What is it?
Peer Mediated Intervention (peer training) is where peers e.g. classmates, are taught how to support student learning. This can include:
- the peer modelling appropriate behaviours or skills, e.g. initiating a social interaction.
- prompting the student e.g. 'What do you do next?', 'What materials do you need?', 'Where are they?'
- reinforcing appropriate behaviours e.g. 'That was a great question you asked about the solar system. It really helped me.'
Students sometimes find it easier to learn strategies from their peers.
How do I use it?
Steps in peer mediated interventions include:
- Determine the target skill or behaviour to be taught.
Select the peers to participate.
- For example 'During lunch time, Anna will take turns during a small group game.'
- This must be a specific, observable skill. General descriptions like 'be involved in groups' are not specific enough.
Training the peer.
- The number of peers can vary from one peer to a small group (4-6). Avoid using the whole class as peer trainers as this can stigmatise the student.
- Peers should be able to demonstrate the skills to be taught, be willing to participate, attend school regularly, and be liked by the student.
Implementing in the classroom/school setting.
- Conduct sessions in a quiet distraction free area.
- Explain how we can learn from each other. Provide examples from the classroom to support this point e.g. 'during show and tell Tom taught us about turtles.'
- Explain to the peer they are going to help the student learn a skill e.g. how to go up to a classmate and start a conversation.
- Teach the peer. This can include using scripts, teacher modelling, visual aids, reinforcement, verbal explanation.
- Role play where the peer and teacher act out a situation.
- Provide the peer with opportunities to practice until he/she feels confidant to implement the strategy.
- Identify opportunities for the peer training to take place each day e.g. break time, free class time.
- Provide the peer time to implement the strategy e.g. 15 minutes.
Evaluate progress. As the student begins to demonstrate the learning the peer mediated intervention can be reduced.
- Observe the peer implementing the strategy.
- Provide feedback to the peer. Ask the peer
- What went well? Provide Behaviour specific praise.
- What was difficult? Discuss reasons why this may have been difficult.
- What could you do differently, next time? Discuss with the peer possible options.
Peer mediated interventions can be used with the following age groups.
Where can I learn more?
- AFIRM provides modules on evidence-based practices. You can complete the certificate pathway which includes an assessment of learning, or the non-certificate pathway. The modules are free.
- Autism Internet Modules provide a way of learning online. You need to set up an account to access the modules. The modules are free. Peer mediated intervention is one of the intervention strategies available as a module.