too often when thinking about students with special education needs being included in a general education classroom, many will make the assumption that we need to provide an adult to “accompany or assist” the student. Then, too often this well-meaning adult may “velcro” themselves to the student which may actually create more dependency vs. independence… Read more