Laura Paris oversees the Tutoring Service at Marianopolis. It is part of the Learning Resources Centre and a vital element of the government-funded Marianopolis Plan for Success – as well as a great example of the many value-added resources that students find at Marianopolis. Here’s what she had to say about peer tutoring at the College.
What is peer tutoring at Marianopolis?
On average, we employ 130 tutors each semester. These are current and former Marianopolis students who help several hundreds of students who are experiencing difficulties in one or more courses. They offer tutoring in nine disciplines of various course levels (Biology, Chemistry, Economics, French, Math, Physics, Psychology, Quantitative Methods and Western Civilization) but students may request help in other courses as well. We do our utmost to accommodate their needs whenever possible.
What is the philosophy of peer tutoring at Marianopolis?
Our mandate is to help students in need. While our service is free, there are certain criteria to be eligible. We are very hands-on and do all that we can to try and distribute our resources as equitably as possible. We take into account applicable current and past academic performance, as well as personal circumstances. We collaborate with faculty to gain a better insight on each student’s needs.
What is important for students to realise is that tutoring is not a quick fix but rather a collaborative process where both parties have their share of responsibilities to fulfil in order to get the most out of the experience. Tutors are selected based on their academic performance and interpersonal skills. They understand first-hand the expectation in a particular course. They clarify concepts and course material and they work on and help identify areas of weakness, as well as give advice on various study-skills. Students typically receive one hour a week of tutoring. Another convenience is that they tell us what time during the week is most convenient for them to have their session(s).
What is your favourite thing about your job?
The students, of course, by a landslide! Year after year, we have some truly remarkable, steadfast and involved young adults with us. Our students bring to the LRC a great vibe. The LRC is a productive place where we support and assist them in helping each other succeed.
It’s wonderful when I see students who initially came to us because they were experiencing difficulty, who then return as tutors for subjects that they excel in – the “paying it forward” effect. It’s also cool that so many of our tutors return after graduation and continue as alumni tutors.