A Teacher's Guide to Implementing Online Tutoring in the Classroom
Implementing 1:1 online tutoring in the classroom has the power to increase the equitable access to academic support and enrichment of every student. But it goes beyond that – it also has the potential to alleviate the overwhelming demands on teachers. Its greatest impact is felt when integrated within the school day, rather than merely serving as an after-school resource for homework.
However, implementing online tutoring in the classroom is not always straightforward. Online tutoring is still very new in the educational landscape for both students and teachers.
To help schools successfully implement online tutoring, Pear Deck Tutor (formerly TutorMe) hosted a webinar with educational experts Stephanie Rothstein and Dr. Robert Dillon on key strategies for incorporating online tutoring into your classroom.
Drawing inspiration from their insights, we've crafted this list of essential strategies for educators. It’s designed to guide you as you embark on the journey of introducing your students to online tutoring and seamlessly embedding this valuable tool into your regular classroom dynamics.
Introducing 1:1 online tutoring
For many students, the concept of online tutoring may be brand new. Particularly for younger minds, familiarizing with an online platform can be daunting. As you introduce your students to the concept of online tutoring, keep in the mind the following strategies to help get your students excited about this new resource available to help them on their academic journey.
- Bring your “big energy”: Students mirror emotions. When you’re excited, they’re excited. When you dread something, they’re definitely not going to be onboard either. Set the stage of online tutoring by being excited with your students – remember, this is something that can help you as much as it can help them! Add a sprinkle of humor and ensure enthusiasm is overflowing from your end. If you’re thrilled, they'll catch on.
- Explain the why: Share the “why” with your students. Why this new system? Why should they care? This is the time to set the tone and explain its indispensable role in their success, as well as establish how important relationships are during an academic journey.
- Employ student advocates: Rope in popular faces like student athletes or student council members. Have a favorite student from a previous year? Older students can also be a valuable voice to your students. Their words can convince peers about the value of this venture and help students see themselves using the platform.
Preparing students for online tutoring
Just as we help students prepare for a traditional class, there are certain steps and skills that go into ensuring online tutoring sessions are effective and enriching for students. Online tutoring offers a unique blend of tech interface with the human touch, and there are specific skills and etiquette students must be equipped with to make the most of these sessions.
As you gear up to get your students ready for this digital learning experience, consider these foundational strategies:
- Skill building: Familiarize students with the online platform, tools, and the video interface. You can do this together while modeling a live tutoring session, walking students through each step they will go through when logging on.
- Behavioral blueprint: Outline clear behavior expectations during the session. How do you want your students to represent their school? What kind of questions should they be asking? How should they behave and speak with the tutor?
- Model and practice: Conduct a mock online tutorial, allowing students to practice both the student and tutor roles. A simple 'get to know' game or role-play can get things rolling. Have students practice being the student and tutor, so they see the value and perspective of each role.
- Question crafting: Teach students to frame quality questions. Remember, it's about guiding tutors to their issues, not just fishing for answers. This is also a great step to establish expectations on how you want students to use online tutoring by coming ready with the assignment they need help on or the topic they want to discuss with their tutor for enrichment opportunities.
- Digital distraction: Encourage undivided attention. Multiple tabs can wait. For now, it's just them and their tutor. Consider using a tool, such as GoGuardian Teacher, to provide educators with insights to how students are engaging during their tutoring session.
Ready to use resource: Check out our Tutoring Study Guide for a simple guide to help students navigate the tutoring process.
Organizing your classroom routine to support online tutoring
Clear and repeatable routines are a bedrock for success in the classroom. This should also include online tutoring. As you implement tutoring in your classroom, it is important to have a clear vision of how you want your students to move between their various learning structures.
Here’s a few strategies to keep in mind:
- Beginning of the year: Set and introduce routines. Weave online tutoring into the fabric of daily activities, emphasizing its role in fortifying student-teacher relationships and how it can help students understand and master content more confidently.
- Daily routines: Many classrooms utilize a slow-release model known as the “I Do, You Do, and We Do” method. Whether you prescribe to this instructional strategy or have your own twist, you most likely have an independent or small group practice (the “You Do” portion of this model). Consider incorporating online tutoring in this part of your classroom learning. By embedding online tutoring during independent practice, students have the opportunity to either get additional help or challenge themselves with advanced topics.
- Promoting self-guided learning: Promote online tutoring during at-home learning hours. Perhaps insert a "Please work with a tutor on Pear Deck Tutor for this assignment" in homework guidelines so students know you expect them to work with a tutor to review an assignment or prepare for a test. This also includes submitting writing assignments for feedback, such as through Pear Deck Tutor’s Writing Lab.
Ready to use resource: Grab a copy of our Writing Guide for an editable template to help students submit writing assignments to the Pear Deck Tutor Writing Lab.
Classroom management strategies
Harnessing the full potential of online tutoring requires more than just the right tools and platforms; it demands an optimized learning environment. Classroom management plays a crucial role in ensuring students remain engaged, attentive, and receptive during online tutoring sessions.
Here are some practical strategies to foster a conducive learning atmosphere tailored for online tutoring success:
- Space allocation: Create distinct zones for various activities, including a dedicated space for online tutoring to occur. Movement aids focus and minimizes distractions – and it’s also great to get students moving throughout the class period to help burn off some energy!
- Noise management: Ensure students have headphones on to stay focused during online tutoring. This can be a set of designated headphones for the class or a bring-your-own option for students to bring whatever they prefer.
- Distraction management: Have a plan for how you will watch screens to ensure students are staying on task and not attempting to multitask during their tutoring session.
- Student feedback: Don’t forget to include your students in how they want to learn. Regularly solicit feedback on the learning environment and adapt based on insights.
- Prep checklist: Display a list of prerequisites for a smooth tutoring session: charged devices, headphones at the ready, and prepared questions.
Ready to use resource: Download our Tutoring Checklist for a customizable, fully-editable checklist designed to help your students prepare for their 1:1 tutoring session.
Bringing online tutoring to your school
A successful integration of online tutoring in the classroom is more than just blending traditional and digital methods. It’s about creating a dynamic learning ecosystem that’s both flexible and structured. Just like the start of a new year, this blend brings forth endless possibilities setting students on a trajectory of success.
Ready to connect your students with 1:1 classroom support? Bring Pear Deck Tutor to your school today.