Think Carefully, Let’s Bond, and Other Tutoring Strategies: Socio-academic Participation Patterns in Peer Tutoring


  • Maria Christina Schmidt Department of School and Learning, University College Copenhagen
  • Stine Thygesen Department of School and Learning, University College Copenhagen



socio-academic inclusion, participation, peer tutoring


CONTEXT. This article investigates how an intervention called SYKL (SYstematiseret Klassekammerathjælp), which used systematized reciprocal peer tutoring in mathematics in the fourth grade, affected student participation and socio-academic inclusion.

APPROACH. In contrast to most international peer tutoring projects, SYKL simultaneously focuses on social relations and academic inclusion. Teachers recruited to conduct SYKL lessons attended a four-day course to learn how to apply SYKL peer tutoring techniques, which touch upon social, organizational, and subject matter-related perspectives. Following students are specifically taught how to help each other, and engage in academic conversations when working in pairs. SYKL is specific instruction in how students can become better at helping each other and engaging in academic discussions when working in pairs. Students are assigned one of two positions, either as a tutor or a tutee. To fulfill the role of the tutor, the student receives Scaffold Cards and academic Hints for task completion. The Scaffold Cards remind students to, for example, listen, acknowledge tentative answers, and identify connections. Hints are specific ideas for task completion developed by professionals with the assignment in mind. Based on 15 video-recorded, peer-to-peer conversations, the analysis explores what characterizes the various participation strategies of students who play the role of tutor.

FINDINGS. The analysis identified four typical strategies: ‘Let’s bond,’ ‘I’ll wait for you,’ ‘Think carefully,’ and ‘Let’s go.’ The study highlights that these strategies are all potentially conducive to inclusion. The current research supports earlier studies indicating that peer relationships significantly contribute to learning and active participation in mathematics classes.

KEY MESSAGE. Teachers can work simultaneously with the social and academic skills of students. The SYKL approach promotes synchronous development of their social and academic skills.


Points of Interest

  • New Danish teaching program in math and science is designed to support student well-being and collaboration in fourth grade.
  • Students help each other through peer tutoring.
  • Four tutoring strategies typically occur: ‘Let’s bond,’ ‘I’ll wait for you,’ ‘Think carefully,’ and ‘Let’s go.’
  • Teacher awareness of these strategies allows them to spot inclusion and exclusion processes to better assist students in helping each other.

Author Biography

Stine Thygesen, Department of School and Learning, University College Copenhagen

Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of School and Learning, University College Copenhagen


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