Fighting school dropout: Homework is best done when the tutor is a student

TOIn the first edition, 100 young people from 3 schools and 50 university professors participated with excellent results: the teachers had declared that by the end of the course 76 per cent of the students in the science subjects had improved and 87 per cent in the humanities. So now we start again, and the second edition of Tasks @ home – the project of the De Agostini Foundation, University of Turin with the support of IGT, doubles: 200 children involved, from 6 middle schools, assisted by 100 pupils for a total of 6000 hours of tutoring. The schools in Milan, Turin and Novara are connected by others in Rome and Naples, all connected to the digital platform developed by the University of Turin.

“Let us immediately clarify: Homework @ Home has not been an initiative with volunteers just repetitions”, Explains Marina Marchisio, Professor of Complementary Mathematics at the University of Turin and coordinator of the project. “Above all, because university students take a training course before starting the recovery activity, where they learn technologies to use in the most useful way for children. In addition, they are in contact throughout the period with their university representatives as well as with the teachers of the students concerned, who update them on how to proceed with the program, present deadlines, and children before the afternoon classes begin. “.

The tutoring period lasts 15 weeks, and each week includes 4 hours of homework help, two for the humanities and two for the sciences.. “The students involved, all the high schools, are half Italian, half come from all over the world, and some have difficulties with Italian,” the teacher continues. The fact that the help comes from students who are a little older than them is very positive, it makes them feel comfortable, confident. Even if the relationship is always at a distance.

“We all know the problems that Dad caused in the two years of the pandemic, but here we are in a very different situation where technology is an important support, avoiding unnecessary travel and connecting people who are far away For example, we put students of Campania origin to teach the students of Naples; a beautiful friendship was born, ”Adds Marchisio. “Our lessons are a meeting with a limited time and in a committed environment; a platform that allows you to ask questions of different difficulties, depending on the student’s answers: the most effective result is that of personalized teaching. Also, because the tutor can leave material for further study at the end of the lesson, always focus on the topics of the assigned tasks. Then the boys go on their own. ”

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And that is exactly one of the goals: not only improve skills, but allow students more autonomy, which means then self-esteem, more motivation, more active participation in the classroom. Homework, with the help of the university’s ‘older brothers’, provides a driving force for growth and, hopefully, a contrast to educational poverty. The more confident and self-reliant one is, the more one is integrated into the classroom, finding students who are at risk of exclusion early on and finding themselves motivated to move forward.

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