|Tutoring (IAE - IBE - UNESCO, 36 p.)|
Monitor, give feedback and intervene to maximize effectiveness.
Reviews of research on tutoring consistently report effectiveness (Cohen, Kulik & Kulik, 1982; Sharpley & Sharpley, 1981; Topping & Ehly, 1998). However, even in the published literature (with its bias towards positive and statistically significant findings), a minority of tutoring projects do not show effectiveness. Tutoring can indeed be very effective, but that does not mean it is automatically effective everywhere.
To maximize effectiveness, start by using a structured method that has been reported as effective in the research literature. Be very careful and thorough in planning the tutoring, training the tutors and tutees, and providing appropriate materials. Then (equally importantly) monitor the implementation of the tutoring and give feedback and intervene where needed (Topping, 2000b).
· Goals of monitoring. Seek to: detect and solve any problems before they become large; find opportunities to give plentiful praise and show enthusiasm to keep motivation high; ensure the tutoring technique does not show signs of drift; check that pairs are maintaining positive social relationships; be sure that materials used are from an appropriate sequence/level of difficulty; and generally review the complexity and richness of the learning taking place.
· Self-help guide. Make a simple self-help guide of common problems in tutoring, with suggestions about how these might be solved. You will keep adding to this. With packaged techniques, clues about likely problems will be found in the literature.
· Self-referral. Let tutors and tutees know it is usual for many pairs to encounter some temporary difficulty, so this is not the fault of either helper or helped. They should know who to ask if one or both have any difficulty (with a particular problem, the tutoring technique or each other). They could seek help from other pairs before approaching a teacher.
· Self-recording. The pair should record their progress, and a monitoring teacher or tutoring organizer can then check these records or diaries from time to time.
· Discussion. Talk with the tutors and tutees about how things are going, perhaps at planning or de-briefing meetings. You might do this individually or in groups, with tutors and tutees together or separate.
· Direct observation. Carefully observe tutoring as it happens. (Do not assume that even the most intelligent tutor will be aware if they are going wrong.) A checklist of the elements of the tutoring technique will be helpful to structure these observations consistently. You could also ask spare tutors to monitor sometimes, using this checklist. It is possible to use video or audio recording for monitoring, and this can be useful for feedback to individual pairs or the group as a whole, as well as being valuable as a training aid for subsequent projects.
· Further training. If several pairs are having problems, it is probably worth holding another refresher training session.