Peer group

Peer group education in schools is initiated by the teachers with the aim to subsequently give over the responsibility of the programme to the students and pupils. During the process of the programme the role of the teacher changes from initiator and teacher to facilitator and consultant, in the ideal case, the teacher should eventually become redundant for the succession of the programme.

In methodological terms, this could mean teacherless groups, pairing of students, proctoring (Keller, 1968) and the opening of formal educational settings to a wider public. (Project reference in section 5: The mediation programme in schools of the Jugendbildungswerk Offenbach, Germany)

Definitions’Peer group. Technically a peer group is any collectivity in which the members share some common characteristics, such as age or ethnicity. It most commonly refers to age groups in general, but more specifically to adolescent groups where members are closely bound together by youth culture.

Adolescent peer groups tend to have: (1) a high degree of social solidarity, (2) hierarchical organisation, (3) a code which rejects, or contrasts with, adult values and experience. From an adult perspective, peer groups are often deviant because delinquency is supported by the rewards of group membership.’ (A peer is a member of a peer group.) (Abercrombie, 1988)

‘Peer group education is a method of information transference or role modeling where a particular type of behaviour is promoted or information transferred. The peer educators closely match the target group in some manner; whether it is by age, sexuality, gender, etc.’