Hi Kelly et al.,
I hope that everyone is enjoying a Happy Thanksgiving and has put aside paperwork for the day to reflect on our blessings instead.
You already heard from Saundra and Nic, whose opinions I would solicit.
Creating a transformational environment, in my experience, is a multi-step process that includes training your tutors to be less concerned about an assignment than the material the student is learning including how that student ideally learns
and why (beyond the given that it's part of a class) the student needs to know it. An Accounting tutor is likely to approach differently a student struggling with Accounting 101 if they are an Accounting major vs. a Music Industries major, for example, who
doesn't understand why they are in this course as a requirement. Being able to help the student envision an application for what they are learning moves away from transactional and into transformative, which means that tutors need to learn to connect with
the students they are helping and reorient at times the benefits of learning this information.
Using a metacognitive approach that also takes into account how that student learns is crucial.
The next step is to move away from the assigned material and instead focus on the concepts and processes the student is learning by using examples external to the material for practice and reinforcement. An added benefit is that most faculty
feel more comfortable sending you their students if they understand that you are not doing the work for the students or commenting on the faculty member's grading. When you take this approach, the students are forced to pay better attention so that they can
apply those concepts and processes independently on their homework assignments and exams after the tutoring session ends.
On the writing side of the fence, you want well-trained tutors, ideally professionals, as you are assisting students in identifying patterns of errors in their writing and prompting them to correct those errors after you do short mini lessons.
For example, a student experiencing issues with comma splices will do a mini lesson on what constitutes a comma splice, where and when you do need a comma and why, and hints to look for a problem applicatipn and fix it. Then that student should be redirected
to their paper by the tutor so that the student can see where they continue to make this error and fix it. Helping students develop their ideas is important as well, and again I promote graduate students and professional tutors over undergraduates here as
I find that more experienced tutors with a classroom background are better about not crossing the line in terms of inserting the tutor's ideas versus helping the student develop their thoughts in addition to being better versed in a writing style and types
of documentation. Again, the focus is on helping students identify and learn the material and various applications, short-term and long-term, not proofreading or telling the student that something is wrong without giving them the skill set to fix it.
Going through some of these processes require revamping your training curriculum, reinforcing these approaches at preterm meetings and training sessions, gently reinforcing it as you walk through tutoring spaces and hear students pressuring
the tutor to just help them with problem number three or proofreading an essay, marketing to students this new approach so they know to plan for longer and more engaged sessions and how they will benefit, and marketing to faculty and staff so that they know
what to expect when their students visit your center.
If you want to ask any other questions about how I took this approach in my last position in particular, feel free to reach out. I will tell you that by using this approach and a strong marketing campaign we increased our utilization levels
500% in 4 years and saw phenomenal increases in outcomes.
Debbie Malewicki, M.A.
Integrity 1st Learning Support Solutions, LLC
Email: [log in to unmask]
Cell: (475) 238-5635
Office: (203) 800-4100
Throughout the Fall semester, I have been lucky enough to participate in our Chancellor’s Leadership Academy. One theme that has often emerged is the difference between transformational interactions vs. transactional interactions with students.
While some things at the college/university are, by nature, transactional… in learning assistance programs, we are really in a position where most of what we do can/should be geared towards being transformational.
I am curious as to how your learning assistance programs are transformational. Can you point to particular practices that are geared to ensuring a transformational experience for students? I am becoming more and more aware of this need
within our campus community, and would love to make it more, more, more!
Thanks for any ideas or thoughts you might care to share.
Kelly Askey lodes
| Peer/Group Tutoring & Study Skills Development Supervisor
Academic Support Center at Florissant Valley
3400 Pershall Rd.| St.
Louis, MO 63135 |voice 314.513.4073 | email
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