Category Archives: Mark Destler

Five Reasons Why Tutoring is Crucial Teacher Prep

Much ado about teacher preparation these days.  Just last Wednesday, the New York City Department of Education released Teacher Preparation “scorecards” that raise questions about some highly-regarded programs.  This comes on the heels of the Teacher Prep Review in June by the National Council on Teacher Quality that caused so many reactions – see T4A Director of Programs Aimee Mott’s post for one of the more thoughtful ones.

While reasonable minds may disagree with the ratings and prescriptions each study offers, teacher preparation clearly needs to improve.  The persistence of the achievement gap, the primacy of teacher quality in the achievement of underserved students, and the correlation between teachers’ first-year success and their long-term efficacy provide a combination of opportunity and moral urgency rarely seen in the public policy arena.

One under-rated strategy for teacher preparation – tutoring.  For a host of reasons (five, in fact!), we at Tutors for All believe that leading tutorials can and should be a central part of teacher preparation programs: a pre-requisite for student teaching. We are not alone.  Here are our reasons.

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As Individualized Instruction Goes National, What Do We Know?

Individualized instruction has gotten a lot of good press over the past month. Check out this piece in the Times about Nick Ehrman’s Blue Engineers, and this one in the Chicago Sun-Times about Match Education’s partnership in Chicago.

This press is well-deserved; if anything, it’s overdue. What started almost eleven years ago as a Match “summer high school” on the MIT campus has grown into arguably the highest leverage intervention out there. To quote the piece on Blue Engine, “Gains like this are not often seen in education … it’s worth taking notice.”

As the movement has grown, Tutors for All is increasingly being asked to offer counsel to schools and community organizations starting their own programs. It’s a gift of an opportunity; far more kids are in need of the practice than twenty Blue Engines, Match’s and T4A’s could serve. As we do so, however, it becomes clear that our counsel (and, for that matter, the advice of companion organizations) is based on our particular philosophy and history of success more than on a more general research base.

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