What is Peer Instruction?
Peer Instruction is a simple way to make lectures more interactive and engaging. It works in the following way. After lecturing on a topic for 15-20 minutes, the lecturer stops and asks a multiple-choice format 'quiz question' that tests students' understanding of the topic under discussion. These questions are often designed to test common misunderstandings of the topic. All the students in the class then 'vote' on the answer to the question. This can be done in a number of different ways; using an electronic response system ('clickers'), flash cards, or simply by show of hands.
If most students have the right answer, the lecturer can confirm it and move on. If most have the wrong answer, the lecturer can explain the topic again and then try again with the same (or a different) question.
If there is a mixture of answers, students are given a few minutes to discuss the question with their neighbours and try to persuade them that their answer is correct. The whole class then gets to vote a second time. Typically, more students give the correct answer the second time around; students with the right answer usually convince others of it. The lecturer can then confirm the answer and move on, either to another question, or to the next topic in the lecture.