Peer Resources Online: Book Description

Peer Assisted Learning

The following is a description of Peer Assisted Learning by Keith Topping & Stewart Ehly (Editors) and published by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates in April 1998. This description was provided by the Editors.
This book is about children in school consciously assisting others to learn and in so doing learning more effectively themselves.

Peer tutoring is the most obvious example, but Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) also encompasses peer modelling, peer education, peer counselling, peer monitoring and peer assessment. These are differentiated from other more general "co-operative learning" methods which are not included in the book.

The book blends descriptions of good practice with research findings on effectiveness. It aims to be accessible and useful to educators and other practitioners and also of interest to the research community.

Peer Assisted Learning is presented as a set of dynamic, robust, effective and flexible approaches to teaching and learning, which can be used in a host of different settings. The book describes procedures which can be applied to all areas of the curriculum in schools. They can be used with learners of all levels of ability, including gifted, disabled and second language learners. Many of the distinguished contributors to the book are from North America while others are from Europe and Australia, and applicability of these methods is worldwide.

For many readers, the general idea of peer tutoring will be familiar. However, reciprocal tutoring, classwide tutoring, paired learning methods and the deployment of students with special needs as tutors may be less familiar. So the reader's understanding of peer tutoring is likely to be deepened and extended by the book. The establishment of the broader concept of peer assisted learning, with extension to even less familiar areas such as peer modelling, peer education, peer counselling, peer monitoring and peer assessment, should enable the reader to see many new possibilities and make new connections to help develop their existing practice.

This book should be of interest and use to teachers and those who employ, train, support, consult with and evaluate teachers. Many chapters aim to help teachers to replicate these cost-effective procedures in their own school environment. A practical resources guide is included. The book should also be of interest to those who have an academic and/or research interest in the field, including education and psychology departments in universities and colleges. In addition, community educators might be interested in the implications for action beyond school, as might employers and others interested in post-school training.

Enquiries: * Americas - LEA, 10 Industrial Avenue, Mahwah, NJ 07430- 2262, USA; tel (201) 236-9500 or toll-free ordering 1-800-9-BOOKS-9; fax (201) 236-0072; WWW:; email:

* Europe - Eurospan, 3 Henrietta St., Covent Garden, London WC2E 8LU, England; tel (0)171-240-0856 or freephone for UK residents 0800-526830; fax (0)171-379-0609; WWW:; email:


Foreword: Herbert Walberg (USA)
Preface: Editors

1. INTRODUCTION TO PAL by Keith Topping & Stewart Ehly (Scotland & USA)

2. The Psycho-educational Basis of PAL by Hugh Foot & Christine Howe (Scotland)
3. Advantages & Disadvantages of PAL Strategies by Larry Maheady (USA)
4. Key Considerations in Design and Implementation by Elaine Chapman (Australia)

5. Paired Learning in Literacy by Keith Topping (Scotland)
6. Classwide Peer Tutoring by Carmen Arreaga-Mayer, Barbara Terry & Charles Greenwood (USA)
7. Reciprocal Peer Tutoring: Developing & Testing Effective Collaborations by John Fantuzzo & Marika Ginsburg-Block (USA)
8. Disruptive Students as Tutors: A Systems Approach by Charles Maher, Brian Maher & Cynthia Thurston (USA)
9. Tutoring and Students With Special Needs by Thomas Scruggs & Margo Mastropieri (USA)

10. Peer Modelling by Dale Schunk (USA)
11. Peer Education for Health by Elspeth Mathie & Nicholas Ford (England)
12. Peer Counselling by Stewart Ehly & Enedina Garcia Vazquez (USA)

13. Peer Monitoring by Carlen Henington & Chris Skinner (USA)
14. Peers Assessing Peers: Possibilities and Problems by Angela O'Donnell (USA) & Keith Topping (Scotland)

15. Mutual Tutoring: Embedding and Extending PAL by Audrey Gartner (USA)
16. PAL Beyond School by Shirley Hill, Keith Topping & Brian Gay (Scotland & Wales)
17. SUMMARY & CONCLUSIONS by Stewart Ehly & Keith Topping (USA & Scotland)

Afterword: Gita Vygotskya (Russia)
Contributor Biographical Notes

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