A New Way to Learn
The Partners program is a one-to-one adult tutoring program in Surrey, BC. When the pandemic started, we wondered how to help the tutor / learner pairs in our program move from face-to-face tutoring to remote tutoring.
We recognized that each learner has a unique home situation. Each learner has a different stress level. Many have lost jobs or have children at home. We needed to modify what can be done. If pairs decide to take a break, tutors still stay in touch with their learners. This helps maintain the relationship until they can restart.
Early on we made a list of low–, medium– and high–tech ways to remote tutor.
We asked tutors and learners to choose the platform that worked for them. They had to think about their:
- technical skills
- hardware, software, WIFI / data limits
- privacy concerns and comfort level with the platform
Some pairs are not tutoring. Some pairs are figuring out what to do. Some pairs are trying new ways to learn.
We are mailing some homework packages to learners and sending electronic or hard copies to their tutors. One pair is tutoring over the phone. They may try games, puzzles or dictation. One pair uses Skype. Another tutor emailed a worksheet to her learner. He printed it, finished it, then took a photo and sent it back via WhatsApp. Another pair uses Zoom for lessons and email for homework. They text or phone if needed.
We are also planning to try group learner lessons on Zoom to build on one-to-one tutoring. We think games, activities or a book club discussion would be fun.
There is a lot to learn. Like many others, we are figuring things out as we go and learning from our mistakes. We know that we will keep doing some of the things we’ve learned once things go back to “normal.”
Shanti is Surrey’s Literacy Outreach Coordinator and the program coordinator for READ Surrey/White Rock Society’s Partners program.