By moving the Marianopolis Tutoring Service online, Laura Paris and her team of peer and alumni tutors continue to support students in their learning and help them with their courses despite the restrictions related to the pandemic. 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 need support in one or more courses. They offer tutoring in nine main disciplines (Biology, Chemistry, Economics, French, Math, Physics, Psychology, Quantitative Methods and Western Civilization). Students may request tutoring in other disciplines as well. We always try to accommodate their needs whenever possible.
What is the philosophy of peer tutoring at Marianopolis?
Our mandate is to help students who are having some difficulty with their courses. Our service is free and we carefully review all applications to distribute our resources equitably. We consider students’ current and past academic performance, as well as personal circumstances, when they apply for tutoring. We also collaborate with their teachers to gain a better insight into each student’s needs and help them succeed in their courses.
What is important for students to realize is that tutoring is not a quick fix but rather a collaborative process where both parties have their share of responsibilities to fulfill in order to get the most out of the experience. Tutors are selected based on their academic performance and interpersonal skills following a rigorous interview process. They understand first-hand the expectations of particular courses and what students need to do in order to succeed. They work with their tutees to clarify concepts, they help students identify areas requiring additional support and give advice on various study-skills. Students typically receive one hour a week of tutoring. We work with students to find a time that is convenient for them to plan the weekly meeting and help them throughout the process. Students know that they can contact me anytime if they have questions. I often am the first person students contact when they face difficulties in their studies and I am happy to refer them to the appropriate person in the College who would be able to help them.
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 who sign up as tutors and tutees. Our students bring a unique energy to our Centre and in turn, we support and assist them in helping each other succeed. This semester, we created an online community for our peer and alumni tutors and our tutees. Although I miss the vibrant life of the Centre on campus, I can say confidently that the exchanges with students and the support that they receive is maintained through our online platforms. Our sense of community is preserved. The service is successful and our tutors have been able to pivot online without any difficulty. Our students tell us that online tutoring offers some advantages compared to in-person, for example, the online whiteboards and flexibility in terms of scheduling.
It is 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. It is also rewarding that so many of our tutors return after graduation and continue as alumni tutors.