A project to experiment with tutoring

experiment with tutoring
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These stories of professional practices are the result of a partnership training/action project bringing together the DGESCO, the Nancy-Metz academy, the Canopé Network.

Their authors, collectives of teachers practicing in REP or REP +, deliver and share their trials, trial and error, successes and errors, as close as possible to the reality of everyday class life.

In November 2015, following a call for projects on cooperation in priority education and after having attended a conference by Sylvain Connac on cooperative practices, the inspector of the Metz-Nord district and the principal of the Jules-Ferry college, co-pilots of the REP+ Network of Woippy , sought, among the teachers of the network, volunteers to design a team project and experiment it. Among the possible orientations, tutoring between students was chosen.

A team project

Initially, six teachers (from CE2 to 6th grade) agreed to participate, with the constituency team, in the design and drafting of the project. This made it possible to carry out experiments in the first degree as well as in the second degree. At the beginning, the methods of cooperation likely to be experimented with were not fixed, both in substance and in form, but to question cooperative practices in the classroom, and particularly in REP+ establishments, seemed to immediately interesting. Indeed, the difficulties encountered on a daily basis, such as school difficulties and behavioral problems, seemed to call for other working methods and a certain educational innovation. Such a project could help students progress in basic learning and improve the school climate. Some members of the team had already thought about possible devices, such as the training of “resource students” by fields of competence in elementary school, or even the setting up of cooperative games in the yard or in PE. However, implementation had only been occasional, irregular and not sustained. The Canopé Network’s call for projects therefore seemed a possible vehicle for enshrining these practices in the long term. However, implementation had only been occasional, irregular and not sustained. The Canopé Network’s call for projects therefore seemed a possible vehicle for enshrining these practices in the long term. However, implementation had only been occasional, irregular and not sustained. The Canopé Network’s call for projects therefore seemed a possible vehicle for enshrining these practices in the long term.

The choice of tutor

Among the possible orientations, the choice of tutoring between students quickly became obvious. This practice appeared to be the most accessible (therefore more reassuring), but also rich in possibilities in our classes characterized by a very strong heterogeneity (of attitudes in class, school results, autonomy, etc.). We assumed that, in such a context, two students of different levels, targeted from the teacher’s observations, could mutually enrich each other in a form of work that would undoubtedly be more motivating for them. Moreover, we had all already more or less set up this working method. We were just wondering how to go further, that is to say how to move from an intuitive and informal approach to tutoring to a more formalized, more expert approach.

The IEN of the Metz-Nord district and the principal of the Jules-Ferry college presented to the project group the slide show used by Sylvain Connac, teacher-researcher, during a conference on cooperative practices at school, a document on which we initially supported each other to begin our work.

Video conference by Sylvain Connac: ” Cooperating between students to learn and collaborate between supportive adults “

Ourformalized project(PDF, approximately 256 kB) therefore offers to give our students real training in tutoring, enabling them to acquire a certain number of specific skills.

The project having been accepted, we asked ourselves the question of its implementation and the commitment that this would require.

We realized that the work we proposed to carry out was very ambitious, the objectives numerous and sometimes complex in their implementation. In addition, entering into the expectations of the call for projects, namely the work of writing and producing resources, was a novelty for us, even engendered relative apprehension. Some teachers therefore preferred not to go any further in its implementation. Four continued the experiments and, during the year, only two of us continued to implement and write. The experiments were carried out in two different ways: in elementary school in Steve Webert’s CE2-CM1 class, and in middle school in Mourad El Hour’s 6th grade class . They will be presented through this file.

We were aware of the gap between the initial (and ideal) project and the reality of practice (not everything could be applied). We therefore embarked on a research-action, a project which was undoubtedly going to take time to build, give rise to hesitations, sometimes lead to failures, force us to look back and make choices in relation to what had been formalized at the beginning.

Our definition of tutoring

Representations of tutoring differ from one person to another, as does the definition given to it. It is intuitively related to the word “help”, although the two terms are not perfectly synonymous.

Our names are Steve Webert and Mourad El Hour. For the introduction of tutoring in our classes, we relied on the work of Sylvain Connac for whom tutoring is one of the cooperative practices among others, which is characterized by an asymmetrical relationship (the tutor is more experienced than the tutee ) in a formal setting (objective, place, time and sometimes method are given).

Diagram of the different forms of cooperation(PDF, about 76 ko), page 8 of the slide show of Sylvain Connac’s conference.

What the students say

For the pupils, it is above all a form of work, “a means of learning” whose keys are help and mutual aid. Tutoring is helping in some way: by reading or re-reading, by asking questions, etc.

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