(2) The Community-Wide Importance of Personalized Education

In this section, the author considers specific goals to which education can aim. Previously, it was determined that education fills certain needs – especially emotional and developmental needs. Here, the fruits of fulfillment are closely examined and specific examples are given for reference. Still, the paper has not considered the educational value of such education systems. This is where the next section will begin.

Mentoring programs are effective because they encourage highly personal relationships between disadvantaged youth and a caring role model.  Through guided academic problem-solving exercises, troubled adolescents can learn to “better negotiate life’s difficulties” (Keating 717).  By spending “quality time” with a student, mentors can also reinforce the student’s confidence and motivation, as was earlier predicted.  For these reasons, individualized mentoring programs are “growing at a rapid pace” across the country (717).  One education-based, youth correctional facility in Oregon was “successful” primarily because it was “highly individualized” (Conlon 49).  In reviewing this, one can begin to notice the developmental advantages that come from supplemental, personalized tutoring.

Compared with general education courses, personalized tutoring more holistically addresses students’ individual needs, especially in special-needs cases, such as those students with emotional and behavioral disorders.  In one 2012 study, the benefits of step-by-step, teacher reinforcement was evaluated across a panel of elementary students troubled with EBD, MMD, ODD, ADHD, and PTSD.  The “results of this study support[ed] the use of this intervention,” which was highly personalized (Alter 63).  Educators took the time to understand factors that encouraged their students “to become active agents in their own learning” (Gilman qtd. in Areepattamannil 248).  This was the “critical” step in guiding disabled students to become “responsible and critically thinking citizens.” Unfortunately, such education is impossible in many large-classroom environments in Lincoln.  With the need for one-on-one encouragement and advice, small-scale tutoring seems an obvious solution.

Small-scale tutoring can be initiated by trusted adults, or even by knowledgeable and willing peers.  Researchers have “extensively examined” the second of these two possibilities “as a strategy” for individualized instruction (McDonnell 142).  In the case of severely disabled middle school students, John McDonnell found that one multifaceted peer tutoring program improved academic achievement and diminished cases of negative behavior as a general trend (157).  One particular student demonstrated a 58.4% spike in academic response and a 39.4% drop in adverse behavior in her history class (155).  The magnitude of such benefits may warrant Lincoln’s attention, especially in high-risk cases.

Personalized tutoring meets a struggling student’s basic needs.  Especially among the disabled, students need the leadership and guidance to “recognize and isolate their problems” (Arasteh 40).  Tutors can model an approach to problem solving and explain a student’s shortcomings. In addition to providing academic assistance, tutors can also serve as motivators and hold kids accountable.  As one tutor said in the New York Times, young people often complete “way more work just because there is a body in front of them” (Rich).  Without a reminder to stay on track, students with learning and attention deficit disorders are prone to wander from their given tasks.  This is especially true with multi-step problems such as word problems in mathematics.

Works Cited

Alter, Peter. “Helping Students With Emotional And Behavioral Disorders Solve Mathematics Word Problems.” Preventing School Failure 56.1 (2012): 55. MasterFILE Complete. Web. 8 Mar. 2016.

Arasteh, Hamidreza, and Sayed Saeid Kashfi. “Identifying Prevention Methods To Reduce Students’ Delinquency In Boys’ Middle Schools In Tehran.” Journal Of Instructional Psychology 40.1-4 (2013): 35. MasterFILE Complete. Web. 7 Mar. 2016.

Areepattamannil, Shaljan. “Relationship Between Academic Motivation And Mathematics Achievement Among Indian Adolescents In Canada And India.” Journal Of General Psychology 141.3 (2014): 247. MasterFILE Complete. Web. 8 Mar. 2016.

Conlon, Bill, et al. “Education: Don’t Leave Prison Without It.” Corrections Today 70.1 (2008): 48. MasterFILE Complete. Web. 2 Mar. 2016.

Keating, Lisa M., et al. “The Effects Of A Mentoring Program On At-Risk Youth.” Adolescence 37.148 (2002): 717. MasterFILE Complete. Web. 7 Mar. 2016.

McDonnell, John, Connie Mathot-Buckner, and Nadine Thorson. “Supporting The Inclusion Of Students With Moderate And Severe Disabilities In Junior High School General Education Classes: The Effects Of Classwide Peer Tutoring, Multi-Element Curriculum, And Accommodations.” Education & Treatment Of Children 24.2 (2001): 141. MasterFILE Complete. Web. 7 Mar. 2016.

Rich, Motoko. “Intensive Small-Group Tutoring and Counseling Helps Struggling Students.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 26 Jan. 2014. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.