Homework helpline matches struggling preK-12 students with teachers-in-training

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Students studying to become teachers at Texas A&M University are helping preK-12 students with their online classes and homework through a new homework helpline launched last week.

The Aggie Homework Helpline not only gives university students the opportunity to gain experience teaching and understanding curriculum, but also helps younger students who are struggling with school, especially in the new online format widely adopted during the pandemic.

“Going back to school looks and feels different across Texas this year. Families need homework help for their children and Aggie undergraduate students are motivated, adaptive and committed to selfless service,” Valerie Hill-Jackson, professor and assistant dean of educator preparation at A&M, said in a press release. “The helpline is a natural partnership and central to the college’s mission to support communities and provide transformational learning experiences for our undergraduates.”

University leaders said the helpline offers three types of support to help students succeed in their online classes: on-demand tutoring, regular tutoring sessions and an online bank of video mini-lessons and resources aligned with the state’s education standards.

In on-demand tutoring sessions, education interns support elementary, middle and high school students in most subject areas, including math, English, Spanish, science, social studies, research skills, time management and organization. Students seeking homework help will also have the ability to share their screens and send photos of homework pages to get homework-specific assistance from A&M students studying to become teachers.

The video lessons available to students include read-alouds, mini lessons, guides to skill development, and resources will also support English language learners and students with special needs, university leaders said.

Although the helpline was created to help families during the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual tutoring will be helpful to students even once they return to normal in-person classes, Hill-Jackson said. COVID-19 has pushed educators to reimagine how to provide students with support and will forever change how students can access resources and help to succeed in their classes, she said.

Other universities have also set up programs to help K-12 students and educators navigate the new landscape of online education, including Florida International University’s webinar series for K-12 educators, Arizona State University’s K-12 educator training institute and Sacramento State University’s remote student teaching program.

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