The Speaking Corner: The power of near peer models

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In my third post now, I guess you can imagine what this blog is about. Yes, our third podcast is out now. Our series, ‘The Speaking Corner’, is a podcast series all about research on developing speaking for language teachers and language learners. Our first two podcasts on ‘Giving feedback on speaking’, featuring Philip Kerr, and ‘Giving time to speaking’, featuring Philip Kerr and Ceri Jones, are already out so catch up on them if you missed them.

Our third podcast, entitled ‘The power of near peer models’ which features Ceri Jones, is all about motivation and near peer role models. If this is a new concept to you, essentially the idea is that a near peer role model is a person who represents a more realistic, tangible and accessible goal for you. If you want to improve in English, there is a lot of evidence to suggest that aiming to be ‘native-like’ is not all that helpful. Rather, we see non-native speakers not as approximations of native speakers but users and owners of the language in their own right. With this in mind, we have found that using near peer models is more effective to motivate and scaffold learning and we produced a compressive paper on the topic if you would like more information. With Ceri, we discuss practical examples of where the near peer has worked, how we can use it and what we need to do to bring it into the culture of our classrooms.

Given the known challenges learners face when speaking and developing their speaking skills in English, we discuss how near peers can help learners become better speakers and users of English and in much the same way as our previous podcasts, we aim to carry forward the conversation from our papers to give guidance on using this research to inform practice.

Listen to the podcast below and let us know what you think:

Keep an eye out for our upcoming episodes in the series:

  • ‘Mobile learning in and out of the classroom’, featuring Graham Skerritt
  • ‘Teacher development matters’, featuring Craig Thaine

Was this useful? Can you see a way to use it in your practice? Let us know, we’d love to hear what you think!  Subscribe to The Speaking Corner wherever you get your podcasts from (Google PodcastsSpotify, iTunes). And keep an eye out here on the blog for the release of episode 4!