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CONSIDERING PEER ASSISTED LEARNING METHODS IN NEW ZEALAND’S SPECIAL NEEDS EDUCATION SECTOR

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Author(s): Donna IYER

Journal: Journal of Special Education and Rehabilitation
ISSN 1409-6099

Volume: 12;
Issue: 3-4;
Start page: 91;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: peer assisted learning | special needs | zone of proximal development | inter-subjectivity | New Zealand.

ABSTRACT
With the cuts to the public spending in the education sector extending to even students with special needs, the early childhood education sector and the public school system in New Zealand are under significant financial pressure. Elsewhere in the world, peer assisted learning methods have been identified as cost effective instruments with proven efficacy in improving the educational and social outcomes of children with disabilities. In New Zealand, peer assisted learning methods have been relatively slow on the uptake. The aim of this paper is to suggest peer assisted learning methods that can be potentially considered and utilised by the New Zealand’s early childhood education sector to support students with special needs. Based on a review of the international literature, peer tutoring and cross-age tutoring methods appear viable options. It is observed that peer assisted learning methods can complement conventional teaching methods.
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