A few years ago I wanted to try something new. So I came up with this idea that would serve several purposes:
- Marketing for my former tutoring company
- Helping Philly students who could not afford quality tutoring services
- Testing the idea of peer tutoring with secondary students
In came “Math Power Hour.” We recruited 10 Philly students in grades 7-12 for 8 weeks of free small group (peer) tutoring in Mathematics. The courses ranged from Pre-Algebra to Pre-Calculus. We paid 1 tutor for her services and we, the senior staff educators, facilitated the sessions. Each session was 2 hours long (a total of 16 hours of tutoring), from 4 – 6 pm. Snacks were also provide during the sessions.
The students would arrive with their books and materials from school. The first hour was spent on homework help. The second hour was spent on practice problems that were selected by the senior staff. The practice problems focused on typical challenges students in this grade range faced (word problems/applications, fractions, solving equations, patterns, etc.)
During the sessions students were paired with their peers (students in their grade). If they still needed help, an older student was assigned to help. The next step was for the tutor to step in and tutor the students who needed individual attention. As a final resort, the senior staff educators would step in. The goal was to engage students in the concept of study groups and peer tutoring. In the absence of adult help, students should be able to get help from a peer and feel comfortable doing that.
What I learned from Math Power Hour:
- The students truly enjoyed their time and received much needed help with Mathematics
- The parents appreciated the extra homework help at no cost to them
- The students enjoyed helping their peers
- We enjoyed helping a few Philly students grow in such a short period of time
Ideally, this would have been an annual, or even quarterly, occurrence. But as with all things, life just got in the way. Would I do it again? Absolutely! It was fun, rewarding, and refreshing! If this sounds intriguing to you, by all means give it a try in your city, school, organization, neighborhood, subject, etc. Let me know how it works out for you!
Have you done something similar? How did it work out for you?