As we near the end of COVID-19, we must assist our children in recovering from the pandemic's devastating effects. There are many approaches to this, but one of the most effective is to provide one-on-one tutoring for students who require it when they return to the classroom.
TUTORING IS NOT JUST A GOOD IDEA—IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE, EVEN FOR CHILDREN IN EARLY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL.
Tutoring isn't simply a wonderful concept; it makes a difference, especially for children in the early elementary grades. Tutoring is the most efficient technique to bring students back on track when they have fallen behind, according to research. That is why Toronto should establish a statewide tutoring corps to help difficult students in kindergarten through third grade study faster. The programme should be based on proven tutoring methods, as the specific technique can make a significant difference in effectiveness.
The losses of the previous year are all too familiar to parents. Many parents are concerned that their children will miss important concepts, spend days looking at the screen, or have difficulty logging on. COVID has been challenging for all children, but it has been particularly difficult for those who were already vulnerable, such as pupils of colour and those from low-income households. According to McKinsey & Company, students in the United States "may lose five to nine months of learning" by the conclusion of current school year, with "[s]tudents of colour potentially six to twelve months behind, compared to four to eight months for white students."
IF WE DO NOT ACT NOW, THESE GAPS—WHICH WILL ADD TO THE TROUBLING INEQUALITIES THAT EXISTED BEFORE THE PANDEMIC—ARE LIKELY TO EXPAND EVEN MORE.
If we don't act now, these discrepancies will certainly widen even further, adding to the already grave imbalances that existed before the outbreak.
We must make it simple for children and their families to receive additional assistance when they require it. Fortunately, there is a solution that has been proved to dramatically increase children's academic achievement, particularly in the early grades, based on good evidence: high-quality, one-on-one tutoring. MIT researchers reported that “[in] a field where there is little consensus over what works, tutoring presents a promising strategy to overcome academic achievement gaps and help all students succeed in school,” and Johns Hopkins experts have written extensively about what a game changer tutoring can be.
WORKING TUTORING PROGRAMS OF HIGH QUALITY
While many educational practises are based on speculation and hope, tutoring is based on scientific evidence of what works to improve student progress. I know this because I've spent the last two decades examining studies in education and other policy areas, then working with governments at the federal, state, and local levels to implement proven-effective initiatives. This is the strategy we must employ in Toronto; the stakes are just too high to take any other way.
Here's how it may operate in Toronto, where I live: The General Assembly just passed a new education blueprint that includes funding for extra learning, such as tutoring. However, not all tutoring methods are beneficial. Tutoring that is delivered infrequently—for example, once or twice a week rather than daily—or by tutors who lack proper training or guidance tends to have relatively minor impact. Additionally, tutoring has a greater impact on young children in the early grades than it does on older kids. As a result, we must ensure that the new funds are used to support high-quality tutoring programmes that have been proven to work, such as those that focus primarily on struggling students in the early grades, employ well-trained tutors and one-on-one instruction, and offer tutoring sessions on a regular, even daily basis.
THE BEST WAY TO DO THIS ON A LARGE SCALE WOULD BE TO ENLIST PEOPLE OF ALL AGE RANGES FROM THE COMMUNITY AS TUTORS.
Enlisting people of all ages from the community to act as tutors would be the greatest approach to accomplish this on a large scale. Tutors would be recruited, trained, and matched with students, and tutors would be paid a small stipend. I'm sure there are grandmothers and grandfathers out there who would be happy to spend a few hours each week teaching a child learn to read or perform math. There are some fresh college grads who want to help others. And there are plenty of adults willing to share their enthusiasm for learning so that the pandemic does not prevent pupils from accomplishing their goals.
My mother worked as a special education teacher in public schools, where she taught remedial reading. She died a few years ago, but I'm sure she'd be the first to volunteer as a tutor. There are people in Toronto and across the country that have the same passion for children and service. In the aftermath of COVID-19, we should all commit to assisting children. Tutoring is a tried and true method for accomplishing this.
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