TRI-CITY VOICE INTERVIEW OF SOME STUDENT TUTORS (8/12/2020)
Tips about Distance Learning from Some FUSS Tutors
This advice is for students:
Going to school normally can already be quite difficult and taxing, and with this year’s challenges because of the pandemic, there will be a plethora of challenges! It is a good idea to develop/maintain some good habits to be as successful as possible in this coming year. Some good practices are:
1. Maintaining a good sleep routine:
2. Have a set location for where you will do your schoolwork:
3. Don’t keep your phone or any other distracting objects with you:
4. Pay attention to your teachers and have a planner/notes:
5. Make sure you get good nutrition and stay hydrated:
That is most of the important, meaningful advice I have for you. I hope it helps! Have fun and good luck!
I find that mandating to keep the cameras on works a lot better so that the students don’t fool around or go on their phones. Also keeping it very interactive, by asking questions, makes the students listen and pay attention. Adding on to that, I always have an end-of-class mini review quiz, it makes sure they properly learned everything well.
We should also be mindful that learning is a lot harder when at home, so the material shouldn’t be too extracting or else they will be too bored to listen to the class.
I have couple of suggestions based on my experiences of distance learning over the last few months.
1. I suggest to the School District to give options to students to study courses at UC Scout. Link: https://www.ucscout.org/about-scout.“Scout from University of California is a SAPEP program that develops and delivers A-G approved, online classes and curriculum to students around the globe. Our course materials are designed to inspire lifelong curiosity and prepare pupils of all backgrounds and education levels for an increasingly technological world where training and job skills are mobile, asynchronous, and self-directed.”
2. The School District could also use programs like ALEKS to teach Math. Link: https://www.aleks.com/about_aleks.
“Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces is a Web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system. ALEKS uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what a student knows and doesn’t know in a course. ALEKS then instructs the student on the topics she is most ready to learn.”
3. Extensive use of Kahoot to prepare for exams and to do knowledge checks. Link: https://kahoot.com/.
4. There should be online study groups formed, so students can meet online to study and socialize at regular intervals.
I have a couple points for both High School and Elementary School students that I think might help ease us into distance learning.
For High Schoolers:
1. It really helped me when the lesson plan for the entire week is sent out at the beginning of the week. I think that makes it easier for students to go at their own paces to both learn and work on assignments.
2. If the class requires to be taught through lectures, limiting them to 1 to 2 a week so that it does not interfere with the students’ pacing on more important assignments.
For Elementary Schoolers:
1. In contrast to High Schoolers, I’ve found that Elementary students work better when meeting with the teacher at least once a week and up to everyday, because they work better when having more structured and peer/instructor motivated education.
Thank you again so much for asking for my input. I hope this is helpful in some way.
From my time tutoring, I find that knowing how to use software or services (Google Meet + iPad/macOS). As I taught piano and biology, having an iPad running any notation software (Notability / Adobe Draw) was great for drawing diagrams, sheet music, or jotting down important notes for students.
Using google meet to have classes is great, as I am able to screen share my iPad drawings using macOS QuickTime Player, as well as connect footage from my camera.
Having students come on time was a big part of the tutoring, as it was awkward to wait around for students to join my Google Meet links. I think a better way to do this is set up a weekly event on Google meet and send the link to be added to the student’s Google Calendars
There are a few things I think are relevant. Over the month I have been doing this, I have worked with eight students through this program and two through my job, all scheduled for one hour a week.
Of the thirty-nine hour-long time slots I had scheduled with this program, the students failed to show up seven times without prior notice and were significantly late (20+ minutes) twice, again without prior notice. Physical and mental absences will undoubtedly be a significant problem unless there is a significant enforcement mechanism, which would most likely be harmful to some students.
Additionally, it is much faster to teach online than in person. Based on the pace I was going at with some of the students, we would have covered the year’s worth of the curriculum to approximately the same level of depth as a normal class in a couple months.
While it is obviously not fair to compare a one-on-one tutoring session to a full class with students of variable needs, I think that teachers will find that they do not need as much time as normal to teach their classes, as many of the things that take up class time like passing things out, group discussions/reading, and time to work of projects or homework are impossible to do online or are much shorter online. I think most teachers would need only a day or two a week to teach the information and interact with the students in other ways for most classes.
Technical difficulties have, of course, been an issue, but I do not have much to say about them besides the fact that some students lack a quiet place to work, which can make teaching very difficult, especially considering I only had to deal with one student with communication issues at a time, not thirty.
Students also do not like to be on camera; I kept my camera on the whole time so that they would feel comfortable doing so, but most did not. Some even muted themselves for most of the time. Teaching is harder when you cannot pick up on the facial of vocal cues people have. Almost every time I have asked, “Does that make sense?” the student replies with a flat yes, and I cannot judge if they are being honest as well as I could if we were in person.
Again, if this problem is significant enough to be an issue with one or two students at a time, it will be very difficult with a full class. Most of what I have said here is not easily addressable, but I think overall it can show how this is hard for everyone, so people should be empathetic to the issues students and teachers face and take steps to reduce stress, even at the expense of what we assume to be the most important concerning education.
This isn’t based off tutoring experience, but on my experience during lockdown, while school was still in session.
The most important thing is to make sure that everyone has access to the online meetings that school would be conducted through. The teachers must be required to teach on a normal school schedule, because otherwise, they may not hold classes and that makes it a lot harder for students to learn.
Some students can’t stay at home, either being too young to stay home alone, because their parents are at work, and some students would have to take care of younger siblings. Parents should have the option to send their kids somewhere. There would be far less students, so it could be possible to socially distance at school, and instead of joining classes from home, they’d join the online classes from the school itself.