New Research Shows How AI Can Improve Tutor Communications

April 12, 2024

Key Takeaways:

  • AI Coaching Important Support for Tutors: Tutoring programs often have tutors who attended college but didn’t get teaching training. These tutors need someone to support them and help them improve their communication and teaching skills.
  • Coaching for Tutors: Traditionally, coaches provide feedback to tutors through time-consuming in-person meetings. Research shows how an AI system (HTCT) can analyze tutoring sessions and provide coaches with data-driven feedback.
  • Benefits of AI Coaching:  AI coaching can provide coaches with target feedback for tutors to improve tutoring and increase student achievement.
  • AI-based coaching can help scale high-impact tutoring programs

Jump to section:

  1. Helping Tutoring Shine: How Coaches Unlock Tutor Potential
  2. AI Coaches Could Help Teachers Talk Better with Students
  3. AI Coaches Can Help More Teachers, Early Results Promise

Two people, a tutor and a student, stand in front of a door. The tutor smiles at the student in the doorway of a classroom.

Many tutoring programs hire tutors who have gone to college but don’t have any teaching training. These tutors can be helpful, but they could still use feedback to improve their work. Normally, coaches watch teachers and give them feedback during meetings. But these meetings take up a lot of time and don’t always cover all the new things observed. With an automated approach, coaches and tutors can get feedback more often, based on data, all at a lower cost. A new research paper talks about a new technology called human-tutor coaching technology (HTCT). HTCT looks at recordings of tutoring sessions and shows the information in a way that helps coaches give detailed advice to tutors. The main goal is to improve tutoring and help students do even better in school.

Researchers worked with Saga Education to test HTCT with coaches tutoring high school math in low-income areas. They looked at how coaches used HTCT, what they felt about it, and if students’ communication got better when coaches used HTCT data for feedback.

High-impact tutoring is different from regular teaching. It is frequent and takes place during school hours with appropriate tutoring materials. Paraprofessional tutors can benefit from coaching to enhance their skills. Coaching also helps teachers get better at what they do. However, more research is needed to see how coaching can help tutors. This study wants to see how coaching can assist paraprofessional tutors.

Helping Tutoring Shine: How Coaches Unlock Tutor Potential

Teachers and tutors help students learn, but their jobs are different. Teachers have a whole class of students, while tutors work with only one or a few students at a time. Tutors can provide tutoring during school, in-person, or online. They can even tutor during regular school hours! According to the US Department of Education, the most effective tutoring occurs frequently, at least three times a week for 30-50 minutes, and uses appropriate learning materials.

Tutors don’t have formal teaching training, therefore coaches can assist them. Coaches are like specialists who give tutors advice on how to improve. Coaching helps teachers enhance their skills, and researchers are exploring how it can benefit tutors too!

AI Coaches Could Help Teachers Talk Better with Students

Picture having a coach who listens to your classroom lessons. They advise how to have more engaging discussions with your students. That’s exactly why artificial intelligence (AI) tools like HTCT can help teachers!

These AI coaches wouldn’t replace teachers. Instead, they can help teachers learn and identify new teaching strategies. Here’s how it might work:

  1. Focus on Talk Moves: Talk Moves are specific ways teachers can talk to encourage students to participate in class discussions. For example, a teacher might ask a question that gets students thinking (“Why do you think that happened?”) or have students explain their ideas to each other (“Can someone share how they solved this problem?”).
  2. AI Analyzes Classroom Talk: The AI coach will listen to the recordings of your lessons and look for these talk moves.
  3. Feedback for Improvement: The AI coach would then give you feedback on how often you use these talk moves and suggest ways to improve.
  4. This feedback could be helpful for teachers, especially those new to the job or interested in trying new teaching methods.

AI Coaches Can Help More Teachers, Early Results Promise

Some studies have already been done on these AI coaches, and the results are encouraging. Teachers like getting feedback from the AI, and some studies even showed that teachers used talk moves more often after using the AI coach. While research has been done on helping experienced teachers, AI coaches can be great for new teachers or those with little training. Teaching assistants and tutors who are new to teaching can also benefit from these coaches. AI can help teachers improve their classroom discussions and help more students learn. Future research will need to see if AI coaches can work well in different teaching situations and with different types of teachers.

Empower Your Tutors and Boost Student Achievement with Saga Coach.

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