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February 12, 2024

10 Strategies for Incorporating Online Tutoring in the Classroom

As educators strive to create structures and routines that are evidence-based in increasing student achievement, they need resources that will support instruction and learning in and outside of the classroom. On-demand tutoring is a key component for supporting differentiated learning, encouraging engagement, and increasing overall student achievement.

Unlike in-person tutoring models, on-demand tutoring is uniquely positioned to be used in the classroom to provide individualized support for all students. We’ve compiled a list of top strategies for incorporating online tutoring in the classroom. When partnered with an on-demand tutoring provider, like Pear Deck Tutor (formerly TutorMe), these strategies help educators implement 1:1 support in every classroom, so every student gets the individual support they need to achieve their educational goals.

1. Math corrections

Once a teacher has delivered a new math lesson, have students log on to Pear Deck Tutor to work 1:1 with a tutor to go over their classwork and solidify their comprehension of the new math skill. In addition, teachers can allow students to correct missed answers on math tests while working with a tutor to understand where the error was made and how to correct it.

Want to increase the impact of this strategy? Make test corrections mandatory for all students! When students have the chance to work with a tutor to modify their problems and figure out where they went wrong, they’re strengthening their growth mindset and increasing their confidence.

2. Essay review

During a writing unit, teachers can lean on asynchronous writing tutors as an additional set of eyes during the review process. Many students turn in essays, receive a grade, but rarely have the opportunity to correct their work and learn from their mistakes. Additionally, many educators lack the time to provide in-depth feedback on every writing piece.

When a school partners with Pear Deck Tutor, students have access to the Writing Lab, asynchronous writing support that connects students with academic writing tutors who provide detailed feedback on students’ drafts. The Writing Lab can help students correct any mistakes before they turn in an essay, which can improve grades and improve their writing skills for future assignments.

3. Ask a tutor first

A teacher can’t be everywhere at once, especially in larger classes. When students are completing classwork independently, a teacher is often working with a smaller group of students, catching up on workloads, communicating with parents, or addressing problematic behaviors. As a team of one, teachers take on the entire responsibility of delivering robust core instruction, classroom management, and providing differentiated support for each student.

When students need assistance during independent practice, a teacher may be delayed in answering their questions, constantly interrupted, or unable to provide support for the length of time that a student needs. This is not a reflection of poor teaching, but rather, the reality of large class sizes, growing skill gaps, and teacher shortages. The consequence is that students who need additional support or finish their work early quickly become idle, missing out on valuable engaged learning time and increasing the opportunity for negative behaviors.

Instead, create the routine of “Ask a Tutor First.” With an on-demand tutoring platform, students can work 1:1 with a live tutor during individual work time. If a teacher is busy working with a small group or occupied with a disruption, a student can still access individual help in a timely manner. Tutors can answer key conceptual questions, review skills, review instructions and processes for assignments, and help students build mastery of a concept.

4. Test review and preparation

Personalized test prep can make a huge difference in student performance. A teacher might devote the first half of a period to having students review for an assessment, and guide students to use on-demand tutoring to help review and prepare.

Online tutors are available to help students practice skills and review content while preparing for a test. After the review period, teachers can bring the class back together to go over strategies for taking the test, key points, and any other specifics the teacher may want to highlight.

5. Standardized test prep sessions

Through on-demand tutoring, schools can run AP, SAT, ACT, or PSAT preparation sessions with or without face-to-face teachers. With access to online tutors, standardized test preparation is accessible to all students, increasing equitable access to essential test-prep.

For schools partnered with Pear Deck Tutor, create a designated time for juniors and seniors to log onto Pear Deck Tutor to review test prep materials and work 1:1 with a tutor. This can be during an intervention block or study hall. A personal, online tutor for each student to complement the comprehensive overview provided by a teacher can help improve student outcomes and provide the individualized instruction students need to excel on their tests.

6. Dedicated 1:1 tutoring during study hall

Study halls are a great way to give students time to study during the school day. However, in many cases, students are not able to fully utilize those hours because they don't have access to an instructor's support. On-demand tutoring can provide students with learning support during their study hall times.

Live tutors can help students with homework, essays, large projects, reviewing missed content, or diving deeper into content for enrichment. Pear Deck Tutor offers language support for students who are English Language Learners, so students can work with a tutor at their language level.

7. Supporting substitute teachers

Substitute teachers are an essential part of a school community. These dedicated individuals step into the role as a lead classroom teacher when a position is unfilled or the regular teacher is unavailable.

Taking on this role can be intimidating, especially if a substitute teacher may not have a strong command of a subject area or is new to the education field. On-demand tutoring is an excellent resource to leverage to maintain learning rigor, and ensure that a school’s substitute pool feels confident and supported.

On days that a teacher is going to be out, have students log onto their tutoring platform to work 1:1 with a tutor as they complete their assignment. Teachers can leave the assignments directly with the substitute or upload it to a classroom page. Substitutes are available to help students navigate onto the tutoring platform, provide classroom management support, and supervise. For classrooms that have a permanent substitute, on-demand tutoring provides the in-depth expertise and differentiation support that the substitute may be unable to provide.

Similar to using on-demand tutoring during a regular class period, substitute teachers lead the class in daily instruction, before releasing students to work 1:1 with tutors to dive deeper into the content and receive differentiated support.

8. Respond to student web activity

A student's web activity can give a great deal of insight into how a student is performing in the classroom, including whether a student might be stuck and struggling on a specific concept. For example, the teacher may observe a student looking up answers, attempting to translate complicated text, or consistently getting distracted with other websites.

When a teacher notices that the student is struggling, that teacher can connect with the student and recommend that the student enter a tutoring session to get the support needed to understand the concept and advance. This is especially useful during remote learning days, distant learning students, or larger classrooms.

9. Credit recovery lab

For high school students, a failed class can be devastating. Not only can a failed class prevent a student from graduating on time, it can interfere with college or career plans. Credit recovery labs allow students to regain those lost credits by offering essential support that will ensure that those students understand the concepts they may have missed.

By incorporating on-demand tutoring into these recovery periods, students can connect with live tutors and get assistance in moving through recovery content and identifying and addressing gaps in knowledge that are preventing a student from mastering a concept. By working 1:1 with a tutor, each student receives more support, boosting the impact of the recovery lab.

10. Mental health and wellness

After students fail at something in school, they may find themselves struggling to figure out how to catch back up. Failure can have long-term mental and emotional implications, especially for students who may have struggled with difficult circumstances that impacted their ability to fully engage with a course or content area.

On-demand tutoring can help students get back on track. Struggling students increase their odds of success by receiving the support they need to raise a grade or recover from failure.

To increase the impact of on-demand tutoring on the recovery rate of struggling students, schools can make tutoring sessions mandatory. When a student fails a class, test, or assignment, allow the student the opportunity to correct their errors, only with the assistance of an online tutor. Not only does this increase the skill set of a student, but it also increases confidence and helps students bounce back.

Bring on-demand tutoring to your students

On-demand tutoring not only increases equitable access to academic support – it can also increase the impact of classroom instruction when used as an in-class learning support. These strategies introduce some first steps educators can take to fold on-demand tutoring into their classroom habits.

Ready to bring on-demand tutoring to your district? Contact Pear Deck Tutor today to learn more.


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Erica Hartman
Subject Matter Expert - CTO

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