How to incorporate student-led tutoring in your school

Tutoring sessions is one of the overlooked activities in educational centres. There are many guides, guidelines and suggestions on how to carry them out and yet, despite the students being  the center of this activity, they hardly participate actively in their tutoring.

Different studies have shown that family tutoring activities led by teachers focus on problems such as low grades, learning difficulties or a lack of motivation. They rarely include information about the improvements or accomplishments that a student has achieved.

In addition, we usually find discrepancies between what students tell their families and what the teacher explains. This results in parents’ confusion about the reality of the situation.

A new tutoring model

Many schools in the United States are testing a new model called student-led tutoring, in which the students themselves communicate what they are studying, what they have learned, their strengths, their weaknesses and their desires and interests to their families.

The rationale behind this is that students are responsible for their own learning process and their personal growth. Therefore, they have to keep their own self-evaluation record and present it to their families. Student-led tutoring models may vary, but they all share the same goal: creating open, true and positive communication in which students take charge of every achievement and share their experiences with their teachers and families.

According to schools, thanks to this kind of tutoring, families are more aware of the students’ progress. Moreover, it helps them to understand how to help students at home and to consider their children as responsible and competent individuals. On their end, students also gain a better understanding of their strengths and challenges as well as of the direct relation between their effort, their progress and their results.

How to prepare a student-led tutoring session

In these sessions, teachers have the role of a facilitator and their function is to prepare students in tutorship. You can invite several families at the same time or just one, depending on how accustomed they are to this practice.

When preparing students for these tutoring sessions, teachers can create a self-assessment form that helps students reflect on themselves and serves as a model to structure the conversation. The students will choose work that illustrates their areas of improvement and the projects that they are especially proud of.

To be able to carry out this type of tutorials directed by the students, the following is required: 

1.- Creating a self-assessment form for students.

2.- Training students on tutoring sessions, by teaching them how to fill out the form, how to structure and rehearse their part and how to choose the work to be shown to their families, etc.

3.- Writing a letter to families to explain the purpose of the session and designate the roles that each of the participants will play. In addition, give suggestions on what kind of questions can be asked to students (open questions, free-judgement questions, questions about how families can help them).

4.- Organizing the schedule so that the session runs smoothly.

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