Tutorship through the prism of practical experience

Tutorship through the prism of practical experience

If we had to describe in one sentence who a tutor is, that’s what it would be: an adult who sees the world through a child’s eyes. This world – the school life: studies, relations with friends, emotional condition, hobbies, choosing the future profession…

Is anyone born a tutor? No.
Can anyone master tutorship (theoretically) on his/her own? No.
Are there faculties or higher educational establishments that teach tutorship? Not at the moment.

Becoming a tutor involves lots of hours watching the children, analyzing their behaviour and decision-making processes, drawing conclusions and then again watching. In this process of cognition the knowledge helps, of course, but sometimes there are situations when knowledge may confine or conceal intuitive decisions, cause inflated expectations or produce ineffective symmetrical models. While every child is unique, unpredictable, with own history and vision of the wolrd, with different families and values affecting it. That’s why finding an approach to the child, becoming both a mentor and a friend, knowing all the tones and shades of a personality – is a great art and a hard work.

Can anyone become a tutor?

No. It’s not easy – to go beyond one’s everyday routine and troubles, to feel the child’s worries, to see the world from the child’s position at the same time remaining responsible and mature in one’s decisions, i.e. an ADULT. Personal values and traits of character are also of vital importance.

Who can become a school tutor?

The person ready to help sustain the comfortable atmosphere in class for every child, a person with communication skills enough to build a cooperation with the parent; who can accompany the child in studies and care for the child’s psychological condition and development, and all that – 40 hours per week.

Should you try yourself as a tutor?

Yes, especially if you deal well with the children, if you want to become a good child psychologist or develop your personal potential and soft skills, if you dream of becoming a part of the new educational model and the development of new generation.

Tutor is a relatively new profession in Ukrainian educational sphere, isn’t it?

Tutorship is an adopted experience from the British system of education, originating from the XVIII century Cambridge University. In our country tutorship exists only for the last 10 years. It’s not even included into the official classification of professions. There are different interpretations, functions and roles as a tutor, but always related to personal accompaniment of a child, support and mentoring, direct and indirect assistance, cooperation with the parents.

What is the tutorship in CISC based on?

While building the role of a tutor in CISC model, we thoroughly studied the experience of  personalized education of a child and groups of children in the schools of England, the UAE, USA, Poland, Lithuania,  Estonia. We looked at this function in the educational process at different angles, and then corrected it according to the needs of Ukrainian students.

INTERESTING FACTS: from recent international experience

At the end of 2018 during an educational trip to Warsaw CISC together with colleagues from Kyiv, Lviv, Uzhgorod and Dnipro  had a practical acquaintance with the modren experience of Polish schools. We visited the schools with different forms of property, size and specialization, attended the lessons, communicated with the children, tutors and administrative staff.

Our main conclusions: each school selected a certain very specific tutor’s role in relation to the child, but traits and tendencies can be noticed, common for all educational establishments:

  • school headmasters have their own tutorship experience and are deeply convinced in the necessity of this profession;
  • tutors are a team of highly motivated employees who continue their training on permanent basis;
  • tutorship is a definite system of actions and functions, involving cooperation with  teachers and parents, specified control points and responsibility for dynamics in the child’s development;
  • constant reflection and exchange of experience between the tutors and teachers within a single educational establishment, joint efforts in search for solutions concerning a every child;
  • authentic and clearly specified tutorship standards in each school;
  • all schools have their own educational centres for training of tutors or use the services of  external experts, coaches or educational organizations for training of the staff.

Among the issues that are challenging for Ukraine are the following:

tutors’ overload;
emotional burnout;
 the parents’ shifting the responsibility to the tutors for various out-of-school matters;
inability and unreadiness of certain families to accept their child as he/she is, with all strong and weak aspects;
vagueness of behavioral constraints at home turns into the child’s reluctance to accept any rules at school.

For instance, in State school Gimnazjum nr 54 i LXIV Liceum Ogólnokształcące we watched the unification of individual and group tutorship in practice, together with the model of support for talented students. Communication with the students who had an experience of tutor’s assistance inspires by its deep understanding, more profound reflections of the fact that the tutor became the adult who helped the child understand and accept him/herself, and choose the itinerary for development beyond school correctly.

Primary schools in Warsaw, in particular, 14 Społeczna Szkoła Podstawowa, starting from this academic year began the experiments with the models of individual accompaniment for junior students. Each child has a tutor who helps plan his/her activity, understand the child’s personality and strong aspects, and form the map of the child’s development together with the parents. The role of individual tutors is shared by teachers of regular disciplines who train for such new profession.

In community school Społeczne Liceum Ogólnokształcące z Oddziałami Międzynarodowymi there are three types of tutorship: developmental, scientific and applicational. The last one provides for assistance to a students in graduating classes in the process of choosing an international educational establishment for enrollment, filing all the papers, forming a portfolio, preparing motivation letters, essays etc.

“If you believe in the child, the child will believe in you; if you believe that the child can accomplish something, so it shall be. I believe that we must see not only the class as a whole, but each personality within it”, – says the Headmaster of ŻAGLE Szkoła Podstawowa (Sternik). The school is for boys only, all teachers and tutors – only men, that’s why the tutorship in such school has an aspect of manly support, strictness and a strong shoulder whenever a child requires it. The school has built a close cooperation with parents and a very distinctive distribution of responsibility for the child’s results.

Group tutorship and regular project activity is practiced in community school Startowa: Liceum/Gimnazjum. Here we were surprised by tutorship groups consisting of children with different age, formed according to the children’s interests and desires. Each year the group and the tutor is changed in order to help the children adapt to the ever-changing world.

What results does CISC have at the moment in the sphere of tutorship?

Tutorship model appeared within the CISC educational platform starting from the first days the children appeared in school. And it has been 6 years already that each team of children (whether it’s school, camp, teenage club or a trip abroad) had its tutor. Our years of experience help us know and feel who will be able to handle such job, with commitment and professionalism, and to whom the children will confide with their thoughts and secrets.

Tutors, the people with different professions, are trained in CISC in its School for tutors and are provided with psychological assistance in their everyday work.

The work of tutors in CISC is highly appreciated by the children, the teachers and the parents. And that is why we, as an educational platform with about 70 tutors working in two cities, Kyiv and Lviv (as of 2019, and within a year it is expected to increase up to 200), establish another professional holiday, the Tutor’s day, February 15, and invite other educational establishments that practice tutorship to join us.

We congratulate on this occasion everyone who chose such complex, but highly valued and necessary profession as a tutor! We wish you inspiration, creativity, support, right decisions and lots and lots of happy children’s smiles!

It’s so hard for an adult to see the Universe through a child’s eyes, but so necessary…

Liubov Sobko, Director of Development, CISC

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