Peer Supports

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

Resources and Strategies to Promote Peer Supports

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 Settings

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 Friend

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 Supports

This spotlight topic will provide information and resources about peer- tutoring, peer supports, cross‐age peer tutoring, and peer modeling. Last month we explored advantages of building inclusive school communities and touched on the benefits of utilizing one of the most natural supports available to us: Peers.   This month we will continue with this theme by exploring… Read more

With a Little Help from My Friends

The song that comes to mind when I think of peer tutoring is “With a Little Help from my Friends” by the Beatles. We all need help from our friends from time to time. The use of peer support in my inclusive classroom is truly more beneficial than any other strategy.  Although, it is not… Read more

We are Family

We are family I got all my sisters with me We are family Get up everybody and sing We are family I got all my sisters with me We are family Get up everybody and sing Living life is fun and we've just begun To get our share of the world's delights High hopes we… Read more