TEENS TUTOR PEERS ONLINE TO FILL NEED DURING PANDEMIC
AppleMagazine|AppleMagazine #482
When her suburban Dallas high school was forced to move online last spring because of the coronavirus pandemic, Charvi Goyal realized that the schoolmates she’d been informally tutoring between classes would still need extra help but wouldn’t necessarily be able to get it. So she took her tutoring online, as well.

Goyal, a 17-year-old high school junior from Plano, roped in three classmates to create TutorScope, a free tutoring service run by high schoolers for other kids, including younger ones. What started with a handful of instructors helping friends’ siblings in their hometown has blossomed into a group of 22 tutors from Texas, Arizona, and Ohio that has helped more than 300 students from as far away as South Korea.

“I could foresee that schools were going to go virtual. And with that there were a couple of problems because the interactions between students and students, and students and teachers would be weakened,” Goyal said.

TutorScope provides the one-on-one support that teachers have traditionally given while roving the aisles of their classrooms but now often can’t because of the time and technology constraints posed by online schooling.

On a night near the end of the fall semester, tutor Avi Bagchi worked with 7-year-old twins Monika and Massey Newman on a reading comprehension lesson about discerning between fact and opinion. During their half-hour video chat, the 16-year-old Plano West Senior High School student provided the children from nearby Corinth with examples — it’s a fact that the pen is red but an opinion if one doesn’t like it — and reined them in when they got off topic a bit: Can’t it be a fact that someone holds an opinion?

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