The Peer Research Laboratory is associated with the National Self-Help Clearinghouse. The major principles of self-help mutual aid are as relevant in the work of the schools as they are in support groups.
- This is a strengths-based approach that emphasizes students’ assets and skills to help themselves as well as someone else. In peer helping, students are sent the message that they have something to offer other students, something to teach.
- When helping others within the school setting becomes the norm, a community ethos is created with shared values of caring and hope.
- In schools, while teachers teach, the students do the learning. In peer work, they are prosumers–both the producers and consumers of education. If children teaching children results in a marked improvement in student learning, the productivity of the school is increased.
- Giving help is the best way of being helped. Studies have demonstrated that low-achieving students have greatly improved their grades through tutoring other students. Helping also improves how students feel about themselves when cast into this role. They realize they can “make a difference.”
The Peer Research Laboratory
- Develops and implements demonstration programs
- Conducts staff development and training activities
- Conducts research on the effectiveness of peer approaches
- Provides technical assistance and consultation to schools
- Publishes papers and research reports
- Provides speakers
- Maintains a library of research and training materials