By Nalini Lasiewicz, Crossroads of Learning
Each National Tutoring Association conference is a memorable and inspiring event. This year’s 20th annual conference held in Scottsdale, AZ went beyond expectations in terms of the local scenery, the excellence of the many presentations and the enjoyable exchanges had by attendees throughout the week. In addition to the main event, tutor trainings for certification were held pre-and-post conference with newly certified tutors and those continuing their professional development.
Starting with the welcome reception which featured a wonderful bossa nova guitarist, to the annual awards luncheon, motivational keynote addresses, and an exciting potpourri of educational sessions, the conference delivered an intimate, stimulating and informational smorgasborg of learning. NTA Executive Director, Dr. Sandi Ayaz, continued in her tradition of assembling an exciting schedule of session on topics relevant to tutorial efforts, learning, best practices and skills building.
Bob and Nalini Lasiewicz of Crossroads of Learning participated as volunteers for logistical support, joining NTA board officers including Dr. Pamela Bandyopadhyay, Javier Bustillos, Kabir Kassam, Austin Ferguson, and Karen Royster-James. All were managed on-site by NTA President Lynn Giese.
Board member Dr. Daniel Weinstein joined Lynn to provide the on-site tutor training courses using the Tutoring Foundations workbook curriculum. Veteran Crossroads of Learning on-line and workbook trainer r Avery Austin led the first academic coaching training based on the recently released Academic Coaching Workbook workbook from Crossroads. An in-person meeting of Crossroads Train-the-Trainer program participants was another new feature.
Mohan Dhall was among those recognized by the NTA, for his outstanding work in helping to launch and lead the Australian Tutoring Association (ATA). Mohan presented research of how governments across the globe view tutoring. He covered policies ranging from direct governmental support to the opposite extreme in which some governments do not permit or will ban the use of academic tutors. The worldwide trends in parent attitudes, alignments to mainstream education as well as the rapid growth of the tutoring field made for a fascinating presentation. These international trends underscore the importance of the NTA mission to inform and advocate for tutor training and certification.
In his presentation during the second conference luncheon, Bob Lasiewicz congratulated the many leaders of the field there were in attendance, including the NTA Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Laura Symons of Piedmont Virginia Community College. In her acceptance speech, Laura summed up the thoughts of many at the conference when she acknowledged the privilege she felt, along with her fellow honorees, for having been able to train thousands of tutors. She recognized the efforts of the NTA and all those tutors who, according to Laura, “take what we say, as trainers, and run with it.” The tutoring professionals in attendance and those new to the field found comfort in the fact that the NTA continues to build a legacy of excellence in training and certification which stood the test of these tough economic times and will continue to expand, touching the lives for many for years to come.