Early Literacy Tutor Professional Learning Framework

Executive Summary

The core recommendations of this framework are that tutoring providers plan and implement three modes of professional learning, all with an understanding of and commitment to Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Education:

Equity is a foundational element of high-impact tutoring and should be built in throughout a tutoring provider’s efforts. The Accelerator’s resources throughout this Toolkit are aligned with culturally responsive-sustaining education (CR-SE). To this end, the Accelerator recommends embedding four key principles into tutor professional learning to support CR-SE including creating a welcoming and affirming environment, maintaining high expectations and rigorous instruction, using inclusive curriculum and embedding ongoing CR-SE professional development across all three modes of professional learning.

Research supports and the Accelerator recommends that the bulk of an early literacy tutor’s professional learning be practice-based. Adapting Teacher Education by Design’s learning cycle (Introduce, Prepare, Enact and Analyze) for tutor professional learning provides an easy to use framework for practice-based learning for tutors.

Feedback and individualized coaching is often named by successful tutoring organizations as the key to strong outcomes for students. The success of this type of professional learning relies on a clear understanding of the role of the coach, a trusting relationship between the coach and the tutor, clearly defined goals and specific tools for feedback.  There are several approaches (directive, dialogical and facilitative) that coaches may need to employ depending on the specific goals for the tutor’s development.

The third mode of professional learning is a Community of Practice. This mode of professional learning builds a sense of community amongst a tutoring provider’s tutors so that they can learn from and support each other.  A number of platforms exist to support communities of practice and there are several approaches to developing a successful community of practice.

A strong training program includes all three of these modes of professional learning – practice-based, feedback and individualized coaching and communities of practice. We hope these resources provide the information needed to develop a successful professional learning program for your early literacy tutoring program.