What a teacher knows about tutoring and how students can get the most from it.
When I was a classroom teacher, I, like many others, picked up tutoring gigs on the side. What I loved about this work was that I could give kids the individualized support they needed and completely customize the lesson based on their needs and interests.
When I think back to those days, I always remember Brad. Brad was clever. Funny. Kind. But Brad needed encouragement to take on difficult topics. He had the capacity, but not the confidence. I’m guessing you’ve taught your share of Brads.
Do you know what worked with Brad? Holding some of our tutoring sessions at the batting cage.
Leaving the classroom behind helped Brad open up to me and also taught me what made him tick. Those sessions weren’t just about teaching content; they also addressed the social and emotional aspects of Brad’s education. While I’m pretty sure I wasn’t as effective as Mr. Miagi from The Karate Kid, I learned a lot about how a strong student-teacher relationship can impact learning.
Finding What Works
While the time spent with Brad occurred long before terms like “differentiation” and “acceleration” were common buzzwords in education, this was basically what I was doing with him. Once I got to know what motivated Brad, and also what overwhelmed him, I was able to cater to his specific needs and help him close skill gaps in a targeted and individualized way. And it worked.
The challenge was how to employ this model in a classroom with 30 students.
The short answer was that it couldn’t be done. At least not on a wide scale. Sure, I could try to differentiate instruction for 30 students, get to know both their academic skills and social and emotional needs, and assign work accordingly. I could try to connect personally with all of them and serve not only as their educator but also as their coach and advocate. And I did my best to do this. But, as every classroom teacher knows, no student ever got my undivided attention.
Expanded Online Math Tutoring Services
My story about Brad is anecdotal, of course, but the benefits of high-quality tutoring are supported by a hefty body of research. That’s why we’ve seen such incredible student success with MATHia, our 1-on-1 math tutoring software program driven by Cognitive Tutor®, an A.I. technology that we launched over twenty years ago and continue to refine.
Because tutoring is such a productive way to teach students skills and support them socially and emotionally, we’re thrilled to be expanding our online tutoring services. Certified math teachers personally connect with students with the help of MATHia to target the skills they need to work on most. We’re excited that even more students can get individualized attention with knowledgeable and compassionate math tutors, (even if it’s over Zoom and not at the batting cages).
How It's Going
So, how’s it going so far? In a word, AWESOME.
Recently, I watched a recording of an online tutoring session with a student from Prince George's County, Maryland, where our tutoring services over just one summer helped improve assessment scores for 73% of students.
Before diving into the content, the tutor opened the session by connecting with both the student and the student's mom and reflecting on the work the student had done in the previous math tutoring session. My guess from viewing the video was that the student was pretty shy and didn’t speak much in school, and it was obvious that the student needed more of this one-on-one support. Just minutes into the session, the student was relaxed, smiling, and...doing math!
Watching this session confirmed everything I already knew about the efficacy of tutoring and made me excited that we will be offering these services to more students across the country.
Teaming Up with SAGA
As an added bonus, MATHia, the software we use in our online tutoring services, was recently recognized by SAGA Education, industry leaders in the field of high-dosage tutoring services, as the top adaptive math platform based on criteria such as ease of use, support offered, and students' sense of belonging. Impressed by MATHia rising to the top, SAGA reached out to us, and we are excited to now be partnered with them to improve how human-guided tutoring can work hand-in-hand with online technologies to accelerate learning outcomes.
The Road Ahead
We’re just getting started. In the future, we will launch an even more wide-scale tutoring program that leverages AI, technology, and teacher expertise because all students deserve the customized, one-on-one coaching that only tutoring can provide today. So, stay tuned for more innovations!
Peter is an educator with over 20 years of strategy, education and product development experience. He led the redesign of a university, built new educational programs, designed content and taught middle school. At Carnegie Learning, Peter shapes our organizational and product strategy and ensures that we continue to develop leading-edge products and services that help all students learn.Explore more related to this author