Phelps A-Z: Model 8

Tutorship

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Communicating defined roles and responsibilities is crucial to the success of a strong tutorship program.

Phelps Helps uses two main themes for outlining these roles, based on two desired outcomes for the organization’s tutorship program: to guide and support, and to encourage. Specific roles within Phelps’ tutorship program include focusing on homework, allowing students to experiment with learning materials and assisting with the development of essential skills, among others.

How to develop a strong tutorship program

Phelps Helps strives to help community youth develop essential skills for living an autonomous life. It’s therefore no surprise that tutoring is a major pillar of the organization’s programming. The value of tutors’ contributions to community youth is immeasurable. Not typically experts in a singular field but experienced in many areas of education, tutors at Phelps Helps guide, support and encourage students across all of their studies to build a strong work ethic and productive study habits.

 

Developing a strong tutorship program can be an arduous task. Similar to recruiting and retaining volunteers, prospective tutors must be properly interviewed and vetted to ascertain their fitness for the organization. After years of experience, Phelps Helps has created a force of tutors aligned in their attitudes to facilitate educational assistance for community youth. With that said, communicating defined roles and responsibilities is crucial to the success of a strong tutorship program.

Attitudes Phelps Helps expects from tutors

Before establishing different roles and responsibilities for tutors, Phelps Helps has defined four specific attitudes it expects from all participants in its tutorship program:
 

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A constructive approach to education

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A positive outlook on what students are learning in school

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A growth mindset that emphasizes perseverance and work ethic

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A desire to promote positive relationships between students, their teachers and their school

Roles and responsibilities within Phelps Helps’ tutorship program

In addition to general attitude and outlook, defining specific roles and responsibilities for tutors helps set expectations and attract the right program participants. Phelps Helps uses two main themes for outlining these roles, based on two desired outcomes for the organization’s tutorship program: to guide and support, and to encourage. Specific roles within Phelps’ tutorship program include focusing on homework, allowing students to experiment with learning materials and assisting with the development of essential skills, among others.

1

Focus on homework

Tutors at Phelps Helps are advised to allocate adequate time for tasks prescribed by the student’s school. Open communication is greatly encouraged, as is rewarding achievement and overcoming challenges.

2

Allow for experimentation

With regards to completing homework and facilitating learning, tutors should refrain from giving out answers to schoolwork. Instead, tutors are recommended to use prompts, leading questions and feedback (among other tactics) to promote active problem solving amongst students.

3

Help develop essential skills

Assisting with the development of essential skills that prepare students for the workforce is a principal tenet of Phelps Helps’ mission and vision. The organization’s tutorship program is where much of that work takes place. Tutors are expected to pay attention to students’ organization, time management and planning skills in addition to their preparedness for school. The importance of essential skills and the validity of subjects learned in school should also be emphasized.

4

Respect students’ pace and personality

Creating a positive, engaging educational experience is crucial to the success of any tutorship program. Tutors at Phelps Helps are expected to build trust and foster mutual respect with students in order to promote and ensure positive learning outcomes.

5

Model open communication

Transparent and open communication is equally crucial to successful tutorship as well as facilitating positive learning experiences. Phelps Helps tutors are instructed to express themselves clearly and honestly, to speak positively about school and homework and to offer clarity about their role as a tutor as required.

Access more tips for developing a strong tutorship program

Phelps Helps firmly believes in the power and benefit of sharing knowledge to positively impact the operations of like-minded organizations. For more tips and tricks for developing a strong tutorship program for community youth— including more examples of roles and responsibilities for tutors—download our Phelps A to Z Monograph!