Peer Tutoring: A Historical Perspective
Budgets are tight, and campus administrators seek to improve student retention and success. It is important to note what the research says about the history and importance of tutoring. Tinto (2004) listed “tutoring, mentoring, study groups and Supplemental Instruction as academic support services that institutions can provide to enhance retention and graduation rates. He noted how critical it is for academic support programs not to stand alone but rather to be connected and linked to the curriculum. Tinto believed it was crucial that ‘students be able to make meaningful connections between the knowledge and skills they are acquiring in the support programs and those needed to succeed in their credit-bearing curriculum’.” (Association, 2012)
Tutoring has been provided in some form since 1636, at Harvard. In the early 1900’s, nearly half of the students enrolled at Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Colombia failed to meet entrance requirements. In the 1960’s, the focus of tutoring was to provide support services for low-income families, women, and minorities. In 1972 at California State University Long Beach, Frank Christ created a unique, expanded model of tutorial and other instructional support services to include the staff, faculty, and administration of the university. In 1973, Stanford expanded their Learning Assistance Center to all students and LAC’s flourished at colleges and universities.
The need for academic support has been recognized by the Council for the Advancement of Standard in Higher Education (CAS, 2010.) The CAS standards require professional learning assistance staff to ‘ensure that staff members understand their responsibilities by receiving appropriate training” (CAS, 2010, pg 8) and establish procedures for training (pg 9). Returning to research by Tinto (2004) about what students need for success, learning assistance professionals can affect meaningful connections in and out of the classroom. That is the goal of our service.
ITTPC – International Tutor Training Program Certification
Since March 1989, community college, college and university tutorial programs in the United States and Canada have received tutor training program certification through the College Reading and Learning Association's International Tutor Training Program Certification (ITTPC). There are over 1100 programs which are currently certified through ITTPC.
The purpose of the ITTPC program is twofold. First, it provides recognition and positive reinforcement for tutors' successful work from an international organization, CRLA. Second, CRLA's tutor certification process sets an internationally accepted standard of skills and training for tutors.
The ULC has always provided training for our student employees. Meeting one Friday a month for two hours during the academic year, and having an in-service at the beginning of each semester provides a venue to inform our employees about the institution, celebrate our successes and create a cohesive team.
Beginning in the Fall of 2013, we expanded our training to an additional hour to provide 8 hours of training for all new tutors, including partners across campus. Our goal is to become certified by ITTCP in 2016.
College Reading and Learning Association Topics for Tutor Training
- Definition of tutoring and tutor responsibilities
- Basic tutoring guidelines and/or tutoring do’s and don’ts
- Techniques for successfully beginning and ending a tutor session
- Learning styles and or learning theories
- Assertiveness and or handling difficult students
- Role modeling
- Goal setting
- Communication skills
- Active listening and paraphrasing
- Referral skills
- Study skills
- Critical thinking skills
- Ethics compliance and or sexual harassment and or plagiarism
- Modeling problem-solving