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ORIGINAL RESEARCH ARTICLE
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 27  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 4-9

Medical faculty opinions of peer tutoring


1 Faculty of Medicine, Faculty Education Unit, University of Otago, Dunedin, Otago, NewZealand
2 Registrar, Department of Surgical Sciences, Southland District Health Board Dunedin Public Hopsital, Dunedin, Otago, NewZealand

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Joy R. Rudland
Faculty of Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, Otago
NewZealand
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.134290

Context and objectives: Peer tutoring is a well-researched and established method of learning defined as 'a medical student facilitating the learning of another medical student'. While it has been adopted in many medical schools, other schools may be reluctant to embrace this approach. The attitude of the teaching staff, responsible for organizing and or teaching students in an undergraduate medical course to formal peer teaching will affect how it is introduced and operationalized. This study elicits faculty opinions on how best to introduce peer tutoring for medical students. Methods: Structured telephone interviews were recorded, transcribed and analyzed using thematic analysis. The interviews were with medically qualified staff responsible for organizing or teaching undergraduate medical students at a New Zealand medical school. Six questions were posed regarding perceived advantages and disadvantages of peer tutoring and how the school and staff could support a peer-tutoring scheme if one was introduced. Findings: Staff generally supported the peer tutoring concept, offering a safe environment for learning with its teachers being so close in career stage to the learners. They also say disadvantages when the student-teachers imparted wrong information and when schools used peer tutoring to justify a reduction in teaching staff. Subjects felt that faculty would be more accepting of peer tutoring if efforts were made to build staff 'buy in' and empowerment, train peer tutors and introduce a solid evaluation process. Conclusions: Staff of our school expressed some concerns about peer tutoring that are not supported in the literature, signaling a need for better communication about the benefits and disadvantages of peer tutoring.


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