If you have been running your tutoring programme for a while and have got the basics in place, you are probably ready to deepen the impact of your programme.
Read more about how to run an effective tutoring programme below.
Tutoring and Peer Learning
It will help you to understand this section if you have read about the IkamvaYouth model and theory here [link]
You can also find out more and really understand what tutoring is here [link to tutoring section]
The tutoring methodology is fairly easy to understand, however implementing it takes a lot of effort. Remember though that it is the learner’s shift in mind-set that comes from having control over their own learning that produces the huge academic improvements. Therefore every effort must be made as a coordinator to support your tutors to use this methodology rather than teaching the learners.
This starts with recruiting quality tutors. A quality tutor is someone who: has the academic knowledge to provide support in a subject, has been trained and understands the concept of tutoring over teaching, can implement tutoring and facilitate peer learning confidently, is able to commit to tutor for a minimum time (6 months), can be relied upon to attend tutoring sessions and to notify you if they are unable to make it, and is comfortable working with young people.
Training tutors is also integral. You must equip them with an understanding around how to group learners, ask the right questions and to get them familiar with how to question learners in order to test for understanding.
Find the dates of IkamvaYouth’s tutor training events and sign up your tutors.
On-going support is just as important as good quality and on-going training. There are various ways to support, and each tutor will be different. However, there are some basic ways to support your tutors, and they all begin with communication:
- Share your vision
- Communicate regularly and encourage two-way communication
- Involve volunteers in all aspects of your programme.
- Create an academic year calendar
Tutor feedback meetings can be held as often as necessary. They do not have to be long. Often a 10 minute chat after tutoring to ask questions and give space for conversation can be enough.
Don’t underestimate the need to thank and acknowledge your volunteers. Nothing works better than a genuine letter of thanks from the learners themselves or communicating the impact that the volunteer is having on the learner.
Peer learning plays a huge role in the IkamvaYouth programme. The power of peer learning is discussed in the summary of core principles section [link]
During the week you will often have a lower tutor ratio due to tutors not being so available. This is the optimal time to encourage peer learning. One way to do this is to look out for the learners who are excelling in each subject. Pair up those who are doing well in a subject with those who are not doing well.
It is a gradual process. Peer learning does not come naturally to everyone. There will be a tendency to copy rather than assist understanding. As a coordinator and tutor it is your job to monitor this.
Any learner can join the programme, regardless of their academic grades, but to keep their place in the programme learners must attend 75% of the sessions.
This key element of the model was actually developed by Makhaza’s class of 2005. The benefits of implementing a 75% attendance are to:
- Create a strong sense of belonging
- Offer an exchange rather than a hand-out
- Develop a culture of responsibility
- Give learners a sense of ownership and ultimate choice whether or not they want to be part of the programme.
- Help the coordinator and tutors with their planning
- Make sure resources aren’t ‘wasted’
At the end of term all learners whose attendance falls below 75% are kicked out, following a mid-term intervention procedure, speaking with the learner and the parent/guardian.
There are some simple steps you can take to make sure that your learners honour the 75% attendance requirement. These are:
- Communicate the requirement upfront and co-create an expectation contract so everyone is on the same page
- Take attendance at every session and record it in a structure template that calculates %
- It is important to continually remind the learner of their attendance % and of the 75% attendance requirement
- Motivate learners by providing incentives and acknowledgement. You could hold termly prize-giving events or give out certificates that acknowledge those who have attended well, performed well academically etc.
- Inspire learners and show them what is possible with hard-work Alumni Videos.
- Warn the learner in the middle of the term and contact their parents to inform them that if they don’t improve they will kick-out
- Kick-out learners who have fallen below 75% and have not shown a commitment to improve
Kick-outs are FUNDAMENTAL to the programme being effective and not doing this will undermine all the work you have put in. To keep a child on the programme who has not adhered to the 75% attendance requirement does the child and the programme a disservice. A responsible mind-set is impossible to achieve if you are not enforcing rules that you have set, explained and have good reasons for.
If you establish the rules and boundaries early and reiterate these regularly the learners will begin to understand and attendance will not be a problem again. You will then have a group of committed learners who can truly flourish on the programme.
Reports are issued by the schools at the end of every term. It is important to collect learners’ reports, record grade improvements, stagnations and decreases. This is beneficial for your organisational M&E processes but by showing a keen interest in the learners’ academic performance, you will also boost their own interest in their academic performance.
The easiest way to access academic results is from the schools directly.
- CALL EVERY SCHOOL to find out the date they will be issuing reports
- TELL the students to bring in their reports on the date after the schools issues them.
- On the day that reports are issued SMS all the students from that school to remind them to bring them to the next tutoring session
- When the students give you their report, LOOK at it and schedule a 15 minute 1:1 session with them.
Sometimes the schools refuse to release reports to learners for various reasons; you can find advice and tips about how to deal with these challenges in the full chapter on report collection.
Once you have the reports, other than recording them for your own evaluation purposes, you can also use them to motivate the learner. Holding 1:1 sessions with learners after their reports are issued will really help to improve attendance and ultimately academic achievement. Have a conversation about how they are doing and feeling. It is an opportunity for them to think and reflect on their learning and set future targets which you can begin to hold them accountable to. Constructive feedback plays a huge role in changing the learner’s perceptions of what they are able to achieve.
Career Guidance & Mentoring
Career guidance and mentoring encourages learners to see the bigger picture. Career guidance and mentoring aims to shift learners’ expectations about what is possible, provide hope through actual examples, and link them with information and resources to make these hopes a reality.
It is important to start career guidance as early as possible. Grade 9 marks the end of compulsory schooling in South Africa. It is at this point that learners need to choose what subjects they want to take for matric. There are also alternative pathways other than academic, such as vocational colleges, learnerships and apprenticeships. However, if learners are able to do so it is necessary to encourage them to fully explore the option of an academic pathway. One of the most important things to note is that if a learner wants to go to university they MUST take maths rather than maths literacy.
A similar need for guidance arises in grade 11 and 12.
- Hold career guidance workshops at and invite professional speakers to the June/July Winter School
- Host a careers indaba that is attended by universities/colleges, professionals, companies, teachers and learners. A careers indaba can be held in any large hall and offers learners the chance to actively engage in conversations with the universities/colleges they will apply to and find out what subjects are offered and what grades they need in order to apply
By mid-April each year, every grade 12 learner is assigned a mentor. The two meet for at least two hours per month throughout the year, and work together to:
- Identify the post-school opportunities most suited to the learner’s interests, skills, capacity, subjects and academic achievement
- Identify bursary and scholarship opportunities for which the learners are eligible, and relate to their chosen field of study
- Ensure that learners apply to the relevant courses, institutions, learnerships and/or employment opportunities well before the deadline dates
- Ensure that application forms are accurately and comprehensively completed, and have all the requisite supporting documentation
- Provide general support and work with the branch coordinator to do referrals for any psycho-social, health or family environment challenges that learners may be facing
Didn’t find what you were looking for here? Check out the other modules below or search for something specific using the search bar at the top of your page.
If you are at the beginning of your journey and want to find out about the key elements that you need to get right you can start here. This section covers information about venue, stakeholder relationships, learner recruitment, and volunteer recruitment.
Once you have your programme running smoothly (wishful thinking) it may be time to add in additional programmes to maximise impact. The programmes IkamvaYouth have run in the past are; health and life skills, computer literacy, media, image and expression (MIE), and winter school.