Hi, all -

We have a lot of developmental and remedial students at our two year
college.  I wrote the following exercise to help our student tutors
put themselves in their shoes.  I let them know right off that we were doing
something different that might challenge their emotions and temper.  I
explained that all would become clear later.

This exercise is in two parts.  The first is the actual "game" that I call
"Follow the Directions."  The second part is the discussion  of feelings,
comparing them to how our students feel in the classroom, how they feel in
tutor sessions, and how they feel in general.

I also brought in aspects of prior workshops.

This was a good workshop that did make some tutors stop and think.
(Naturally, the results pretty much follow a bell curve.)

Part One:

Marching in place and facing straight ahead, do the following:

Go straight ahead one tiny step

Turn right Ė take two tiny steps

Turn left Ė take two tiny steps

Turn right Ė take two tiny steps

Turn left Ė take two tiny steps

Turn right Ė take two tiny steps

Go straight ahead until I tell you to stop

1. Matt, Brian, Jeremy, and Diane may stop now.

2. Everyone else continue marching ahead.

3. (Students:  We canít.) (I had them marching into a wall.)

4. Why not?  You have to keep going.  Thatís what I've told you to do.  You
have to continue ahead.

5. (Students:  We canít.)  Me:  Why not?

6. (Students:  Thereís a wall.)

7. Well, how does that make you feel?How do you feel about me?

8. How do you feel about the people watching you?

9. What if I told you that you that every day when you come to class, you
will have to continue marching ahead until you catch up.  In the meantime,
the rest of us will be marching around the halls.  Weíll be solving other
equations and doing graphs.

10. How does that make you feel?

Okay, game over.  Letís all go back in the room.  (Let everyone has sat

Be sure and put a dot on.  If you think you need more than one for that go
ahead!  (I had tutors put "self-stick dots" on if they actively participated
in the workshop.  Then, I gave out prizes at athe end of the workshop.  The
one with the most dots got to choose first, and so on.)

Letís discuss what just happened.  Intentionally, I left out one step for
some of you.  That was to demonstrate what happens when every step is not
followed.  People get left behind.  Often, they can never catch up, no
matter what they do. You all hit a wall literally. They also hit a wall.
And just like you, they canít move ahead, no matter what they do.

Letís discuss how that made people feel.

Everyone write down one feeling on a sheet of paper.  Now hold them up.
Read your answer.  Who would like to volunteer to write those answers on the
board?  Ediany?

1. frustrated
2. mad
3. angry at the instructor
(Did you wonder why I wouldnít help you?)
4. helpless
5. humiliated

What about those of you watching.  How did it make you feel?
1. helpless
2. sad
3. wanting to help
4. superior

Weíve done this to show what itís like for students who missed a step, for
whatever reason.  Sometimes, the step missed was long, long ago Ė grade
school even.

For example, in English, if a student never learned about subjects, verbs,
and objects, the student will never be able to formulate sentences.  If they
canít form sentences, they canít write paragraphs.  If they canít write
paragraphs, they canít write a research paper.  Many of our students who
have trouble writing papers have never learned about sentence structure.
Even something so basic as subjects, verbs, and objects.  How do you think
they feel in college?

In math, if a student missed a step in a formula, they will never get the
correct answer.

In science, if they miss a step concerning atoms, molecules, protons, etc.,
they will never be able to comprehend chemistry.

Steps matter.  Dull.  Boring.  Excruciating.  Steps.  One little bit at a

Sometimes, thatís what you will be reinforcing in your tutoring.  Following
each step.  You will be your studentís guide.  Instead of teaching them math
or English or chemistry, etc., you can guide them to better study skills.
You can guide them to following each tiny step.

Thatís not all tutoring is about.  Tutoring is lots of things.  If you
remember the film from last week, youíll remember that tutors were:
1. teachers (only when you HAVE to explain something)
2. guides (most of the time)
3. counselors (in that you will be demonstrating listening skills)

There are many ways of tutoring.  Probably as many ways as there are people.
  THATís what tutoring is all about.  Itís about reaching people.

About two weeks ago, we discussed one of the most important characteristic
of tutors.  What is that?  (PATIENCE)  And what did we say was our main

This means you, as a tutor, want to give up control of the session as much
as possible.  Does that mean letting students ramble?  (NO)  Does that mean
letting students talk about their personal life or problems?  (NO)  Well,
what does it mean?  What do you think?  Anybody?

Yes.  Yes.  Good.  It means letting the student take the lead.  Let them
tell you what problems theyíre having.  Youíll need to lead them.  Ask them
questions.  "Can you tell me a little bit more about the problems youíre
having.  Can you show me in your book?"
It means letting them explain things back to you.  Ask them to explain the
math problem to you.  Youíll discover the problems theyíre having.  Let them
explain whatís right or wrong about their English paper.  On the computer,
after you show them how to do something, then immediately ask them to show

Not only does that reinforce the subject matter to the student, but if they
canít explain it, then youíll know they need more help of some kind on that

What kind of help can we offer?  One thing we can do is to refer students to
other resources we have in the department.  Remember that you can use these
materials in your tutoring sessions.

Donít think of these materials as separate objects.  Think of them as
extensions of yourself.  Think of them as your tools.  Think about how you
can use them in tutoring sessions.

As we do this, remember that some students will benefit most from tutoring.
Some students will want tutoring and other help.  Some students will need
tutoring and other help, but may not always realize that.  You will be able
to recognize when to refer students to our other resources.

Two weeks ago, we discussed various learning styles.  You can use those to
your advantage and to your studentís advantage during tutoring sessions.
You can also use learning styles to guide students to other resources.

Why do you want to refer students to other resources?

Discuss.  Write on board.

Okay.  Right.  We want students to become independent learners.  One way to
do this is for students to realize that THEY can get knowledge by
themselves.  That they have many options of getting more knowledge.  That
POWER is in them.

(Pass out subject material.)

Letís discuss your assignment.  Did everyone look at some material in his or
her subject area.


1. What did you think about it?
2. Did you like it for yourself?
3. Would you recommend it to anyone?
4. Why or why not?

Jelaine McCamish
Instructional Specialist
Learning Skills Center
Owensboro Community College
4800 New Hartford Road
Owensboro, KY  42303
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(270) 686-4469

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