Closing the learning gap created by the pandemic with online tutoring
During a school year disrupted by the health crisis, many students have struggled to keep up with their studies.
But the summer could provide an opportunity for students to catch up, and prevent gaps caused by the pandemic from turning into something bigger.
Research shows that tutoring is one of the best ways to do this. Online tutoring especially could provide fast and effective support for learners and a flexible solution for parents and schools.
Here’s how tutoring could remedy pandemic learning loss and ensure that all students are ready to go back into the classroom in September.
We’ll be taking a look at:
- Why do we need tutoring now?
- Why is tutoring the best solution for addressing learning loss?
- What makes a good tutoring program?
- What are the benefits of online tutoring for students?
- What are the benefits of online tutoring for parents and schools?
1. Why do we need tutoring now?
Learning loss is most commonly associated with the long summer holidays. After being out of school for a few weeks, many students lose some of their academic skills and knowledge come September.
But during the pandemic students may have experienced learning loss during term time as well.
Despite exceptional efforts from teachers and parents, disrupted schedules, switching to online learning, and feeling disconnected from school, all have contributed to an unsettled learning environment.
This is a problem because learning loss on a large scale can have a life-long impact on affected students.
And studies show that students who were already falling behind or disadvantaged in the classroom are the most likely to be affected.
If left unaddressed, pandemic learning loss will make existing gaps even bigger.
This summer provides a crucial opportunity to close gaps caused by learning loss during the school year, and get all students back up to speed before they enter a new grade in September.
2. Why is tutoring the best solution for addressing learning loss?
Studies have shown that tutoring can bring about transformational results in a short amount of time. This makes it more effective than other offerings such as summer school, or extended school days.
The reason for this is the small group setting that tutoring offers, which has three main benefits:
- Tutors can provide targeted teaching as they focus on finding out what individual students know and building from there. This means tutors can adapt the lesson content to the needs of individual students in a way that isn’t possible in a normal classroom.
- Tutors can change the pace of learning to suit their students, making the process efficient and effective. Getting fast results is hugely motivational for students, especially if they have struggled in the classroom before. Feeling a sense of success in their studies builds confidence that they can take back with them into the classroom.
- Tutors and students who study together regularly form strong positive bonds as they get to know each other and overcome challenges together. One-on-one and small-group tutoring is good for students’ social and emotional skills, goal setting, and well-being.
These factors make tutoring an invaluable way to keep students on track for success and remind them how important learning is – even during the holidays.
3. What makes a good tutoring program?
There are a few things that make some tutoring programs more successful than others.
First of all, tutors should be working in small groups of one to four students and the group should meet regularly.
For younger learners, 30 minutes of tutoring every day is ideal. Older students may be better adapted to longer sessions of up to an hour, meeting for up to three hours a week.
The process needs to be this intensive to keep up the momentum and to help students make continuous progress.
This progress also needs to be structured; good tutoring programs use tried-and-tested methods to reach clear goals and are taught by well-trained tutors.
Tutoring programs that follow these criteria are the most likely to make a significant difference in a short period of time.
4. What are the benefits of online tutoring for students?
Unlike some classroom activities which are diminished online, video tutoring is effective as in-person tutoring.
As good tutor groups are so small, students will still reap the benefits of individualized attention and a personalized approach even if they are being tutored online.
On a practical level, online tutoring can also be cost-effective and save students and their families time as they do not have to travel to the tutoring session.
All students need is a computer (or tablet, or even smartphone) and a good Wi-Fi connection.
The past year has pushed many students into getting comfortable with e-learning solutions. At their best, they can provide a seamless transition from the classroom, adapt to suit all students and tutors and provide a targeted solution for specific problems.
Some studies have even suggested that online learning improves retention (especially among older learners) and is more efficient, as students can learn at their own pace.
5. What are the benefits of online tutoring for parents and schools?
In the past year, many remote working parents have faced the challenge of working from home and trying to homeschool their children at the same time.
Clearly, this is a huge challenge. Not only are parents being asked to do two challenging tasks simultaneously, but teaching is a profession that parents are not been trained to do.
This is where online tutoring can provide a real solution for parents, many of whom will also have to work over the summer months.
Introducing a tutor to a child’s routine means that a professional will make sure they are learning what they need to for a specific part of the day.
The targeted nature of tutoring means that a tutor could take over teaching a subject, or a particular skill that a student is struggling with. Reading and math have proven to be particularly successful.
Having short but regular tutoring sessions means students will make quick progress, but won’t feel overwhelmed, or overworked – especially during the summer.
This will help ease the transition back to school in September, keeping kids connected to their studies and making sure that all students return to school on an even footing.
Redressing the balance with online tutoring
In an academic year that has been full of big changes, students, their families and schools have all faced challenges.
But there are real solutions to the difficulties many students are facing. When it comes to learning loss, tutoring is a proven way to address the problem.
And the comfort that many students now have with online learning makes online tutoring a more accessible service than ever.
For many students, the summer vacation is just beginning and bringing with it all sorts of possibilities.
Tutoring shows that one possibility is that all students could go back to school ready and prepared for the new school year come September.
Learn how your school can implement online tutoring at large today.
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