The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Disruption to Education during COVID-19: An Innovative Tutoring Program to Support Teacher Candidates

Wendy Cukier, Diversity Institute, Toronto Metropolitan University (Canada)

Lindsay Coppens, Diversity Institute, Toronto Metropolitan University (Canada)

Vivian Leung, Diversity Institute, Toronto Metropolitan University (Canada)


The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted education across the globe, with school closures and a shift to teaching and learning online [1]. Due to new challenges from virtual learning, such as access to reliable internet, digital competency, and new teaching pedagogies and assessment methods, students’ academic outcomes were largely affected, especially for equity-deserving students [2] [3]. Tutoring programs alleviated educational disparities and learning loss, with few that are designed to support equity-deserving students [4] [5]. Studies have examined the positive impacts of tutoring on students’ learning outcomes, academic achievement, and engagement [4]; however, little research has shed light on teacher candidates (TCs) who provide tutoring services. TCs are important stakeholders in the educational pipeline and online learning halted in-person teaching requirements for their certification [6]. This study explores the experiences of TCs in Ontario, Canada, who participated in an online tutoring program, Study Buddy, from September 2020 to December 2021. Study Buddy was developed by the Diversity Institute at Toronto Metropolitan University to provide free, one-on-one tutoring, primarily to equity-deserving families, while also allowing TCs to obtain teaching hours and experience. A mixed-methods approach was used to analyze registration and post-program surveys, as well as end of placement tutor feedback to highlight successes and challenges of TCs in the program. Findings indicate that Study Buddy enabled TCs to continue their journey to be educators by providing work-integrated learning opportunities, gaining interpersonal, teaching, and learning skills and developing a deeper understanding of the educational challenges faced by equity-deserving students.



COVID-19; education; tutoring; teacher candidates; inequity



[1] Pokhrel, S., & Chhetri, R. (2021). Higher Education for the Future, 8(1), 133-141.

[2] Gallagher-Mackay, K., Srivastava, P., Underwood, K., Dhuey, E., McCready, L., Born, K. B., Maltsev, A., Perkhun, A., Steiner, R., Barrett, K., & Sander, B. (2021). COVID-19 and education disruption in Ontario: Emerging evidence on impacts. Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table.

[3] Hargreaves, A. (2021). What the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us about teachers and teaching. Facets (Ottawa), 6, 1835–1863.

[4] Gallagher-Mackay, K., Mundy, K., Feitosa de Britto, T., & Asim, M. (2022, March). The evidence for tutoring to accelerate learning and address educational inequities during Canada’s pandemic recovery. Diversity Institute and Future Skills Centre.">

[5] Carlana, M., & La Ferrara, E. (2021). Apart but connected: Online tutoring and student outcomes during COVID-19 pandemic. In Policy File. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

[6] Esra, T., Bayir, Ö, Ö., & Sabhiha, D. (2022). Teaching practicum during the Covid-19 Pandemic: A comparison of the practices in different countries. International Journal of Progressive Education, 18(2), 72-86.


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