What I Learned From a Peer-to-Peer Teaching Experience

03/10/2015 03:01 pm ET | Updated May 09, 2015

The topic for my class recently was globalization and how ethical it is. This was a peer-to-peer session where a group of students presented the topic for 20 minutes, showed a YouTube video to substantiate their point of view, and had a balloon-popping question/answer session at the end of every section. I found their activity both amusing and intelligent. They cleverly snuck in the questions into the balloons, and then popped it at the end of every section. I don't know if this was done on purpose, but every time this exercise got student attention. It also showed me how much energy they have when they enjoy any given class.

Listed below were my key takeaways:

Timing: The young presenters knew that time is of essence. So they kept the concepts short and to the point for easy retention. At times, they used the concept of time for class management and also to motivate other students so that they could finish the chapter faster.

Class of Conversations:
This learning facilitation exercise was casual in nature. There were no rules enforced. Since students were leading students, they were all friendly, respectful and ensured that the content was covered in a timely fashion. They shared stories, and were able to relate and enhance each other's experience. My role as a teacher was to guide them if they slipped into monotony, or share stories to further clarify a given issue or position.

Cultivation of Support and Sensitivity: Students ensured that each one got every single concept. They seemed to be like a flight of birds. Some led in the beginning, then they followed, and vice versa.

Use of Color and Games: This showed the level of interest they took in the topic.

Listed below are a few testimonials from my student groups after this class on Ethics and Globalization:

• Student Group 1: This class will remain in our memory for a long time to come.
• Student Group 2: It is always was fun when your friends teach you a topic. You feel comfortable and learn more.
• Student Group 3: Time flies when you study with friends and an understanding teacher.
• Student Group 4: Activities and good resources greatly aid your understanding.
• Student Group 5: We feel like we are one. Sharing of real knowledge/ personal experience on part of the instructor really helped this experience.

It is said that "the supreme art of the teacher is to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge." I firmly believe that this can be achieved when an instructor explains why we learn what we learn. Once that aspect clicks, all others follow. Giving supporting study material, then flipping classrooms with peer-to-peer teaching, and later on testing major concepts via a short quiz keeps students competitive, engaged, and greatly aids in the understanding of any given topic.