BGSU-led tutoring camps connect pre-service teachers and K-12 students for back-to-school prep

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – As one of the largest producers of teacher education graduates in Ohio, Bowling Green State University ensures its pre-service teachers are prepared to provide the best education possible through formative and comprehensive experiences in K-12 classrooms.

This summer, the BGSU College of Education and Human Development’s after-school tutoring program, BGSU TIME (Tutoring in Math and English/Language Arts), helped students re-engage with STEM subject material prior to classes beginning, an effort that’s paying dividends for both students and BGSU pre-service teachers.

The program, which is possible through an Ohio Statewide Math and Literacy Tutoring Grant, provides paid tutoring positions to University students for a part-time job relevant to their major, while at the same time providing key services to K-12 students in partner districts.

Dr. Thomas Roberts, an associate professor and PK-5 co-coordinator at BGSU, said the camps were a chance to help local students sharpen their skills before entering a new grade.

“The district partners who were interested in collaborating with us were specifically interested in providing students with an academic experience near the end of the summer year to help students ‘gear up’ for the school year to come,” Roberts said. “The BGSU STEM TIME camps used high-quality children’s literature to provide an authentic context for some review of foundational reading comprehension and vocabulary while also setting the stage for STEM challenges.

“Students had to use design thinking and apply math and science concepts to solve problems as a team, supporting their social and emotional learning as well.”

Each day, pre-service teachers worked together to plan lessons, which provided them with real-world experience as they adapted on the fly while working with teams of six students each.

The opportunity allowed pre-service teachers to gain experience in student-centered pedagogy as they explored student learning in a classroom setting before becoming student teachers as part of their BGSU coursework.

Dr. Kate Brodeur, a BGSU associate professor and the coordinator of the Graduate Reading Program, said University students gain noticeable confidence from the experience.

“Our pre-service teachers have come back with observable confidence and willingness to take leadership roles,” Brodeur said. “Many of them are currently student teaching and others have returned to work as after-school tutors. There is a lot less hesitation as they jump right into their work with a stronger understanding of how important initial relationship-building with students is to set the foundation for learning.”

As both pre-service teachers and K-12 students returned to classes, experience gained and relationships built in the summer carried into the new school year. 

“With our after-school tutoring, we also see students who participated in the BGSU STEM TIME camps excited to stay after school and work with tutors,” Brodeur said. “This is a reflection of the strong relationships and engaging lessons our pre-service teachers implemented in the summer, and is a great example of the impact of intentionally emphasizing social and emotional learning in our program.”

Updated: 10/16/2023 10:22AM