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A method for learning by teaching

Buddyschool

Helsinki, Suomi
In this innovation older and younger students gather together for study groups that are part of their school work. The older students plan the study group with the help of the teacher and are responsible for teaching the topic to the younger students.
Introduction

What is it all about?

“We wanted to create a learning environment in which kids feel like they can ask questions without judgement and use language without fear. ”

- Liisa Rännäli

Learning a language has a big effect on how a youth with an immigrant background will integrate into school and society. Language is needed to create social connections, but also to understand the topics covered in one’s studies.

Language skills develop best through using language. Schools can support students and foster the courage needed to use language and take responsibility for one’s learning. There are many ways to learn. One efficient way is teaching the topic to others.

A pilot of the Migrant Youth Helsinki project, Buddyschool brings different aged students together to teach and learn actively from each other.

The method was developed for students who struggle with their grades for one reason or another. The idea for peer learning as a part of formal studies came from the realisation that at the time of graduation in Finnish comprehensive school there are students who have not completed their studies or have underperformed. Instead of extra exams to boost grades a more active approach was chose — an approach that offers a chance to experience the joy of learning and tackle one’s challenges with studying.

Even though the Buddyschool was primarily founded to answer the challenges of language learning, the method works in all subjects. The Buddyschool program has included reading, writing and illustrating fairy tales and short stories, leading an exercise session, going through literature genres, and organising a study group instead of taking an exam on a unit on water.

The Buddyschool offers students non-passive alternatives to traditional school work and help the students see themselves in a different role. The students feel they are on equal footing in the classroom. As communication becomes natural, they can take charge and become active language users. As a result, students take more responsibility both for their learning and their other actions.

Students participated in the study groups enthusiastically. People, who usually don’t shine during ordinary lessons, have risen up to the occasion. Many quiet and passive students have turned into active study group leaders and students who are unsure of themselves have realised that working together leads to learning. The study groups have also received positive feedback from parents.  

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Innovation Overview
7 - 15
Age Group
-
Children/Users
1
Country
2012
Established
-
Organisation
1 388
Views
Tips for implementation
No special resources are required
Connect with innovator
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HundrED Review
Innovativeness

Peer teaching supports language learning in a surprising way. It offers other ways to complete one’s studies and takes children who learn better in untraditional ways into consideration.

Impact

Students take more responsibility for their learning and their learning results get better.

Scalability

The model can be applied to several subjects and different kinds of cultural environments.

Media

See this innovation in action

Comment
We were surprised to find that Buddy Café, developed in Finland, was so suitable for ur use as well. We had to apply certain steps - for example pay close attention to informing parents - but found this innovation very useful.
Elina Uutela
The model can be applied to several subjects and different kinds of cultural environments.
Mentoring students from Pasila Primary School and Vesala High School explained Buddy Cafe practices in the fall 2016.
Buddy Cafe was started with 5th and 6th grade students in Myllypuro.

Milestones

Achievements & Awards

Map

Spread of the innovation

Steps

Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

01
The goal and participants of the study group
Start by considering who would gain from this method and in what situations. Who are the students who could learn better with it? In what subjects? Which requirements could be replaced with study groups?
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02
Teacher collaboration in organising and planning the study groups
Who you could organise the study group with? Teacher collaboration can be carried out in several ways.
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03
Planning in detail and choosing a method
Plan the topic of the study group and how the study group will work together with the students. The teacher’s role is to help out during planning, but students will be responsible for organising the study group.
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04
Setting the time
Once the students have finished preparation during their own lessons, decide on a time for the study group that suits both teachers.
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05
General notes for using the Buddyschool system and implementin...
At the Pasila comprehensive school, study groups have been arranged both as one time events and over the course of the school year. The method suits both ways well.
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