What is 'High-dosage Tutoring' and why is it more important now than ever?

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Updated  Paula Antalffy

Top Researchers have suggested that the single most important area of school catch up is tutoring. Regular tutoring sessions are key to helping combat learning loss.

Research suggests more tuition for students is key to helping them catch up on the school they have missed.

Furthermore, tutoring may also be key to helping the current unemployment crisis hitting many nations around the world. With many university graduates looking for jobs with little to no success, tutoring could give them the ‘leg-up’ in the first step of starting their adult life.

What is high-dosage tutoring?

High-dosage tutoring is defined as one-on-one tutoring, or tutoring in small groups. This method of tutoring also involves having up to 3 sessions of tutoring a week, totalling to about 50 hours of tutoring a term. Research has found this type of tutoring to be very effective.

The method also seems to be effective for a wide range of subjects. These findings point towards governments putting more funding into tutoring in the future.

Robert Salivn a researcher at John Hopkins university, who has studied this subject in depth, suggested that due to many schools closing their gates for up to 6 months “it would be malpractice to do anything less than tutoring’.

Why is high-dosage tutoring so effective?

While research has clearly shown that tutoring can be an extremely effective way of teaching children, the exact reason as to why this is the case, has been difficult to pinpoint.

The main findings of most tutoring studies find that the personalized aspects of a small group or one-on-one tutoring is key. In smaller settings tutors are able to customise their teaching more effectively and therefore tackle the specific learning gaps a student or group of students may have. Furthermore a more close knit setting allows tutors to develop a more personal connection with their students.

Lower performing students tend to spend more of their time in classes disengaged due to a lack of confidence. One-on-one and small group tutoring can allow a student to gain confidence in their knowledge and in asking for help. A closer relationship with an educator can help boost a child’s confidence.

Diagram explain the 4 key components of high dosage tutoring: having tutoring at least 3 times a week, being held by teachers, having 1 or 2 students and being embedded into the school day.
Diagram explain the 4 key components of high dosage tutoring: having tutoring at least 3 times a week, being held by teachers, having 1 or 2 students and being embedded into the school day.

Is remote tutoring effective?

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, for many people remote tutoring is currently the only safe option. Unfortunately there has been very little research done regarding if and how face-to-face and remote tutoring change the learning experience for students.

Some of the key differences which have been identified are to do with focus and engagement. Remote tutoring poses new challenges with building closer relationships with students and making sure students are paying attention. While there are a number of interactive tools such as online whiteboards which can help a user be more engaged, these are no perfect substitute for in person interaction.

For some agencies, the key to tackling this challenge is to retrain tutors. By giving teachers new tools to check understanding and engagement in an online setting, many agencies hope to be able to transfer the merit of high-dosage tutoring online.

What other factors impact tutoring?

Studies have found that the quality of tutoring is key to its success. From research it can be suggested that a successful tutoring session needs to be sustained, repeated regularly and preferably interwoven within a school day or curriculum.

Repeated contact is also key, having more sessions in a week leads to a more successful outcome for students.

While students can thrive in an environment where they are taught by more than one tutor, students need to regularly see all of these educators. This will give students the ability to make close relationships with all of these tutors and also gain a strong and consistent foundation for future learning.

This article is based on an article published by Education weekly, which you can access here.

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