A Class of Their Own: When Children Teach Children

A Class of Their Own: When Children Teach Children

A Class of Their Own: When Children Teach Children

A Class of Their Own: When Children Teach Children


This handbook for teachers -- both preservice and inservice -- provides information about training and providing opportunities for students to tutor younger students. It shows how the learning process can benefit both tutor and student by going beyond the teacher-led classroom to one that is more democratically organized. Peer teachers improve their grasp of the subject and younger children learn from those who truly speak their language. In addition to increased learning and interest in learning, peer tutoring allows classroom teachers to devote time to students who need more individualized attention and to teach analytic and human relations skills and imaginative uses of technology.


Some years ago, I found myself in Gibraltar on a 26-foot sailboat poised for a cruise first to the Canary Islands and from there--deep breath--to the West Indies.

Ámitie, the cutter, was shipshape and sound of hull and rigging, her sails were tough, we had the right charts, the weather and winds promised no scares in the weeks just ahead, and my two shipmates and I were psyched to go.

There was only one hitch--and a major one at that.

In those days before Geographical Positioning System began giving sailors a satellite fix true down to 10 meters anywhere in the world on an instrument the size of a cellular phone, sextant-based navigation was still an absolute must for crossing an ocean, beyond the reach of the shore radio beacons we had hitherto depended on in British, then Mediterranean, waters.

The hitch? None of us had the faintest idea how to use a sextant.

Learning how fell to me--and I've sometimes wondered if that strawdraw wasn't rigged by my companions.

Be that as it may, I left them the final pre-Atlantic carpentry and sail stitching and set to poring over nautical almanacs, cruising guides, and other sailing texts. This was a frustrating and increasingly jittery--because totally unsuccessful--attempt to fathom the Fine Art and Exact Science of the Sextant.

"If the Arab sailors could learn how to use one over a millenium ago (I'd seen a fine ninth-century parchment specimen in the museum at Fez, Morocco), why the so-and-so can't I?" I ruminated.

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