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Title: Developing and evaluating peer tutoring programme (Maths PALS) for trainee teachers of SEN pupils in Saudi Arabia
Author: Alhasan, Naeema Abdulrahman
ISNI:       0000 0004 7653 5642
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2018
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Peer tutoring has become well-established in higher education and, with growing interest in peer learning, has started to gain popularity at school level with evident success in a range of settings and subject areas. Specific implementations such as PALS have become commercial successes based on offering attainment gains and social outcomes while reducing teacher workload. However, the impact on children with special educational needs is variable and there remains a lack of consensus on how PALS can affect performance for such students. Similarly, while there are some studies in the Middle East, the supporting literature for peer-tutoring and PALS is highly Western-centric and relies on adoption of constructivist principles in the wider classroom. Such values are uncommon in the Middle East, with the dominance of traditional values presenting a significant barrier to pedagogical innovation in Saudi Arabia. This study is therefore a timely exploration of how peer-tutoring can integrate with a group’s existing traditional pedagogical beliefs, engaging them in more active learning. The study used a mixed methods design to look at three main aspects of the PALS provision: the effectiveness of teacher training as preparation for leading peer tutoring, how fully was the Maths PALS programme implemented, and the impact on students with special educational needs in terms of a range of mathematics attainment and social outcomes. A 3-month intervention model is used to generate comparisons between an intervention and control pupils, helping to locate this study in the context of other quantitative research from Western countries. This is supported by qualitative data looking at the experiences of staff and students to better understand the specific experience of trying such a novel approach in a Saudi Arabian context. It is argued that attainment progress was satisfactory when considered alongside the substantial social progress, suggesting that peer tutoring has the potential to be a long-term learning strategy and, perhaps more importantly, can open the door to Saudi Arabia developing more purposeful and collaborative learning environments. The age grouping common in Saudi Arabia, spanning a much greater age range than is common in other countries, also offers insight into what makes cross-age peer tutoring effective and suggests that measuring progress in such situations requires more advanced statistical techniques. It is also shown that trainee teachers can be efficiently trained in using PALS and highly rate its impact, indicating that teacher training could be a valuable launchpad for pedagogical innovation in Saudi Arabia.
Supervisor: Norwich, Brahm ; Larkin, Shirley Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Cooperative learning ; Peer assisted learning strategies ; Peer tutoring ; Peer facilitators ; Peer learning ; Peer mentoring ; Peer-assisted learning ; Paired pupils ; Paired students ; Peer assessment