Christiana High's Mike Daugila invites participation in the mentoring of his AVID students. 

Role reversal

High school students demonstrate effective tutoring methods to UD class


12:42 p.m., Oct. 22, 2013--Jennifer Campos, a senior at Christiana High School (CHS), drew a large grid on the chalkboard and added three captions: Point of Confusion, Notes, and Steps. She then outlined the issues she was having plotting a graph while solving for x. Turning to the students in the University of Delaware’s EDUC 413 class she asked, “How would you help me work through this?”

Campos was one of six students from CHS’s Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program invited to join assistant professor Liz Pemberton’s education class, Adolescent Development and Educational Psychology, to help her students learn how to become AVID tutors. 

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The tutors are trained to use inquiry methods to facilitate the AVID tutorials as well as serve as role models. 

The partnership between UD and the AVID program in local school districts gives UD secondary education students an opportunity to gain hands-on experience applying the knowledge they’ve learned in the classroom.

“You don’t want to give them the answer,” cautioned Mike Daugila, CHS AVID coordinator and social studies teacher, when talking to the UD tutors. “Learn to ask guiding questions to help them discover the answer for themselves.”

Daugila’s students at CHS are uniquely qualified to help “teach the teachers.” The AVID program is an elective class in all Christina School District high schools and middle schools, as well as some Red Clay Consolidated School District schools. Students learn to become reflective thinkers, not just memorizing facts but developing a deeper understanding of the how and why.

Tutors are expected to ask open-ended questions that encourage students to consider options, express their difficulties, and work through the thought process.

“It can be time consuming, but it’s necessary to help them understand and internalize the lesson,” says Daugila. 

The AVID students find tremendous value in the program. “It helped me become better organized, develop new skills – like talking in front of this class – and provides the opportunity to visit different colleges,” said Kimberly Fries, CHS student. 

“My students also gain from our partnership with the AVID program,” said Pemberton. “They gain experience teaching in schools that are often very different from the schools that they attended as high school students. They quickly learn that not all students have the same opportunities, resources, and privileges to help them get into college. 

“The AVID students are often the first in the family to go to college, from a low-income family, of an underrepresented ethnic minority group, or from a family where English is not the language spoken at home. With the support and encouragement of their AVID tutors, AVID students become more motivated to do well and to apply to and succeed in college.”

About AVID

Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) is a college readiness system for elementary through higher education that is designed to increase schoolwide learning and performance. The program accelerates student learning, uses research based methods of effective instruction, provides meaningful and motivational professional learning, and acts as a catalyst for systemic reform.

AVID reaches more than 700,000 students in more than 4,900 schools and 28 postsecondary institutions in 46 states, the District of Columbia and across 16 other countries/territories. For more information, see the website.

Article by Alison Burris

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