The way we have solved "the content problem" is to have the
instructor recommend the peer tutor (in writing). This guarantees
that the tutor is a known quantity in specific subject matter for a
specific course--not just math, etc.


> Date sent:      Tue, 10 Dec 1996 10:39:51 -0500
> From:           Georgine Materniak <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject:        Re: Peer Tutorial Programs
> To:             [log in to unmask]
> Send reply to:  Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
>                 <[log in to unmask]>

> Monica's distinction between skills expertise and content expertise is
> something I'm currently examining in relation to my own program.
> As a Learning Skills Center, I view our role as one of assisting students
> with skills that are necessary to learn content.  Our expertise is in the
> process of learning, not in content per se.  Tutors at the LSC must
> demonstrate that they have achieved a level of content expertise.  Our
> training supplements that content knowledge with training in learning
> strategies and process skills.  In other words, training focuses on
> teaching how to learn and not on the content to be learned.  Training
> links the process with the content knowledge the trainees already possess.
> Recently, one of our departments has indicated that there is to be a
> significant change in the curriculum and pedagogy of a developmental level
> course for which we provide individual and group tutoring.  The department
> has said this change will require tutor training that will be specific to
> the new course.  Since our training has been successful in training
> students for roles across content areas, this would be a major shift in
> our current training approach. It has brought to my mind the question, at
> what point is content-driven training the responsiblity of the academic
> department or the responsibility of the learning center?
> I would appreciate hearing your answers to this question.  By the way, our
> program is a student service, not an academic department as a point of
> information.
> Georgine Materniak
> University of Pittsburgh
> Learning SKills Center