Tutoring : Creating Trusting Relationships Between Students and Teachers
It has been a few years since the ACCESS Adult General Education (AGE) and Vocational (VT) centres participated in a training session on Check & Connect. Check & Connect is an initiative developed by the University of Minnesota that helps keep students on track towards graduation. The two days of training were offered to both ACCESS teachers and professionals.
After attending the training session, teams of ACCESS resource teachers, professionals, and administrators developed their own tutoring program (inspired by University of Minnesota’s Check & Connect) that was tailored to the context of each ACCESS AGE and VT center
Here is an overview of the tutoring approach that is now used with adult students at ACCESS West:
At ACCESS West, there is continuous enrollment of new adult students each month in the Bricklaying and Masonry program. Adult students learn at their own pace in an individualized setting. While some adult students flourish in this model, other adult students encounter personal challenges (lateness, absenteeism, drug addiction, etc.) which hinder teacher follow-up and make it more difficult for these adult students to achieve success.
To better support adult students in both their personal and professional goals, the ACCESS center teams set up a tutoring program to target academic goals while simultaneously supporting other, non-academic areas of the adult life.
In the tutoring program, weekly reoccurring meetings are setup for adult students. These weekly meetings help adult students track information that lead to success such as hours spent in class, absences, a calendar of upcoming modules, evaluations, and so on.
Weekly meetings also encourage ongoing discussions between the teacher and the adult student, which helps strengthen the bond between the two. The teacher will not only work with the adult student to develop motivational strategies but will also intervene with academic and personal difficulties, when they arise. The ultimate goal of the tutoring program (link required) is to help adult students succeed by taking responsibility for their own learning and eventually becoming an independent learner.
In addition to helping adult students visualize their progress and better manage their personal lives outside of school, these one-on-one meetings help facilitate referrals for additional support. Additional support can be accessed from within the ACCESS center or linked directly to external community organizations when necessary. In some cases, the tutoring program has helped guide students towards social programs, food banks, or help with transportation issues.
By taking into account both the internal and external factors that can affect adult students, the ACCESS tutoring program allows adult students to grow both academically and personally. Tutoring also allows teachers to play a more important and direct role in the success of each adult student.
Often, adults just need to talk, to be listened to and above all, to be heard. The variety of needs at ACCESS are as wide as the different eye colors of the adult students! One thing is for certain, the tutoring program at ACCESS is a win for the teachers, professionals and adult students. The tutoring program enables a better understanding of the needs of ACCESS clientele and bridges the gap between the challenges faced by the adult learners and the demands of education and the labor market.
Over time, the documents and tools developed are adjusted by the ACCESS center team on an annual basis. There is no doubt that the time taken to support the adult learners individually makes a real difference for students, especially the most vulnerable ones.
To learn more about the tutoring approach, watch this video clip.
If you are interested to develop this approach with your teachers, the SÉC Équipe-choc offers free training on tutoring program and local support when you are ready to implement it. Consult our website for more information. Please don’t hesitate to reach out for any further information you may need.
Mariève Gagné – Resource Teacher at Access West