Peer Coaching: Interpersonal Position for Analogies
by Chase Young

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The interpersonal model for teaching is an extremely important and useful tool in the teacher’s toolbox. According to Dr. Johnson (Canter & Winberry, 2001), to create autonomous and strong individuals, students must learn through cooperation. The thinking goal of the interpersonal position is for students make connections between the content and their lives. The environment can be described as a community of learners making many connections through interaction and reflection. Students are motivated with the drive to make new connections. The principles that provide the foundation for this position are conversation, accountability, roles, and examination of the process. Outcomes include effective communication, caring relationships, refined cooperative skills, and a strong ability to work with others (Silver, Hanson, Strong, & Swartz, 2003).

Peer coaching is an example of reciprocal learning, and is a good example of interpersonal teaching. The strategy is performed in three phases. The first phase prepares the students for their partnerships. For the purposes of the example, analogies will be reviewed. Analogies were chosen because of their prevalence on standardized tests. After the review, each of the roles and relationships will be discussed and modeled. The role of the coach will encourage the learner to think aloud, listen to these audible thoughts, give feedback on their thoughts while giving clues where necessary, and provide motivation through praise and encouragement. The other piece of the cooperative puzzle, the learner, will be reinforced as the partner in charge of completing the task, thinking aloud, requesting feedback from the coach, and finally reciprocating feedback to the coach (Silver, Hanson, Strong, & Swartz, 2003). The groups will be done according to students’ heights. Once the students are grouped, a model of good helping and listening skills will be established (Canter & Winberry, 2001).

Phase two of the peer coaching strategy requires students to work through parallel design to complete a task as a learner, and switching roles to become a thinking coach. The parallel design will have blank analogies such as ‘Desk is to furniture as triangle is to:_________.’  The peer coach’s paper will have the answer and hints to establish a working knowledge in order to support the learner. The hints will mostly include highlights of existing information such as ‘What is a desk? What is furniture? How are they the same? What has the same relationship to a triangle?’ The students will work in their partners to take turns learning and coaching to develop much needed social skills and develop mastery of the content. The teacher should be roving and available. However, it is very important to remember the coaches should be relaying answers to the learners; it will help keep the trust from the learner (Canter & Winberry, 2001).

The last phase elicits reflection. The students evaluate what when well within their roles, and how medications might be made in the future. Furthermore, students will evaluate their learning of the content. As students move through each of the three phases, they develop valuable learning skills that will be extremely applicable in life, and it successful integrates social skills and content into the curriculum without spending time teaching them in isolation (Margalit, 1995).

Using peer coaching to teach analogies may be the most effective and motivating way to teach them. Analogies often require immediate feedback, and it is not always possible in a large classroom. Also, simple guiding questions are usually the ticket for understanding what goes in the blank. Both feedback and guidance can be provided immediately through the peer coaching strategy. The interpersonal strategies are affectively effective, and have a permanent placement within the classroom. To withhold such strategies, would be a disservice to students all over the world (Canter & Winberry, 2001).


Margalit, M. (1995). Social Skills Learning for Students with Disabilities or Behavioral Disorders. Educational Phychology. Vol 15, Issue 4, p243.

Canter, L., & Winberry, K. (Directors). (2001). Program 11: The Interpersonal Model [Motion picture]. In C. Arnold (Producer), Instructional Models and Strategies. Los Angeles: Laureate Education, Inc.

Canter, L., & Winberry, K. (Directors). (2001). Program 12: Peer Practice/Reciprocal Learning Strategy [Motion picture]. In C. Arnold (Producer), Instructional Models and Strategies. Los Angeles: Laureate Education, Inc.

Silver, H. F., Hanson, J. R., Strong, R. W., & Schwartz, P. B. (2003). Teaching styles & strategies. Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ: The Thoughtful Education Press

© 2011 Chase J. Young. All rights reserved.