Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Instr and Curr Leadership


Instruction and Curriculum

Committee Chair

Jeffrey Byford

Committee Member

Duane Giannangelo

Committee Member

Deborah Lowther

Committee Member

Allen Seed


The purpose of the study was to explore middle school teachers' perceptions of peer tutoring and its utilization within multi-ability classrooms. The primary questions addressed in this study were focused on perceptions of teachers within multi-ability classrooms and the effects of teaching in a multi-ability classroom on the teachers' lesson plans, teaching styles, and the utilization of peer tutoring. The participants i nthis study included 10 middle school teachers from a suburban public school and 9 middle school teachers from a suburban private school. A phenomenological study was conducted to gather information related to the following research questions: (1) What are the perceptions of middle school teachers in regards to how multi-ability classrooms modify the preparation? (2) What are the perceptions of middle school teachers regarding peer tutoring and its implementation in the classroom? (3) What are the perceptions of middle school teachers with regard to peer tutoring as an effective teaching strategy in the multi-ability classroom? and (4) What are the perceptions of middle school teachers regarding peer tutoring and its effect on community in the classroom? Three themes emerged from the data collected from public and private school teachers: (1) Educators find that multi-ability classrooms require differentiated instruction to be a successful teaching strategy among lower level students. (2) Peer tutoring was perceived as a beneficial teaching strategy for lower achieving students as (Lower achieving students were classified as those "below present grade level" regardless of the cause of the deficiency.) (3) Students respond to peer tutoring in a more positive manner than teacher instruction because of possible peer intimidation by teachers in the classroom. Study results also revealed one theme that was exclusive to the public middle school teachers: community in the classroom. Community in the classroom, which seemedto create a "family" atmosphere, is perceived as an essential element for the success of peer tutoring. While both groups of teachers expressed the importance of community, participants from public schools felt that the atmosphere created a "family" feeling, which is what made the idea of community important regarding to peer tutoring. The characteristics of a "family-type" community included security and belonging for all members of the community.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.