Current research, like this study from the University of Calgary, demonstrates measurable gains in learning when peer tutoring systems are employed in educational programs.
Proctor's extensive learning support systems through the Learning Skills Department, seek to empower students with the tools necessary to drive their own learning. While the success of Proctor's tutorial program speaks for itself, academic support systems on campus are not limited to those offered through the third floor of the Fowler Learning Center.
For years, student-led tutoring programs have afforded students the opportunity to learn from peers in a variety of disciplines. World Language tutorials have often proven most successful as native speaking students have frequently offered their expertise to others in need of personalized attention. This winter, the Math Department launched its Math First Aid program on Tuesday,Thursday and Friday evenings prior to study hall. The aim of the program is to provide informal, student-led math extra help.
Attendees at Math First Aid vary from ninth graders struggling with Algebra 1 to seniors seeking assistance in AP Calculus, all sharing the same goal: to feel more confident in their math skills in a non-threatening environment. The following clip from Ethney McMahon's most recent video provides a glimpse into what goes on during Math First Aid each evening.
Ironically, the research linked above notes that in peer tutorial situations, the greatest learning actually takes place from the student doing the teaching. Accordingly, peer-tutoring provides a mutually beneficial experience for all involved as students not only learn the material well enough to succeed on an assignment, but to teach others the concepts.
Busy class, activity, and residential life schedules curb the number of different semi-structured tutorial activities offered each term, however, the egalitarian nature of the student body encourages informal collaborative learning regardless of 'clique' or grade.
Whether this culture of student-led learning emerges through clubs like Proctor ID or through peer tutorial programs, Proctor seeks to foster a responsibility among its students to share knowledge with others. When students 'own' their learning to the degree of teaching peers content, we can be assured lasting learning takes place.
Proctor's academic program enables students in all ranges of classes to seek support and extra help when needed.
Both formal support systems (like the Learning Skills program) and informal tutoring by peers allow students to further explore the content they are learning in classes.
The unique, egalitarian social structure among students allows students seeking extra help to approach peer tutoring as a non-threatening option for support.
Proctor's peer tutoring based Math First Aid program meets three times a week following dinner, providing a forum for students to gather and assist each other with concepts taught in class.
Perhaps most exciting about peer tutoring opportunities on campus is the idea that students are mastering concepts and then learning how to teach those concepts to others.