The following is a guest post by Dr. Sandi Ayaz, explaining the peer tutor training services available through the National Tutoring Association (NTA). Dr. Ayaz is the Executive Director of the NTA, with over 25 years of experience in educating, training and supporting tutors. She is also a master certified tutor trainer / administrator as well as a certified academic coach.
Tutoring is a holistic process where a student and a tutor make a mutual journey to discover and practice academic and life skills while searching for and repairing the academic disconnect that has kept the student from becoming a fully self-facilitated learner. The tutor’s responsibility is to understand and clearly communicate course material to the student in a manner that facilitates an improved level of proficiency in the subject as well as an increased overall sense of self-esteem for the student.
One distinct outcome of recent research has been that peer tutoring programs work. They are relatively inexpensive and offer many benefits to both the tutor and the student. That said, the research has also been clear that peer tutors must be trained, given clear direction, and be held to a defined set of standards. The lack of trained and certified peer tutors in a program limits impact on success that may result in a drop in student success and lower grade performance. Untrained peer tutors have an extremely limited number of learning strategies in their toolboxes to help students to bridge those academic disconnects. In addition, untrained peer tutors often feel frustrated and so they do not persist with the tutoring program.
The National Tutoring Association (NTA) is the oldest and largest non-profit association in the United States dedicated solely to the training and certification of tutors, especially peer tutors. In order to become trained and certified, peer tutors are required to join the NTA and to enroll in a minimum of the Basic Level Tutor Training.
Courses are offered online through the NTA, or in-person by an NTA Certified Tutor Trainer. We offer Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced level tutor trainings. We also offer courses in Academic Coaching, Learning Preferences, Mentoring, and several other topics. NTA training webinars feature a live facilitator, a cohort of 20-25 other students with whom students may communicate both during and after the webinar, and materials provided in electronic format. Students may view the webinar during its initial 3-hour live presentation, or watch the recorded webinar followed by a short assessment. Face-to-face training usually involves one day of training per level. All trainings are supported by NTA approved curriculum workbooks.
The National Tutoring Association believes that all peer tutors should be trained to a minimum of the Basic Level for certification. Subjects for training should include major topics such as: Definition of Tutoring; The Role of the Tutor; Ethics and Etiquette in Tutoring; Basic Communication Skills; Good Listening Practices; Basic Study Skills; Critical Thinking Skills; Understanding Learning Preferences vs. Learning Styles; and Recognizing Success. More topics may be added depending on the age of the peer tutors.
Peer tutoring builds both the tutor’s and the student’s cognitive processes because it requires attention, motivation, review of existing knowledge and skills, and finding ways to simplify, clarify, and provide examples of difficult or challenging concepts. Trained peer tutors experience significantly higher overall academic success with students. The NTA is available to help with your training needs.