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Is Tutoring What We Need to Slow the Education Covid Slide?

Updated: May 19, 2021

The short answer is YES! The “how to” is a bit more complicated.

Tutoring is one of the oldest forms of education. Research shows that, when done right, it’s also one of the most effective in improving student achievement. It has historically been reserved for the wealthy elite and is often cost-prohibitive for low income and at risk students.

Tutoring initiatives, whether in-person or virtual, in addressing the academic issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic remains untested. But experts say making tutors available to more kids – especially those least able to afford them – could be vital to combating the huge learning losses we are seeing.

Help is Needed Now

Frequent, one-to-one or small-group tutoring – which experts suggest is far more effective than other formats – is expensive and requires so many other resources like qualified educators, space, and computer access for those learning virtually. However we must be innovative to offer tutoring options to those in need. The tutoring doesn’t need to be airtight for it to pay dividends, experts say; it doesn’t need a perfect structure or even a certified teacher. The need for tutoring outweighs having something perfect that is rolled out.

The right tutoring approach, should meet kids where they are. If children meet with a tutor who walks them through the content for an hour a day – or even every other day – they’re bound to develop the tools needed to understand the classroom instruction. The best program should also engage students in more content, enabling them to absorb more information than they would otherwise. Analysis suggests that intensive tutoring is generally more effective than other types of interventions at boosting student achievement.

A Time for Innovation

Many people want to tutor and not just teachers in schools. Students can benefit from tutoring sessions offered by professionals, college students and

even subject matter experts. A tutor’s most immediate impact may be the role as a liaison and friend.

A tutor is someone who hears and listens to their students and is empathetic. The idea that you have somebody who is working with you, (helping you) to succeed at something that you’re very embarrassed about that supports you, knows you and is invested in you can be really transformative for kids.

Kids are schooling virtually and can be tutored virtually as well. Children, especially at risk youth, need someone in their corner that they can connect with. We must innovate, we must provide the help to struggling children now. Technology can and must be used as a lifeline to make sure we do not fail our youth.

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