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What is the role of the traditional tutor? This question was raised during a luncheon that I attended recently with other school leaders looking for traditional as well as non-traditional ways to support the student learner.
This role of the traditional tutor has become central to the question of sustainability in many schools primarily because of school budgets. Schools are looking for more cost-effective ways to provide academic support for students (especially for families unable to afford the one-to-one instruction that comes with a traditional tutor). Therefore when looking at non-traditional methods of tutoring, free web-based programs (like Khan Academy) make it easier to support students with minimum to no cost for the school or parents. What is even more appealing to many schools is the ability to utilize a growing number of apps that are subject-specific (so if a student needs support with multiplication there is an app for that). The use of apps as a support tool is also appealing because “mobile and web applications offer [more] personalized, low-cost learning 24/7” says Kristen Winkler of EDUKWEST. When using apps, parents and schools no longer have to “deal with schedules or cancellations” giving students better control over their learning. While I’d like you to consider non-traditional ways to support the student learner, I recognize that any support put into place, by the teacher/tutor, must be based on the individual needs of the student. Therefore, if a student is best served working one-to-one with a teacher then that is the right choice for that student.
Ultimately, I believe it is essential to have more than one method of teaching students. Therefore, as long as we have a variety of learners in our classrooms, I believe we should use every resource to help meet the needs of our students. Check out eSchool News to learn more. tlb