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How to involve classroom teachers when implementing on-demand tutoring

teacher learning about on-demand tutoring for her classroom

On-demand tutoring has the potential to transform the way teachers approach education. By providing students with access to qualified tutors, teachers can better meet the needs of their students and ensure that each student is being met with the level of rigor needed to keep them engaged and progressing towards their academic goals.

However, getting classroom teachers to adopt on-demand tutoring can be a challenge. Initiative fatigue is a thing, and it's a thing that happens to every teacher. Teachers are at the front lines from every new rollout, from learning how to use a new whiteboard, to launching schoolwide programs, and to incorporating the next great edtech solution in the classroom. And with each failed initiative, teachers become more reluctant to hop on board with adopting a new platform. Can we blame them?

To address initiative fatigue, it is important to invest in a communication and onboarding strategy that establishes the value of on-demand tutoring by connecting on-demand tutoring to the current pressure points being faced by classroom teachers. In short, in order to encourage teachers to adopt on-demand tutoring, a school needs to effectively communicate why on-demand tutoring matters. And this needs to start at the very first step of the decision-making process.

Including teachers as stakeholders from the very first stage is an essential component of increasing educator buy-in. When teacher voices are heard, they feel valued. But beyond that, the initiative’s implementation process gets better, because it is working directly with the stakeholders involved.

When determining how to involve teachers and how to communicate with the teaching staff on a whole, consider the following strategies that can be utilized by a district or school to guide a successful communication plan to encourage buy-in when implementing on-demand tutoring.

Establish the need for on-demand tutoring

Prior to launching on-demand tutoring, it is important to provide teachers with clear information about how on-demand tutoring can directly support a teacher and student. When used in the classroom, on-demand tutoring can reduce the burden of differentiation, increase the impact of instruction, and encourage active engagement throughout the class period. Some key communication points include:

Ensure your on-demand tutoring platform meets the needs of educators and students

In order to make adoption of an on-demand tutoring platform successful, it must meet the actual needs of teachers and students across your organization. If the platform is hard to use or doesn't offer the high-quality educational support students need, neither teachers nor students will have a strong interest in adopting the platform. There are several things you may need to look for in order to ensure that your on-demand tutoring platform meets the needs of your instructors and students.

High-quality tutors

In order to deliver the benefits and instruction that students need, the platform must have high-quality tutors who are knowledgeable about the subject matter they are teaching and skilled in working with students. Having high-quality tutors means that those tutors are of genuine benefit to your students as well as ensuring that teachers can trust them with their students. When teachers are able to see the results of their students' tutoring sessions with high-quality tutors, they will be more likely to use them in the future and teachers are confident in utilizing tutors to support their students in the classroom.

Available in the right subject areas and languages

In order for an online tutoring platform to be effective, it has to be available in the subjects and languages that teachers need. Of course, that means availability in key subject areas like math, reading, or science, but it also means that the tutoring platform may need to offer support in additional areas, including computer and technology skills or even professional skills classes.

In addition, check into language availability. If you have a high quantity of Spanish-speaking students in your district who may need additional support then it is critical to have tutors who can connect with students in their preferred language.

Integrates with your LMS

In order to work well for your students and be easy to use, your on-demand tutoring platform may need to integrate with your learning management system (such as Clever, Blackboard, and Canvas). Integration will allow for an easy, single-sign on for students, preventing them from needing to remember a different username or password. This also removes a potential barrier for teachers, who would otherwise need to record all account information for students in the event they forget how to log on.

Provide training and professional development opportunities

Many teachers are hesitant to use on-demand tutoring because they feel like it will take time away from their lesson plans, require too much learning upfront to understand, or does not pertain to their subject area.

It's important for schools to address these concerns head-on and provide teachers with the support and resources they need to effectively integrate on-demand tutoring into the classroom.

Involve teachers in the decision-making process

During the initial step of determining how on-demand tutoring can support your district’s needs, involve classroom educators in the conversation. Ask for school/grade representatives to participate in conversations about how your district will utilize on-demand tutoring, reviewing on-demand platforms, and creating a communication plan to build buy-in with other teachers.

These teachers are your earliest advocates, and are the experts who will be able to clearly communicate how on-demand tutoring will benefit other classrooms. When teachers are involved in the process, they are more likely to trust the system and engage with it. They also provide essential feedback to the decision team on current pain points to help districts ensure that this on-demand tutoring can be leveraged to address teacher burn-out, as well as student academic support.

Create a communication plan

When you're ready to launch your on-demand tutoring program, make sure you have a clear communication plan in place. Provide information on:

  • Why the district is selecting on-demand tutoring for its students and how on-demand tutoring can reduce teacher workload and increase the impact of instruction
  • Details about how students access the platform and when it is available to them
  • Provide materials and templates to communicate to parents
  • Communicate a clear guide on how on-demand tutoring will be utilized in the classroom, during intervention periods, and afterschool

Your plan may include a number of elements that help ensure that the right information gets in front of your teachers, including:

  • Emails
  • In-person professional development
  • Presentations for professional learning communities
  • Check-in surveys that track of teacher confidence and gathers feedback

Model how to use on-demand tutoring in the classroom

It can be critical to give educators real examples of how other teachers have used on-demand tutoring in the classroom, including a clear look at what benefits it may have offered in those classrooms. Provide examples of teachers:

  • Providing differentiated learning instruction in the classroom, which can allow each student in the classroom to work at their preferred level
  • Offering pull-out support for students who may need additional help with certain concepts or levels
  • Having students utilize tutor feedback during writing labs for support with papers and essays

Help your teachers learn more about the benefits of on-demand tutoring

On-demand tutoring is an incredibly valuable tool that has a lot of potential in your classrooms. By working with your teachers to provide more information about those benefits, you can encourage adoption of those platforms and increase those benefits.

Are you ready to bring on-demand tutoring to your school or district? Contact TutorMe today.

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