Arthur Marshall and Peer-to-Peer Training

Arthur Marshall was an astonishing man. At lunch today, I was told about his novel approach to training pilots, and I wonder what sort of place it might have in a classroom.

“Marshall started giving flying lessons after completing only 70 hours himself, and he was made a master instructor by the Guild of Air Pilots in 1931. From his experience he became convinced that selected ab initio pupils would make the best flying instructors, in contrast to the accepted RAF practice that only the more experienced pilots could perform this role. Operating on this principle, Marshall’s flying training methods resulted in the company’s elementary flying training schools being the most productive in the country. His scheme was eventually adopted across the RAF, for which the Marshall flying schools trained more than 20,000 pilots and instructors during the Second World War.”


Could that sort of approach work in the classroom? For instance, a lesson a week where a child from the year above teaches a child from the year below? Maybe have other kids as homework mentors? Tricky, I suppose, for practical reasons but there’s some real potential for modelling it digitally via the web 2.0 gamut …

  • Dan

    Depends a lot on the context. I’ve just found out that there is a scheme run in our faculty that does just this. They’re rolling it out across the university and I’m keen to adopt it in my course/modules. They call it Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) and they pay year +1 students to be classroom assistants. Fits in very well with all kinds of educational thinking.

  • Sounds interesting. Will definitely have a look at PAL … be good to hear how it works out in your course Dan