1.1. Synthetic description of the practice
The educational tutor is responsible for accompanying the training and educational pathway of the class group and of each individual student through a customised pathway. The tutor builds a “customised” pathway through observation, educational relations, vocational guidance, activities and projects aimed at achieving the educational success and excellence of each student and class group, the latter being understood as both a recipient and an educational resource.
1.2 In-depth description of the main elements
The tutor is a professional figure who works within the VET centres with a humanistic-holistic approach, supports the vocational orientation and welfare of the student. In the Oliver Twist school, this function has a purely educational character; the tutor is in charge of one or two classes, supporting the educational pathway of each student and of the class group.
1.2.2 End users
Students in the VET pathway from year 1 to year 4. The target group for this practice is the entire class group and each individual student, each with their own educational needs (including special and specific needs in the presence of a diagnosis).
There are three macro-areas of functions of the educational tutor, working with a perspective of networking and synergy also with any other educational and professional figures of reference for the student at school and outside school.
- 1st area – The relational and educational dialogue area: observations, cognitive, educational, motivational and learning interviews. Involving students, family, network subjects.
- 2nd area – Learning support activities: observations of class dynamics, targeted individual or group support, reinforcement, support in workshops, facilitator of interdisciplinary projects with teachers.
- 3rd area – Accompaniment in the VET professional pathway: management of internships, awareness paths on professional skills (hard and soft), professional and outgoing guidance.
- meet the individual growth and training needs of each student.
- accompany the students in the VET pathway towards educational success.
- accompany the student in the realisation of his uniqueness and excellence.
- to bring together the agencies and educational figures dedicated to the student by creating a network.
- facilitate relationships between peers in the class group.
- work with the class group so that it becomes an educational and inclusive tool for each student.
- modelling the VET pathway on the class group.
- educational talks with students and families cadenced throughout the year and as the need arises.
- systematic student reports.
- creation of the network between educational agencies.
- accompaniment in the internship experience by identifying areas for improvement and enhancement aimed at his/her professional profile.
- educational outings in the relevant sector.
- training experience with professionals in the sector.
- group experience with aggregative and formative purposes.
- moments of sharing and re-elaboration of teaching and internship experiences in the class group.
2. Phases and activities
List of phases of the practice “Tutoring: personalisation of the educational plan”:
- Phase 1:
- Pre-assignment and definition of class and student
- Educational objectives
- Phase 2: student personalised educational action
- Phase 3: personalised educational action on the class group
- Description of phases and activities
Phase 1: Pre-assessment and definition of formative educational aim for class and student
Observation is a “specific behaviour of attention […] it is an intentional, targeted, active, non-generic gaze, which tends to focus on what the observer considers most relevant and significant in relation to his interests, his motivations, the reasons that have promoted the collection of data” (S. Mantovani, 1995).
The tutor, in the various contexts, observes in order to get to know the student and only after discussion with other figures (team, class councils, supervisors, headmaster) intervenes to plan in a customised manner, support the individual and the class group and accompany them to educational success.
The content of the observations concerns three categories of variables: dynamics, skills and context.
At the beginning of the year, the tutor, while observing in the different contexts, collects a lot of heterogeneous data; it is with the subsequent verbalisation and restitution of the data in the team that he is able to reorganise and sift the data collected. The preferred tool in this phase is team report, compiled by the tutors and shared with the management.
During the year, on the other hand, observation aims to collect more targeted data aimed at the customised educational project.
Only on the basis of observation, shared in team work, is it possible to intervene to plan in a customised manner, support the individual and the class group and accompany them to educational success.
A fundamental activity for the tutor is metacognition work through writing :
- allows the data collected to be reorganised;
- allows synthesising and objectifying what has been observed;
- it helps to reorganise thought and make it transmissible;
- makes it possible to create a history.
Like all educational work, moments of work between colleagues and with other professional figures are indispensable. In particular, tutors are to be found at different intervals carrying out
- weekly teams with the management
- supervision (once a month) with a psychotherapist
- specific training (throughout the year and in the month of July in intensive mode) on the issues that emerge as priorities.
The explicit objectives of team work
- allow work to be shared for mutual support and shared growth.
- help to think of the child as a resource and not a problem.
- question one’s own actions and educational work.
Activity 1A: Participatory observation: in the classroom – in the workshop – informal moments
Observation by tutors takes place in three moments of the teaching activity: in the classroom during lessons, in technical-professional workshops and in informal moments that develop during the school day or in extracurricular experiences.
With respect to the three moments, those that are most functional and that provide a lot of interesting data for observing the student and the objectives set are: the technical-professional workshops and the informal moments.
Observation is carried out by the tutor and also in synergy with the other actors involved, teachers and co-teachers.
The observation carried out in the workshop provides very useful elements regarding the predisposition to the field of reference. The area of soft skills is observed and, especially for the second-third-fourth classes, technical skills. These are fundamental elements for the matching stage and for the student’s career orientation.
These are participatory observations, the tutor does not act as an external observer but the observation takes place within activities that the tutor already carries out with the students and above all starts from an educational presence, from a relationship established with the student and the class group.
By informal moments we can mean the welcome in the morning and at the end of teaching activities, breaks, extracurricular moments (visits, trips, etc.) and all moments of educational accompaniment by the tutor.
The form for collecting the essential elements for observation is based on 6 areas:
- Cognitive/learning area;
- Professional area (workshops/stage);
- Motivation and orientation area;
- Relational area (adults/peers);
- Behavioural area;
- Area related to the care of spaces and materials.
The variables observed:
- Student’ s behaviour in the classroom (learning and relational styles).
- Observable changes in student’s behaviour.
- the relationships between peers and with adults.
- 2- Competences:
- learning of the discipline;
- the attitude towards it;
- the development of relational skills.
- 3- Context:
- Differentiation between formal and informal environments;
- the characteristics of the student (attitudes, inclinations, interests, learning difficulties);
- the characteristics of the class group (size, % men/women).
Activity 1B: Sharing observations in the team
Each of the activities in the tutor’s charge requires actions, reflections and decisions, all of which are always shared in the team (sometimes by all sectors, sometimes only by specific sector), in dedicated moments with the management and in the daily support and comparison, also informal, between colleagues.
As far as the sharing of observations is concerned, it takes place in formal moments (weekly tutor team, supervision, team with the management, CDC, etc.).
Observations are shared on the basis of the form and the observed variables divided into areas.
The observations are channelled into an initial profile of the student and the class regarding the areas so as to define which to focus on more in the educational work and which are strengths.
Observation and teamwork form the basis for the individual tutor’s decisions and actions.
Activity 1C: Definition of needs Educational-training objectives on the class and individual student
After classifying the observations, the educational-training needs and priority timeframes are defined together, also based on school activities.
This work is done on the class group and on the individual student. In the team, in particular, the needs of students who need more support are defined so as not to leave the individual tutor alone with the “burden” of certain choices.
In order to define the needs and the pathway to be offered to the class, discussions are held with the teachers of the classroom and technical-professional subjects in the relevant cdc.
Phase 2: Personalised student educational action
Personalisation of each student in Cometa means welcoming each student, accompanying him in his VET pathway with the aim of realising his uniqueness and excellence and as a concrete objective his educational success corresponding to each one in a different way according to his individual growth, human, educational and professional future needs.
Attention to each and everyone, offering: opportunities, care in educational relations, an inclusive environment, an educating community and the tools necessary to build one’s future. Cometa sets as a horizon of meaning not to leave anyone behind but to accompany each student along the path; all adults become educational figures and in particular the tutor is responsible for offering attention to each one in a strongly inclusive and wellbeing perspective. The tutor’s work is almost always a 1:1 educational work, which implies a substantial intervention in terms of both quantity of time and, above all, quality.
It therefore becomes a personalisation not only of the training and learning pathway but in general of the student’s growth within the VET pathway at 360° on all dimensions: motivational, behavioural, relational and work project.
The Cometa centre presents systemic and structural characteristics that are expressed in a personalisation at student, class and school level supported by a school community of adults based on common values.
Activity 2A: Student interviews at the beginning, middle and end of the year
The interview between the tutor and the student is one of the privileged moments for getting to know each other, for the relationship and the explication of the educational work arising from observation. It also becomes a tool for possibly redefining or confirming the needs that have emerged from the observations.
There are at least three defined interviews during the year (beginning – middle and end of the year) plus the internship interviews. Obviously, other structured and formal interviews are held as required, sometimes in the presence of other figures (headmaster, teachers, parents, external reference figures, company representatives, employment office, etc.). It is the tutor’s task to coordinate these figures and have them intervene in interviews as required.
There are also informal interviews, those that take place at times that are not predefined but are often rich in meaning for the purposes of the educational pathway. These are interviews that can take on the most motivational characteristics, sometimes introspective, others linked to career guidance; it is up to the tutor to use the right register depending on the situation. The interviews will be contextualised according to the motivation, which may relate to inappropriate behavioural situations or in a positive and rewarding perspective depending on what is happening in the student’s path.
Activity 2B: Coordination of learning recovery activities and study method work
Tutors can act as facilitators and organically coordinate learning recovery activities for individual students or small groups according to need. Teachers can approach the tutor to channel requests and needs, to discuss and decide how to plan interventions in extracurricular or school hours. Requests may also emerge from the tutor, who proceeds to discuss and dialogue with the student and the teachers of reference. Sometimes, the request comes directly from the students. In addition to remedial work, these activities may also concern the study method for the students in question or be dedicated to specific subjects.
Activity 2 C: Customised projects
For some categories of students, in Italian school legislation, there is the possibility of BES classification and ‘customisation’. The acronym BES stands for Bisogni Educativi Speciali (Special Educational Needs) and refers to special educational and customised teaching needs that certain students may have, even if only for a limited period of time, and for whom special tailor-made interventions are prepared. It is a specific, recognised and protective customisation for the student and is decided and agreed at class council level. The tutor remains the “special observer” of these situations with regard to needs, strategies and the pathway followed, all this always in synergy with all the other reference figures and in particular the teachers.
Activity 2D: Student network relations: parents, educational figures, possible as.
The tutor becomes “director” of the creation and maintenance of the network supporting the student, particularly in situations of fragility. The purpose of the network is to establish an educational pact, to collaborate and support the coherence of the student’s VET pathway by identifying needs, concrete actions, synergies and observing the evolution of the subject.
In particular, the tutors constantly meet with the family to understand the more general problems the student is experiencing or any useful information. Problems of a relational-emotional as well as scholastic nature emerge the most. The relationship with the family also has a positive value in referring the student’s path in all its educational aspects, professional orientation and excellence in some areas.
In special situations, the subjects in the network with whom the tutor deals can also be social services, health services (neuropsychiatry, psychomotricity, etc.), extracurricular educational services.
Activity 2E: Sending students to the psychological listening desk
When the dialogue with tutors or teachers reveals psychological difficulties and the student is not externally followed, the school provides an internal psychological help desk which the student can access anonymously. The referral is made by the tutor and the student is assured that it will not be communicated to anyone else.
Activity 2F: Specific interventions on behavioural situations
When particularly significant and sensitive behavioural situations occur, the tutor discusses them with the Headmaster in the first instance, but the actions and interventions to be carried out are discussed and decided in supervision. Actions are not decided by the individual tutor but always discussed and shared. The tutor keeps track in the student’s file of what emerges.
Activity 2G: management of each student’s placement
In general, in the VET pathway, the management of the work placement is to be considered one of the tutor’s activities with a view to the personalization and inclusion of the student, since it is a very articulated and complex activity, it is a separate practice (see work placement management practice).
Phase 3: Personalised educational action on the class group
As seen in the previous actions, the differentiation and taking charge of the individual student in his pathway takes place individually but also at the level of the class group. Developing meaningful learning and wellbeing paths for the student cannot be separated from work on the class group. Class group understood as an educational tool and as a recipient for the professional field of reference, implementing it through activities, interest, motivation, skills, training experiences. By working on the positive of the class group one consequently works on stemming and not letting negative group dynamics occur that have consequences on individuals (especially the most fragile).
Educational work that also starts from the excellence of the class group, which includes all students with their own talents and in which one is supported and not limited by the group.
This work on the class group is mainly coordinated by the tutor but becomes a way of working for the entire teaching staff. The work starts with observation (phase 1) and is translated into planning, actions and activities in the class council with the consultation of all the teachers (basic subjects, technical-professional subjects, co-teachers, tutors, headmaster).
Activity 3A: Class socialisation
This section of activities includes all the more or less structured moments that the tutor organises with the class or with groups in the class. The activities are aimed at achieving the objectives of the class group defined on the basis of needs and with reference also to the annuality. Socialisation activities are more present in the first two years of the VET pathway. They are proposed by the tutor, some by the teachers and always approved by the Principal.
Activity 3B: Educational outings in the professional sphere
The educational trips in the professional field and the interventions of professionals in the classroom take place already in the first year, during the subsequent years they become more specific with regard to the course the class is taking and also on the basis of interests expressed by the students in the professional sector These activities are especially proposed and planned with the technical-professional teachers. Initially, the focus is on the reference sector in their area, in order to make it known, enhance it and create future collaborations.
The territory will be the main vocational outlet for the students. In subsequent years (3rd-4th years), regional and national realities are also made known. Very interesting activities are those of competitions or contests in the sector of reference, they become an excellent training and educational tool for the students accompanied by the teachers and tutors both in their participation and in the re-elaboration of the experience.
Activity 3C: Outgoing and classroom orientation meetings
For the third and fourth year classes, ad hoc moments are created with the VET centre employment office to provide tools, information, interviews on outgoing orientation. The personal orientation moments of each student are important (e.g. internships), but interesting activities are developed at the class group level where comparison and peer support are very effective; e.g. mock interviews have a great formative impact if carried out in the class group accompanied by comparisons and self-assessments.
Tutor is a professional figure who operates within VET centres with a humanistic-holistic approach, supports career orientation and student welfare.
The educational tutor can be defined as a particular knowledge worker who, generally operating within a formal educational institution on the basis of a specific educational project, accompanies the learners of a training course in the learning process centred on social and emotional aspects.
In the Cometa VET centre, this role has a various educational character. The tutor is the point of reference for one or two classes in the school – with an average of 25 students per class – and is responsible for supporting each student’s learning process from an inclusive and customised perspective according to the educational project of each individual and the class group.
The work of the tutors focuses on three processes/dimensions:
- Educational relationship;
- Mediation between school and family, teacher and student;
- Mediation between school – work – student (curricular internship).
The tutor is a figure required by regional regulations concerning the implementation of curricular internships and is responsible for guiding the process of their implementation, accompanying the student along the pathway to achieve the educational objective.
In summary, the tutor’s objective is the educational success of the individual student and the class group through integral human development that activates the individual’s agency.
The reports allow careful monitoring of the student’s progress (activities, behaviour, learning aspects, interviews, absences, measures, etc.) and of the class group. ) and of the class group.
Listed below are some tools that accompany the tutor’s work, particularly with a view to personalisation.
- CoC report
- report of interviews
- Team report
- Personalised Training Plan
- Individual student portfolio
- Stage documents (Personalised Dossier; evaluation surveys; monitoring)
- Case studies/supervision reports.
The tutor does not have an ad hoc office, he is the “classroom tutor”. His or her activities take place in various spaces in the VET centre, mainly in the spaces experienced by the students during school hours: classroom, gymnasium, laboratories.
Outside school hours: secretary’s office, common areas, teachers’ rooms, companies.
The tutoring work also makes use of informal venues: school-to-gym trips, educational cafeteria during breaks, educational outings, company visits, etc.