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Using Pen Pals to Enhance Tutoring

Sometimes, it is essential to provide students with additional perspectives, besides the tutor's. As I tutor more and more, I realize that even with the one-on-one benefits of tutoring, there is a need for interaction with other students. However, the problem is, there are no other students to provide this feedback when you are tutoring a student. I have found that creating relationships with other students is a remarkable enhancement to the tutoring experience.

I have used Pen Pals to meet this need. There are a variety of websites that offer pen pals for different purposes. If I am tutoring a student in Social Studies, Geography or History, a Pen Pal is an amazing resource for FREE and REAL information about the study topics. This is usually an exciting concept that is well-received by the student because they thrive with interactions with others and they think it's amazing to connect with people like them all around the world! Using the right resources for this is essential, so I suggest that tutors spend some time locating the right program for their needs. Usually, those that are dedicated to teachers offer the most security and less potential for spam and unwanted leaks of information to the Web. Additionally, these sites allow the tutor more access to hand-picking the pen pals for their needs. The greatest benefit for this type of tutoring lesson is the ability to focus on the writing skills of the student while not needing to create writing assignments for the sake of writing! This makes the students more likely to give their effort to their tasks AND it allows the tutor to challenge the student to become eloquent in their writing efforts because it is directed at a "friend". I encourage tutors to give this a try in Foreign Languages, Writing, History and Social Studies, ESOL... actually, the possibilities are endless! I'd love to know how YOU are using Pen Pals in your tutoring!