February 28, 2011

Students Determined to Change the World, Find Themselves Changed in the Process of Tutoring Others

by MaryLynn Schiavi, for BaskingRidgePatch, orginally published 1/31/11

More than 50 Ridge high school students find that tutoring Newark middle school students broadens their perspective on life and their personal journey.

When you set out to change the world, you may find that you too change in the process. At least this is what some Ridge High School students say they are discovering as they volunteer time each week to tutor middle school students at the newly established BRICK Avon Academy in Newark. About 55 Ridge High School students are actively participating in a program dedicated to helping middle school students in a brand new school designed to replace what was considered “a failing school” by the New Jersey Department of Education, according to Dominique Lee, Founder and Board Chair of the school.

The BRICK in Brick Avon stands for Building Responsible Intelligent Creative Kids. The students began the tutoring initiative on Jan. 15, and will continue through April 15, said township parent Sally Booth, parent of one of the volunteers, who brought the idea to the school officials. The students spend two hours each Saturday working primarily with seventh graders helping them with basic math skills.

The high school students are fulfilling a social studies requirement for community service, but many of them said they were drawn to the program because they wanted to make a difference. And some are saying they’ve found is that not only are they bringing about change — but they are changing in the process and finding a shift in perspective. “It’s gotten me to think a lot about stereotypes. If you give in to a belief in the stereotypes you might think that the kids in Newark are not as smart as the kids in Basking Ridge, but that’s just not true,” said Alayna Grewal, a junior at Ridge High School.

“Actually what I found is that they are very devoted and they want a better life. One young girl said to me ‘My mom really wants me to do well.’ It made me realize what a strong desire these kids have to change their lives in a positive way,” said Grewal who not only serves as a tutor but has helped with the coordination of the program and is beginning a fundraising effort.

To read the full story, click here.

Filed under: Community,High School,Peer-Tutoring,Tutoring Practices

February 24, 2011

How Would Socrates Tutor With an iPad? A Brief History of Tutoring…

Excerpted from the “Tutoring Foundations” Online Tutor Training Basic Module

The use of tutoring as a method of helping someone to learn has been around for a very long time. In fact, it is probably one of the oldest teaching methods. If you think about things you have learned about the life and times of Plato and Socrates in ancient Greece, you will probably recall Socratesreading that the children of the wealthy were educated individually or in small groups by masters or tutors. The Socratic Method, a way of questioning a student to help him arrive at a correct conclusion, and often used during tutoring sessions, is based on the writing of Socrates from that time. During the Middle Ages the children of nobles and the wealthy continued to receive their education from tutors. Similarly, children from less wealthy families often became apprentices to learn a craft or skill from a master, another one-to-one form of teaching. Even to become a knight, a young man had to first serve as a squire so that he might learn his craft from the expert he served.

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ipad dmsllIt would certainly be hard to know how Socrates would have used an iPad for tutoring. But for those who train tutors at learning centers in the 21st  century, there’s  a chance to find out. Those placing orders in the Tutoring Foundations Trainer Training and Workbook program between 2/14/11 and 6/1/11 may qualify for an iPad giveaway. For more information please visit www.crossroadsoflearning.com/ipad/ today! Now let’s return to “A Brief History of Tutoring”…

Click here to read more.

Filed under: Crossroads of Learning,Training/Education

February 15, 2011

Outsourcing Homework and Building a Tutoring Business

Originally published in the by the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan on 12/14/10

How one entrepreneur made the grade by building a disruptive business model to help students learn

Entrepreneur Krishnan Ganesh got his latest business idea from a cartoon in a U.S. newspaper. In it, a parent tells a disgruntled-looking child, “No, you may not outsource your homework to India.” Ganesh thought, “Why not?” Not long after, he launched TutorVista, an online tutoring service where students connect with live tutors for a lower price than bricks-and-mortar tutoring centers. The company offers on-demand tutoring and unlimited sessions for a monthly fee.

In his case study on the novel startup, Ross professor M.S. Krishnan outlines how Ganesh successfully executed this disruptive business model while facing some serious constraints, not the least of which was an outsourcing backlash in the U.S. He also had to cope with high upfront capital needs, recruiting a network of tutors, and building proprietary technology. In the following Q&A, Krishnan, the Joseph Handelman professor of information systems and innovation, details the ways in which TutorVista seized on global trends and technology to redefine the tutoring business.

What does this case tell us about building a successful startup against entrenched competitors?

Krishnan: It’s not just about how you create a startup. This is a story about how you build a disruptive business model. TutorVista changed everything and turned it upside down. The traditional model is that you pay on an hourly basis.—$40-60 per hour.—and they changed that to a ‘buffet-style’ model. That is, you can have all the tutoring you want for a monthly price. I have a lot of fun teaching this case because it’s about teaching a new business model. It’s about innovation. It’s about how you look at the trends in the external environment, like globalization and digitization, and come up with a new idea. It’s about leveraging technology to fundamentally change the age-old business model of tutoring.

To read the full story click here.

Filed under: Technology,Tutoring Practices

February 8, 2011

Tutors take a hit at East Stroudsburg University

by Christa Tatu, originally published in the Pocono Record on 12/13/10

University cuts back hours for popular program

Math was never their best subject, so after taking their first geometry test, East Stroudsburg University sophomores Kellie Smith and Antoinette Burns signed up for the school’s free tutoring program. What they got were weekly, hourlong sessions from a professional tutor, someone with either a bachelor’s or master’s degree who specializes in a particular field. It’s a pretty good deal, but one that may be difficult to come by next semester.

The university’s 75 professional tutors have learned their hours will be cut next month, allowing them to work a maximum of 15 hours per week, compared to 35 hours weekly. About 16 of the tutors work the maximum allotted time.

“I would be failing if I didn’t come here,” Smith said as she and Burns worked through math problems with professional, full-time tutor Teri Miles. Burns and Smith worry about getting the same level of attention if the tutor’s hours are cut. “She’ll come out and meet us on a Sunday if we have a test on Monday morning,” Burns said of Miles.

Record semester

In this semester alone, the university tutored 1,200 students, said David Rheinheimer, director of the university’s tutorial program. In all of 2009, 1,500 students were tutored. “It’s a record semester,” he said.

There are a lot more students like Smith and Burns who seek tutoring as a preventative measure before they start to fail classes they know will be difficult. The interest is probably driven by rising tuition costs and students’ concerns about getting into good graduate schools, Rheinheimer said.

In October, he learned the tutoring center’s $114,375 budget would be cut by 26 percent next year. Students have the option of being tutored by their peers, an option university officials have been pushing, but student tutors have yet to earn a degree.

To read the full story click here.

Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,College


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