"To teach is to learn twice." Joseph Joubert, writer
For many years now, the Episcopal Writing Center has provided peer tutoring services with the goal of helping students improve their writing skills. The model has proven to be quite popular among students. Just last year, Writing Center Fellows provided 296 tutoring sessions. Below is a look at the sessions by the numbers:
While 64% of students were seeking assistance with English, 33% needed help with social studies writing and 3% were there for another subject.
With the success of the Writing Center in mind, Episcopal faculty introduced math tutoring this school year. “We recognized the value of the Writing Center and felt like the same potential existed for math,” says Math Department Chair Stephen Anderson. Anderson, a 2002 Episcopal graduate, certainly appreciates the value of peer tutoring. During his time on campus as a student, he could often be found helping his classmates with math problems. “I gained a deeper understanding of the content. Being able to do it is one thing, being able to explain it to someone else requires a deeper understanding,” he says. Anderson says in a subject such as math, reviewing the concepts and practicing their application is particularly helpful. This makes the peer tutoring experience just as valuable for the tutor as the tutee. In addition, he says as tutors work with classmates they are also gaining confidence and boosting their overall communication skills. “I often remind my students of the tragedy that would have occurred if geniuses such as Einstein couldn’t communicate their discoveries,” says Anderson, stressing the importance of those skills.
The math department faculty members worked with Writing Center Director Dr. Alan Newton to make the math tutoring dream a reality. Math tutoring now takes place Monday through Thursday in the school’s Writing Center in Perkins Hall Room 211. Dr. Newton says there are 27 math tutors currently scheduled to provide extra assistance to students beginning at 7:30 am and ending at 3:30 pm each day. He says the need for such tutoring has already been demonstrated with the first math tutoring session taking place within two or three days of the announced start date.
Part of the success of the Writing Center, and now math tutoring, is careful selection of the student tutors. Dr. Newton says when considering a peer tutor, faculty are looking for a student with a welcoming demeanor in addition to the required skill set. Anderson says an approachable tutor is important for the math tutoring experience. “Peer tutors are an affirmation more than instruction for our students,” he says.
In a school known for challenging students with rigorous curriculum, it may be tempting to hire an outside tutor to provide additional help to a student. However, Dr. Newton says with peer tutors available to help fill that gap, hiring a tutor may not be necessary. As an added benefit, many students are more comfortable working with a classmate who is learning the same material in the same environment.
Anderson and Dr. Newton have made it easy to schedule time with a peer tutor. Anderson says because of the nature of math, walk-in appointments are available for those students who realize while doing their homework that they need help. Students can also make appointments with a peer tutor by simply registering via a scheduling system.
To schedule a math tutoring appointment, click here: https://ehsmathtutoring.appointy.com/.
To schedule a Writing Center appointment, click here: https://episcopalbrwc.appointy.com/.