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Subject:

Re: mandatory tutoring

From:

Shevawn Eaton <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 15 Oct 2008 11:09:41 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (87 lines)

When I first came to this institution, SI was mandatory for students in developmental mathematics.  The program provided no rewards or penalties for attendance.  In my opinion, that was NOT a mandatory program and just made us look a little pathetic with students.  Within a week or two, they quickly figured out== Mandatory.  HA!  

Now, you should know, I'm not a big fan of mandatory tutoring.  It is like teaching a pig to sing.  OFten, with unwilling participants, all you do is annoy the student and waste the tutor's time. If students don't want to participate in tutoring, they WON'T and it becomes one more way for them to withdraw from academics.  I also found that it created an attitude in students that just wasn't healthy in the tutoring environment.  Many students felt marginalized by it, feeling singled out because they weren't as SMART as their peers.   I've also seen this behavior in some of the tutoring group sessions that are required of athletes.  They are there in body, but not always in mind.  That can be disruptive and frustrating for others in the group.

My preaching on this issue eventually got rid of the policy in SI.  We now have voluntary attendance in developmental math SI, and I have not seen a huge difference in attendance from the "mandatory, HA! phase to now.  Attendance is still very highly correlated with the approachability and motivation of the SI Leader and the support of the instructor.  In some cases, instructors give bonus points to students for going to SI, but not all of them feel comfortable with that, and we don't push it.  In many of those instructors courses, attendance in SI is better, but that is just as likely to be because these are generally motivating student-oriented instructors to begin with.   

In both our developmental communication course and our developmental English course, they have a lab as part of their courses, and students are scheduled to participate in those activities as well.  In English, former developmental students with strong writing skills are hired as tutors and paired with a particular developmental English instructor.  Students from that instructor's sections are required to see that specific tutor in the "writers workshop" for work related to current assignments and areas where they need to develop better skills based on prior work.  Our developmental students often become very attached to writers workshop and many use those services throughout their career  In that case, students view the tutoring as a seamless part of the English course and a necessary, positive part of becoming effective writers.

For communication (speech), students are required to attend the lab and work with specific instructors assigned there on organizing and rehearsing speeches.  The connection of the lab and course is not as seamless as in English, but students find it very helpful in overcoming their fear of speaking by developing more effective speeches and getting an opportunity to practice speaking in the lab environment. 

So for me, when you say MANDATORY, you need to be really careful about what you mean.  That term is powerless if used as a stick, but it can have great effect if used in a creative and positive way.    

Hope that helps.  


Shevawn Eaton, Ph.D.
Director, ACCESS/ESP
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115
PH: (815) 753-0581
www.tutoring.niu.edu 
[log in to unmask] 

FAX: (815) 753-4115


>>> Karyn Schulz <[log in to unmask]> 10/14/2008 2:58 PM >>>
HI friends

 

I have been asked to discuss mandatory tutoring and want to gather as
much information as possible. Please feel free to respond off-list at
[log in to unmask] 

 

I'm looking primarily to answer the following questions:

 

1.    Do you have mandatory tutoring?

a.    If so, for a particular population? Discipline?

2.    How do you enforce mandatory tutoring?

3.    How do you determine who is mandated to use tutoring?

 

Thank you!

 

Karyn L. Schulz, Ed.D.

Interim Director

Disability Services

University of Baltimore

Division of Student Affairs

P: (410) 837-4141

F: (410) 837-4932

[log in to unmask] 

 


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