Buddy System

Description
The buddy system involves linking students for peer/cross-age support through a number of curriculum or co-curricular activities. It may be established for one student or an entire class/school of students. The buddy system provides student role models and opportunities for mentoring. The buddy system is used for specific purposes, with specific activities linked to these purposes. It provides for authentic audiences for reading, writing, listening, and speaking activities. Elementary and secondary students can connect within a class or across classes, and with students in other schools, colleges, universities, and countries (via telecommunications).

Method
The teacher:
  • identifies the purposes and selection of student buddies;
  • trains older buddies in ways to facilitate the learning exchange;
  • collaborates with students to plan activities;
  • establishes clear guidelines and time lines for buddy activities;
  • monitors the buddy learning experiences.

Considerations
The buddy system:
  • requires team-building or trust-building activities;
  • requires that learning take place for all students in a buddy relationship (sometimes older students learn mostly social skills, such as patience and how to build relationships);
  • provides opportunities for students to offer support in ways related to adult-child relationships;
  • requires that students not be locked in to buddy relationships that are not working well.

Illustrations From The Mathematics Classroom

Elementary
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Secondary
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