TERRY MAKES SENSE: AN ETHNOGRAPHIC ACCOUNT OF A HIGH SCHOOL PEER TUTORING EVENT (FERNALD, CARING, ASHTON-WARNER, NODDINGS, LANGUAGE-EXPERIENCE APPROACH)

CHRISTINE HENNING LUCE, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

This study describes a one-year high school peer tutoring program for an eleventh-grade, "functionally-illiterate," male student named Terry, "functionally illiterate" here being defined as having a reading capability below fourth grade level. Terry was tutored by two personable, high-achieving senior female students: first semester for three forty-three minute periods each week in the Individualized Reading classroom and second semester for five forty-three minute periods each week in the Socially-Emotionally Disturbed (S.E.D.) classroom. Terry's language-experience stories were the materials of instruction and Fernald's visual-auditory kinesthetic (V.A.K.) method was employed. Supervision by the reading specialist was direct and continuous during the first semester and indirect and sporadic during the second semester. The intended purpose of the tutoring was the academic benefit of the tutee: specifically the improvement of his reading skills. No extrinsic rewards per se were used, although for brief periods Terry was given daily grades by both tutors at his own request. The tutors were trained in after-school meetings with the reading specialist. Before beginning tutoring the first tutor had an opportunity to observe the reading specialist working with the tutee. The second tutor watched videotapes of the first tutor working with the tutee. This case study was documented by participant-observation, monthly videotapes, teacher-tutor journal entries, and audiotaped interviews. Reading tests were administered at intervals throughout the year of tutoring and one year later before Terry's graduation. Four findings indicate areas for program inprovement: first, recognition of the importance of emotional/social goals of tutoring as well as of intellectual/academic goals; second, structuring of tutoring sessions to provide for attainment of emotional/social goals as well as intellectual/academic goals; third, recognition of the power of emotional vocabulary derived from the language-experience approach and cautions concerning this "organic" vocabulary (so described by Ashton-Warner); fourth, the necessity for continuous and direct monitoring of the tutoring program by the teacher or reading specialist from start to finish.

Subject Area

Literacy|Reading instruction

Recommended Citation

LUCE, CHRISTINE HENNING, "TERRY MAKES SENSE: AN ETHNOGRAPHIC ACCOUNT OF A HIGH SCHOOL PEER TUTORING EVENT (FERNALD, CARING, ASHTON-WARNER, NODDINGS, LANGUAGE-EXPERIENCE APPROACH)" (1985). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI8611017.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI8611017

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