Publication Date

2020

Abstract

This study focuses on a homework program where an Australian University partnered with a school to support children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Undergraduate tutors, paired with a child each semester, provided weekly learning support. This exploratory study aimed to understand the experiences of the children participating in the program and any benefits received. Nineteen children participated in activity‐based focus groups, and seven undergraduate tutors participated in one‐on‐one interviews. Overarching themes identified were as follows: making homework club enjoyable, program outcomes, tutor–child relationship and transitioning to a new tutor. Although children were required to do homework they usually avoided, the task was made less onerous and even enjoyable because of the relationship the children had with their tutor, the support received and new skills learnt. The tutor–child relationship was deeply valued, with the tutor's role going beyond instructional support to also providing social and emotional support and a sense of belonging in line with Social Support Theory. Both the children and tutors expressed contrasting views about the experience of children transitioning to a new tutor each semester and this departs from the extant literature. The challenges related to the loss of connection, while positive aspects concerned the opportunity to make new friends and learn from different teaching styles. Given these contrasting findings, it is worth considering how the transition process can be managed and explained to children and increase the chances of positive adaptation. Despite the relatively short‐term nature of the tutor–child relationship, the children expressed clear academic, social and emotional benefits. The findings suggest that semester‐based university–school homework tutoring programs can be effective despite their short‐term nature, provided due consideration is given to the transition process. These findings address the paucity of research exploring short‐term programs of this nature.

Document Type

Journal Article

Access Rights

ERA Access

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