Eye of the Editors: Tutorial needs to be utilized better

With forty minute classes, it’s no surprise that Diamond Bar High School implemented an extra period, known as tutorial, for students to meet with teachers after class as part of their virtual learning plans.

Designed for distance learning, tutorial time is an allotted period from 1:10 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. that can be used for extra instruction, teacher prep time, meetings or social-emotional support. When directed by teachers and staff, students are expected to attend such meetings, per the school’s regulations.  Outside of instructional purposes, tutorial time is also used for staff meetings.  

While its original purpose sounds great, tutorial time at DBHS is not being used to its full potential. While a select few teachers consistently utilize tutorial time, the rest let it go to waste, using it only for students to make up tests. 

The concept of struggling students receiving help during tutorial time itself, while ideal, is unrealistic due to online circumstances. Unlike a normal school environment, where students can easily approach teachers for extra help, an online environment makes it more difficult for both parties to find time for the other.

To resolve this problem, both teachers and students need to start taking more  initiative. Just as students should feel more comfortable asking teachers for help, teachers should also be asking students to attend tutorials if the student is struggling. For example, some students might feel more comfortable emailing a teacher to meet up during tutorial time than directly asking them in the middle of class.

If tutorial time does continue to be utilized poorly, the school should consider lengthening classes so that a tutorial time is not necessary, or shortening tutorial to 30 minute sessions. Lengthening online classes would ensure that students are getting more time to learn the material, especially honors and AP students who need that extra time for their rigorous courses. 

Students would also be more likely to attend a shorter tutorial time as it requires less of a time commitment from both the teacher and the student. These shorter sessions would be easier to schedule and be on a more frequent basis.

 As there is no end in sight for a virtual school year, tutorial time needs to be used more effectively since so few  students are now taking advantage of it. Either lengthening class time while shortening tutorial time or creating a revised tutorial time system would improve the distance learning schedule, making it more  useful for both the teachers and the students.