Tutor training and all that fun stuff!

Some of our tutors have never been teachers before so, for them, one of the first requests is for tutor training. Regretfully, I have not been able to give a clear answer. I will attempt to clarify my position and set out a plan for tutor training. This is intended to start a discussion on the topic of training and not be a dictum that must be followed.

For those of you who are not aware, my first Bachelors degree is in Instructional Technology. I studied curriculum design, adult learning, learning theory and specifically computer aided, also called computer based, training. I also taught public speaking at UWSP for three years.

With the time I started being around the holidays, my need to learn as much about adult literacy in as short of time as possible, and all the other devilish details that go into taking over the lead of a long-lived, well-established organization such as CWLC, training has unfortunately needed to step aside until other things were taken care of.

Well, more of the preliminaries are taken care of, I am more aware of what is going on and I am ready to start bringing things forward once again. Some of you are already aware of the proposed English Forward training for the week of April 10.

What some of you may not be aware of is the collection of instructional videos that have been collected on our website. I intend to expand on this collection by finding or creating new content which can be viewed when it is convenient for you. Since videos are not very good at answering questions, I have proposed that tutors meet regularly to discuss their successes and pitfalls and gain insight and additional help from each other. When it comes to tutoring, I am not the expert. You, who have been tutoring for five or ten years, are.

Any experienced teacher understands that there is no single method that works for every type of learner. So, I will also look for other resources. English Forward is one of these additional resources. English Forward is a curricula designed for English learners and is mainly designed for classrooms, however, it has been successfully adapted to one-on-one tutoring all over the country. There are other tools out there that I will look into and bring to your attention.

The last part of tutor training is learning to assess our clients. Assessment is very important for organizations like ours because we need to gain funding and the best way to illustrate that we deserve funding is to show that we are making progress. One of the assessment tools we have available to us is the TABE, Test of Adult Basic Education, for native speakers and the TABE-CLAS-E, Complete Language Assessment System for English, tools. I will be building guidelines and showing people how to use these in the near future.

Tutor training is as individual as teaching, so there is no one way I will approach it that fits with everyone. More experienced tutors will require less training, newer tutors will need more. Remember, I am here to help you.