As children return to school this September, whether online or in person, parents are looking for new ways to support learning in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to this need, the Brock Learning Lab (BLL) has opened up online tutoring programs to the community.
Building on a successful Online Literacy Support Program pilot in May, the BLL will run an Online Literacy Support program and Online Numeracy Support program from Sept. 28 to Dec. 4.
“We offered online tutoring using Microsoft Teams successfully in the spring and got positive feedback from the tutors and families,” said Tiffany Gallagher, Professor of Educational Studies and Director of the Brock Learning Lab.
Tutoring in an online environment will provide some consistency amid all the uncertainty of back-to-school plans and can also continue without interruption if a family is in isolation because of COVID-19.
“The clients that we work with need one-on-one instruction that is targeted to their learning needs,” said Gallagher. “They need positive reinforcement, engagement and motivation to help them build critical reading and math skills. All of these can be offered in our online setting.”
For families, the BLL programs can be more financially accessible than other options available. Fees for the nine-week programs range from $180 to $300 depending on the number of sessions per week selected. Clients will work with their tutors once or twice a week using Microsoft Teams. All tutors will be supervised and a community IT liaison will be available to support families’ technology needs.
The online tutoring programs will also create opportunities for Brock students to continue to gain teaching experience. Most are students in the Faculty of Education’s Concurrent Teacher Education program and participate as tutors as part of a Reading and Literacy Development course. As part of the tutoring experience, all tutors will receive training and resources to use in their sessions.
To keep clients engaged, the BLL tutors will make use of screen sharing, interactive features in Teams, fun activities and movement breaks. All tutors will also have access to digital resources from Nelson Publishing through a partnership with the Faculty of Education.
As a service to the community and to supplement learning from home, BLL’s educational team has curated online resources for parents to use at home with their children in grades K-12. The resources cover all areas of the curriculum and also include links directed at parents to help support their child’s learning at home. Families interested in participating in the fall session are encouraged to visit the Brock Learning Lab website or follow the Lab on social media for updates.