Engaging Students Through Peer Instruction

Peer Instruction is one method being applied by faculty that are using clickers to engage their students. Peer Instruction was created by Eric Mazur a Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Harvard University.
The Peer Instruction technique is designed to help make lectures more interactive and to motivate students to engage with concepts being presented to them.
This method, besides having the advantage of engaging students and making the lecture more interesting to them, is very valuable in giving the instructor significant feedback about the students’ level of comprehension of the materials being presented.

Basic Steps of Peer Instruction:

1. When employing this method, the instructor presents students with a qualitative (usually multiple choice) question that is formulated to engage students’ comprehension of the fundamental concepts being presented in lecture.

2. The students consider the problem on their own and contribute their answers/responses, and are then able to quickly see how their answers/responses compare to the rest of the class’s responses.

3. Students are then encouraged to discuss the issue with their neighbors for two minutes and then re-polled again.

4. Through active discussion, the issues brought up in the question can be resolved with debate and then clarified by the instructor.

Helpful Resources:

TLP’s Clicker Resource Page
: http://www.csuchico.edu/tlp/teaching/clickers/?
Turning Technologies Online Tutorials: http://www.turningtechnologies.com/studentresponsesystems/trainingevents/onlinetutorials/?
Peer Instruction: http://mazur-www.harvard.edu/research/detailspage.php?rowid=8?
More Publications by Eric Mazur: http://mazur-www.harvard.edu/publications.php?function=search?

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