Sunday, May 18, 2014

Ongoing "Professional" Development for Volunteer Tutors

Ongoing "professional" development is essential for our program. We need all volunteers operating as "highly qualified" teaching professionals. Hence, our professional development plan has six parts.


   (1) INITIAL TRAINING - Share resume and expectations with learning specialist. Meet enrollees and volunteers during the "getting to know us" process. Successfully complete 4-hour Tutor Interactive Online Orientation (defines adult literacy, introduces learner characteristics, lists specifics about our program, details philosophical underpinnings via examples, and explains four specific teaching strategies). Successfully complete 4-hour Online Reading Horizons Phonics Workshop (provides knowledge baseline for all volunteers, regardless of background). Successfully complete 14-hour Tutor Training Workshop (includes grounding volunteers in NRS & TABE, examining learning disabilities, engaging in developing and using instructional materials (pre-packaged, real-world, and learner-generated), practicing teaching techniques, preparing 30-minute lessons, and documenting progress).

   (2) ON-THE-JOB TRAINING - Learning specialist (or volunteer or enrollee) models best instructional practice in classroom setting and one-to-one setting followed by discussion of model elements, practice, and incorporation of model elements into delivery format. (For enrollee/tutor pairs meeting one-to-one outside of the center, the learning specialist travels to meet them during their tutoring sessions and provides this training as part of their quarterly goal meetings.)    

   (3) TUTOR TALKS - Volunteers meet on a Saturday from 10:30 AM - 12:00 noon 5 times a year for ongoing training. Session format is: Aha! moments (sharing of tutoring-related observations, insights, or discoveries experienced since last meeting.) Concerns (group discusses suggestions based on their combined experiences), Specific training (Content emerges from previous discussions, observations, or other sources. Content addresses tutor/enrollee needs and concerns. Training may be led by learning specialist, group member, or outside professional.)    

   (4) TUTOR EMAILS (NEW 2014) - Two follow-up e-mails with tips and resources sent between Tutor Talks.    

   (5) TUTOR TRAINING BLOG (NEW 2014) - Monthly posting of a teaching/learning tip or resource, written by tutors, learners, learning specialist, or other volunteers and professionals.

    (6) OTHER -- Other training opportunities, as available. For example, in February 2013. we participated in Utah Community Literacy and Writing Consortium's annual tutor workshop.


NEW 2014/2015 -- TUTOR WEB SITE. After viewing our new Tutor Training Blog (developed 8/13) for our Interactive Online Tutor Orientation, tutors decided at our 9/13 Tutor Talk to develop a web site specifically for tutors with focus on identifying ways to grow and share and make training segments available for review. Group developed a content outline. A website has been started. We will examine our prototype for revisions/decisions at our May 2014 Tutor Talk.

NEW 2014/2016 TUTOR RE-CERTIFICATION -- Details are under discussion at Tutor Talks. Highlights include tutors re-certifying annually by earning points during each 12-month period. Points may come from tutor-related activities, such as attendance at Tutor Talks, conferences, meetings, or other appropriate venues; presentations at Tutor Talks, conferences, community events, or workplaces; participation in book/discussion groups; publication of successful teaching/learning techniques; conducting and sharing action research; participation in community groups; and/or successful completion of online courses (e.g., Thinkfinity Literacy Network courses).

BOTTOM LINE -- We work diligently to improve tutors’ knowledge, skills, and abilities to most effectively transform functionally-illiterate, English-speaking adults into skilled, passionate, habitual, critical readers, writers, and mathematicians.

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