June 30, 2016

Plans to close NJCU writing center anger students, staff

New Jersey City University is shutting down its Writing Center today after a ten-year run.  Back in 2014, administration was considering moving the English Department’s Writing Center and it’s roster of adjunct professors to the central campus Hub.  These professional tutors have been providing advanced level writing tutoring to graduate students and others.  At that time, space issues were an obstacle and no move was taken.

Fast forward to 2016, campus leaders switched gears altogether in order to cut costs and have decided to close down the Writing Center and provide campus-wide tutoring at the central Hub facility.  While the school newspaper reported that no full time staff would lost their jobs, that was not to be the case.  Crossroads of Learning spoke to the office manager and can report that she has been laid off.  All tutoring will now be provided by peer tutors, who are paid $12.00 per hour.  The NJCU adjunct professors were earning $26-$30 an hour for their writing tutoring services.

Click here for more.

Filed under: College,Peer-Tutoring

December 18, 2014

Oak Harbor peer tutoring program helping struggling students study

By Michelle Beahm, Whidbey News-Times Reporter

In the North Whidbey Middle School library, Oasean Weaver, left, Erina Horikawa, Emily Black and Deandre Bennett discuss various class assignments they’ve received so far this school year. Horikawa and Black are National Honor Society students visiting the middle school to offer their tutoring services to any middle school students who might need help with their coursework. — Photo by Michelle Beahm/Whidbey News-Times

Sometimes students need extra help with their coursework. In the Oak Harbor School District, it’s getting easier to get that help.  “As a district, we’ve tried to offer more opportunities for kids outside of the school day,” said Assistant Superintendent Steve King, “whether that be through tutoring or other activities.”

Peer tutoring is proving to be especially popular. National Honor Society students at Oak Harbor High School are required to spend a certain amount of time tutoring. Though it’s mandatory, they say they enjoy helping their peers. “It makes you feel good,” said Lauren Aspery, a National Honor Society student. “Like you’re actually helping someone.”

Those students tutor not only their fellow high school students, but also travel to the middle schools to help those students with any work they’re struggling with. “National Honor Society students who come will help students with any of the work they need,” said North Whidbey Middle School Principal Bill Weinsheimer.

Weinsheimer said the most common subjects covered in tutoring are the core subjects, like math, English, science and social studies. However, even if the student doesn’t want help from high schoolers in other subjects, help is available through teachers after school. Weinsheimer said that it’s not uncommon for art, band or choir students to stay after school to get help from teachers.

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Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,K-8,Peer-Tutoring

February 6, 2014

South Side High School seniors launch free online tutoring site

By Tara Conry, long Island Newsday, originally published 11/29/13

Students at South Side High School in Rockville Centre can now summon a free tutor thanks to an online service launched by four of their schoolmates. The group created SSHSTutoring.com, a portal that makes peer-to-peer tutoring anonymous and more flexible. (Credit: Tara Conry)

When Michael Spelfogel receives a pop-up message on his cell phone, he knows one of his schoolmates needs help, and he’s ready to come to the rescue. Whether they’re struggling with trigonometry, physics or French, students at South Side High School in Rockville Centre now have the ability to summon a tutor using a computer, smartphone or tablet.

In October, Spelfogel, 17, a senior, and three of his classmates — Thomas Keady, 17, Matt Giovanniello, 17, and Yu-Kuan “Anthony” Lai, 17 — developed and launched SSHSTutoring.com, a free online portal for peer-to-peer tutoring. Spelfogel said the idea came to him after his National Honor Society adviser announced in late September that all members needed to complete 40 minutes of tutoring either before or during the school day. That posed a problem for Spelfogel and his friends. “We all have very rigorous schedules, no ‘off’ periods,” he said.

The four seniors devised an alternative. By taking tutoring online, they realized they could offer both tutors and students in need of help more flexibility. “The time when students really find out they don’t understand a topic is at night when they’re studying for a test that’s tomorrow,” Lai said. “That’s when you need the help the most.”

When students visit the site, which Spelfogel, Keady, Giovanniello and Lai created together from scratch, they can select from a list of 19 subjects and are asked to indicate the course’s level — Regents or Advanced, for instance — their teacher, and their question. They can also attach a file to show the material they’re struggling with.  Once the request is sent, a tutor will receive a notification on his or her phone and will then engage in a live chat with the person needing help. Both parties remain anonymous, which Spelfogel said, is another advantage.

To read more click here.

Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,High School,Peer-Tutoring,Technology

July 27, 2013

Being friendly: Building an effective tutor-student relationship

by Nalini Lasiewicz, Crossroads of Learning

Academic advisers at the Canadian Student Leadership Association (CSLA) note that students are more motivated to learn — and learn more — when they like the teacher.  By practicing techniques of friendliness, learning specialists can be most effective in their roles, whether as a peer tutor, a volunteer mentor or a manager of academic learning center, writing center, or tutorial service. There is, however, a difference between being friendly and trying to be a friend.  Tutors need not confuse the two.

When working with students to improve their comprehension and understanding, CSLA recommends these friendly and respectful behaviors:

  • Act as an equal — Avoid appearing superior or snobbish.
  • Be dynamic — Students appreciate someone who is active and enthusiastic.
  • Create a learning environment — Choose a location and a situation that makes learning fun, interesting and entertaining.
  • Be comfortable — Be at ease with yourself.
  • Concede some control — Allow the student to lead and pursue knowledge.
  • Show interest — Be interested in what they have to say and remember their likes, hobbies and interests.
  • Be optimistic — Convey a positive outlook. This will be contagious.

The attitude of friendliness is a step above basic etiquette.  Experienced tutors should already have a commitment to average social norms such as being on time to all your tutoring sessions, planning the sessions so that the student’s time is respected, dressing appropriately and attending to one’s own personal cleanliness. The “Tutoring Foundations” curriculum from Crossroads of Learning also stresses that tutors should refrain from using obscene, insulting or slang language.  Another rule of etiquette for tutors is to avoid embarrassing or belittling their students. When problems arise, try to speak in a diplomatic way to avoid hurt feelings.

Sometimes the line between being friendly — and being friends — can feel a bit blurry.  For example, once a level of trust in the relationship has been built, students may ask their tutor personal questions, or make inappropriate comments.  In order to avoid this,  a very brief greeting period at the beginning of the session to catch up a bit is recommended, being sure to keep it lighthearted or school related, and then getting back to work, staying on task in a friendly and professional manner!

# # #

Portions of this article are excerpts from “Being Friendly”, reprinted with permission from the Canadian Student Leadership Association. Other portions are from “Tutoring Foundations”, a training curriculum created by Crossroads of Learning © 2013 and developed with the National Tutoring Association (NTA) and Fielding Graduate University. Crossroads of Learning professional development for tutors, trainers or academic coaches is available via on-line courses or a train-the-trainer/workbook program. All courses and materials articulate with NTA Certification requirements. For more information call Nalini Lasiewicz at 818.249.9692 ext 2 or click here to request information.

Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,Associations,Crossroads of Learning,Peer-Tutoring,Small Private Practices,Training/Education,Tutoring Practices

June 5, 2013

Peer tutoring gets high-tech makeover

By Amy B. Wang, The Republic, originally published on 5/1/13

The computer screen blinked, and two voices came online, signaling the start of the virtual tutoring session. It would be geometry again today, freshman Pilar Hernandez told her tutor, senior Sindhu Rajan. Hernandez needed help with a question about angles. “All right, I’ll put on the whiteboard and then you can write it down for me,” Rajan said, clicking a button that would allow the two to write on a virtual board.

Painstakingly, Hernandez used her mouse to draw an isosceles triangle divided in half. The question asked for the value of x, half of the length of the triangle’s hypotenuse. “OK, this is how you would start,” Rajan said. Ten minutes later, after step-by-step guidance, Hernandez arrived at the answer. “Oh, OK, thank you!” she told Rajan. “I think I got it down.”

Rajan and Hernandez, students at North Canyon High School, are regular participants in the FROST peer-tutoring program in the Paradise Valley Unified School District. Through the program, National Honor Society students at the district’s five high schools host free tutoring sessions for other students in the district — entirely online. (FROST stands for Free Resources for Online Student Tutoring.)

Through the online portal, both Rajan and Hernandez can be at their homes while a teacher checks in periodically from a third computer. It’s a modernized approach to an age-old practice, peer tutoring, that experts say can strengthen student performance on several levels.

To read more click here.

Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,High School,Peer-Tutoring,Technology

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