Sunday, October 28, 2012

The fruit of peer learning

This is the opening of a performance of the brass band of my daughter's high school. They played 5 tunes in total at their school festival yesterday. It was well-practiced and performed. I truly impressed by the entertaining and fantastic performance on the stage and also the fantastic audience.

According to my daughter, one of the members of the band (a trombone player), they usually practice without coaches or instructors. Except some special occasions such as a big competition, older students  instruct younger ones  how to play from ABC. This might have been quite common for high school club activities in Japan. To me, this common practice shows the power of peer learning. Especially for teenagers who tend to be as independent as possible from their parents, peers become more crucial players for their lives if not everything. While the words from parents irritate them, the words from peers influence them in a great deal. The influence could be either positive or negative. What teachers and parents can do is to facilitate a healthy and safe environment for teens to be thrived in the field they are intrigued with. With faith and support in their potential to learn something on their own from adults, they would be able to achieve something, driven by intrinsic motivation, the seed of self-efficacy and discipline with which they would overcome the setbacks and pursue their goals.

After the long and hard practice, my daughter collapsed on her bed at around 8 pm last night. But she got up before 6 am and went for the morning practice again. The determination won't be made without positive and powerful influence from her peers. I hope they enjoy the fruit of their own learning.

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