Shazia Muazam, Farzana Majeed, Saima Mumtaz Khattak.
Benefits of Near-Peer Tutoring in Small Group Discussions: a Pilot Study.
J Islamabad Med Dent Coll Jan ;10(1):23-30.

Background: A year senior medical students can prove to be a useful teaching resource with added benefits for the tutors. The objective of this study was to explore the perceptions of near-peer tutors after facilitating small group discussions while delivering an integrated curriculum in preclinical years. Material and Methods: This qualitative exploratory pilot study was conducted in Rawal Institute of Health Sciences Islamabad, Pakistan from July 2017 to November 2017. Students of First year MBBS class (n=100), were divided into six small groups. Seven Second year MBBS students who had secured more than 60% marks throughout year one assessments and in Professional examination were selected as Near-Peer tutors after informed verbal consent. In the first discussion, three groups were taught by three tutors and three by junior faculty. In the second discussion, the groups were swapped and exposed to the same strategy as above, with new learning objectives, but the remaining three tutors now took batches. One tutor acted as a substitute. Qualitative data was collected after interviewing the tutors individually and responses were audio recorded. The collected data, both notes and audio recordings of the interviews, was transcribed into text to generate codes, theme and sub themes. Results: Transcription of data revealed that the tutors enjoyed teaching and were of the opinion that Near-Peer tutoring is more effective in small groups, for both tutors and the learners. The tutors felt a boost in self-confidence and improvement in communication skills, after facilitating a small group. Tutoring also helped in developing their higher order cognitive thinking, learning skills and time management. Conclusions: Near-Peer tutoring helped the tutors develop learning and communications skills while facilitating small group sessions, thus helping them in their future medical roles. Key words: Integrated curriculum, Near-Peer tutoring, Peer Assisted Learning, Small group discussions.

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