Peer Tutoring Term Paper

Pages: 17 (5230 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 15  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Psychology

Promoting Self-Esteem Through Mentoring

Teachers are faced with several major challenges that place increasing stress on them. They are faced with a federal mandate to increase overall reading scores and to make certain that every child performs to at least minimal standards. Teachers are also plagued by behavioral problems the complicate their job of improving reading scores. The final product of this study will be a guide to help teachers institute a program to service 6th graders that are at-risk struggling readers due to emotional, social, or behavioral problems. It will assess the effectiveness and serve as a guide for implementing the "Tall Buddy" program in elementary schools.

Teachers struggle to find new methods to help at-risk students. Reading proficiency is closely tied to self-esteem and the absence of behavioral issues. The theory behind "tall buddies" is that students learn best from their peers because they can relate to them. Tall Buddies provides younger children with older mentors in hopes that it will encourage them to improve their self-esteem, resolve behavioral issues and improve their reading scores. This study will evaluate the effectiveness and issues surrounding the "Tall Buddies" program. I will discuss ways that teachers can implement this program into their classroom as another part of their arsenal in struggle to make certain that all students achieve the necessary reading standards.

Purpose of the Study:

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The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness and ease of implementation of the Tall Buddies program in an elementary school. It will evaluate the theoretical background of the program, the ease of implementation, and the effectiveness of the program in alleviating the difficulties experienced by struggling first grade readers.

Importance of the Study

Term Paper on Peer Tutoring Assignment

Teachers face an overwhelming number of special challenges. Among these challenges are escalating numbers of students who are categorized as emotionally or behaviorally troubled. They are also facing heavier workloads to a need to fill a number of non-teaching roles in the children's personal lives. This study will support my belief that helping troubled 6th graders to feel capable, connected and as if they are contributing members of the school will result in a decrease in behavioral problems, as well as having the added effect of increasing their self-esteem. These two elements are necessary if we are to improve students' success in academics. Tall Buddies will help students behave more responsibly in all areas of their life, particularly academics. Tall buddies will improve the reading skills of both Tall Buddies and Small Buddies to ensure that all students become proficient readers.

First grade is a critical stage in any child's academic career. First graders that have difficulty reading quickly fall behind their classmates. First graders that have difficulty reading by the end of the school year will have challenges that last throughout their school career. In order to measure the success of the Tall Buddies program teachers should take a baseline before Tall Buddies begins and then re-evaluate through out the tutoring program.

Critical to the success of the program is that when a Tall Buddy is chosen, they have a choice to with draw at any time without fear of penalty. Tall Buddies cannot be used as a potential privilege that can be taken away to correct discipline problems. For instance, the student cannot be threatened by holding participation in the program over their head for problems such as not turning in homework or completing assignments. These habits have often been in place for many years and they cannot be broken instantaneously. Success of the program depends on the ability to avoid negative feelings towards it. The goals of the program should be to strive for progress towards the wanted behavior, not perfection.

Section 2: Literature Review

Theoretical support for the Tall Buddy program is based on the connection between academic success, behavioral problems and self-esteem. The Tall Buddy program will make 6th grade students feel connected with the school, capable of performing a task, and will raise their self-esteem. Self-esteem is the root of many behavioral issues and academic problems. Raising self-esteem will resolve many of these problems for students. This literature will review academic literature that supports the theoretical basis for the Tall Buddies program.

The Effects of Self-Esteem

Low self-esteem has been linked to reduced productivity and less than peak performance (Emler, 2002). In addition, those with low self-esteem are likely to cause problems in the world around them (Emler, 2002). There is a connection between low self-esteem and behavioral problems. This is true for both children and adults. Self-esteem drives people to strive for higher goals. They are not afraid of failure and are focused on the chance for success. Schools are not only there to impart facts of information, they are there to help them build strong social and interpersonal skills as well.

Damage to a child's self-esteem in the younger grades will carry over into the later grades as well (Emler, 2002). Not all students with low self-esteem will have behavior problems in school. There is a long-standing belief that low self-esteem is predictive of poor behavior in school. However, this correlation was not found to hold true in all cases (Emler, 2002). Low self-esteem has been found to be a risk in suicide, drug use, and educational underachievement (Emler, 2002).

Self-esteem is an important factor in the ability to cope with the challenges of life. Self-esteem leads to the belief that one has the capacity to achieve what they want to do and that they are deserving of happiness in life (Walz, 1991). School climate is an important factor in the development of self-esteem in students. Schools that target self-esteem as a major school-wide goal found that their students were more successful academically as well (California Task Force to Promote Self-Esteem). Self-esteem prepares students to have the coping skills necessary to face the challenges of difficult tasks (Waltz and Bleuer, in press).

Research found that this attitude of effort and connectedness to the school and the academics drove American Asian students to perform more highly than their Anglo American counterparts even given cultural and language barriers that were presented (Hwang, 1995).

A recent study of American Asian students, compared to other students, showed that the attitude and belief that situations are in their control is the reason for differences between the performance of American Asian students and Asian students (Hwang, 1995). Students must be able to accomplish a task before they can become confident in their abilities it the future. Self-esteem is the key to success in any endeavor. High levels of self-esteem in combination with positive school, peer, and family connections are positive factors that reduce the risk of youth partaking in risky behavior (McClellan, 2002). High self-esteem helps students contribute to the school and community in which they live (McClellan, 2002).

Mentoring ahs been shown to have benefits for the mentor as well as the student. Peer-based mentoring programs for elementary aged children have been documented for a wide variety of demographic categories with similar results (Massey, 2000). Mentoring raises self-esteem according to academic sources (Massey, 2000). Mentoring challenges students to become leaders in an area in which they previously had difficulty.

School Connectedness and Success

Students who feel that people at their school care for them are less likely to use substances, engage in violence, or have sexual activity at an early age (McNeeley, Nonnemaker, and Blum (2002). The No Child Left Behind act implored schools to find more efficient ways to teach material (GAO, 2004). This program resulted in a number of new programs designed to help children succeed. Those that relied on connectedness and improving self-esteem have proven to be the most successful (GAO, 2004).

Programs that improve a student's sense of belonging are a factor in curbing school violence. Research has shown that students that commit violent acts at school do not have a sense of belonging (Ma, 2003). The child with behavior problems often feels like an outsider. Mentoring programs that reduce this feeling of being an outside reduce behavior problems as well.

Peer Tutoring was more effective and showed greater gains for students in grades 1-3, urban settings, low socio-economic areas, among minority students, and in schools using school-wide intervention programs (U.S. Department of Educations, nd). Maslow's hierarchy of needs states that a sense of belonging is one of the first psychological needs to be met before other needs become important (Ma, 2003).

It is important for peer tutors to maintain accurate implementation strategies throughout the course of the program. Students that do not present the material as instructed spread misinformation. The purpose of peer mentoring programs is to improve grades. Therefore it is of utmost importance that students present accurate information (Dufrene, et al., 2005). Teachers need to monitor the information that is being presented to the child being tutored. If an error has occurred, then the trainer must correct it immediately so that the misinformation does nor spread. A sense of connectedness is important for those faced with these problems.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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