Member Page
Table of Contents
Printable View

Reciprocal Learning and Teaching

In the Reciprocal Learning Strategy, the emphasis is on collaborative rather than independent learning. Students are taught to help one another. In this strategy, students work together as peer partners, each functioning in turn as the "doer" and the "guide" in completing the task. Peer feedback doesn't mean students "grade" each other or score papers. Instead the goal is for students to clarify for each other what is correct or incorrect.

The Reciprocal Teaching Strategy is a dialogue between teachers and students.

Reciprocal Teaching is an instructional activity that takes place as a dialogue between teachers and students regarding segments of the text. In this activity, the teacher and the students take turns assuming the role of teacher in leading the dialogue. This technique can be used in all subject areas for content reading and was originally designed to teach poor readers to use reading strategies employed by good readers to enhance reading comprehension. Students interact with the text to construct meaning. Readers utilize prior knowledge and experiences, information presented in the text, and their stance taken in relation to the text to derive their interpretations. Reciprocal Teaching helps poor readers develop these skills through the use of predicting, clarifying, questioning, and summarizing.

Some education researchers believe providing feedback is the most powerful thing that a classroom teachers can do to enhance student achievement. Peer feedback is underused, yet is highly effective and flexible.

Reciprocal Teaching

Palincsar (1986) describes the concept of reciprocal teaching as an instructional activity that takes place in the form of a dialogue between teachers and students regarding segments of text. The dialogue is structured by the use of four strategies:

  1. summarizing
  2. question generating
  3. clarifying
  4. predicting
The teacher and students take turns assuming the role of teacher in leading this dialogue.

Research Base: For the past five years, Palincsar and Brown (1985) have conducted a series of studies to determine the effectiveness of reciprocal teaching. The effectiveness was evaluated by having the students read passages about 450 to 500 words in length and answer 10 comprehension questions from recall. The students completed five of these passages before reciprocal teaching instruction began and one during each day of instruction. Performance on these assessment passages indicated that all but one of the experimental students achieved criterion performance, which we identified as 70 percent accuracy for four out of five consecutive days. These results were in contrast to the group of control students, none of whom achieved criterion performance. Furthermore, teachers observed fewer behavior problems in their reciprocal teaching groups than in their control groups." (pp. 19-20)