Integrating Effective Tutors within a Math Emporium

Integrating Effective Tutors within a Math Emporium

Integrating Effective Tutors within a Math Emporium Michael Pemberton Maysville Community & Technical College 2014 KYMATYC Meeting February 28, 2014 Outline This presentation is a result of a completed practicum in Spring 2013 titled Implementation of an Effective Training Program for Math Tutors within a Modified Emporium at MCTC for the Kellogg Institute.

Background of Math Tutors at Maysville Need for a Tutor Training Program Review of the Literature Goals and Objectives Math Tutor Handbook Orientation and Sessions Conclusions and Recommendations

Background Prior to 2011, peer tutors were assigned at MCTC to a drop-in tutoring lab to assist students in their math courses on a one-on-one basis. Tutors lacked a formal training program that provided them with effective tutoring strategies. Meetings were typically conducted on a monthly basis and focused on procedures, building student rapport, and tutor record-keeping. Problem In summer of 2011, MCTC redesigned its course delivery in each developmental math course using a modified emporium using MyMathLab as instructional software.

The Office of Academic Support Services reassigned math tutors to the Math Computer Lab, which provided two benefits for developmental math students. During our first year using the emporium model on the Maysville campus, each math emporium class was staffed by an instructor, tutor, and the Problem Tutors were accustomed to helping students for extended periods of class time, doing problems for the students, and not being active and circulating the room. Thus, a formal training program was needed to provide peer tutors with the necessary training

to adapt to their new roles and responsibilities within a math emporium. Literature Review Researchers have noted the importance of providing a training component within tutoring programs. Well-trained tutors, as opposed to receiving marginal training, results in the difference between successful and mediocre tutoring programs. Although a nearly 85% of community colleges offer tutoring services, only 54.5% provide organized training for their tutors. Boylan, H. R., Bonham, B. S., Bliss, L. B., & Saxon, D. P. (1995). What we know

about tutoring: Findings from the National Study of Developmental Education. Research in Developmental Education, 12(3). Literature Review Successful tutoring programs typically include an intensive series of professional development activities, including an orientation and on-going workshops. Some of the topics usually covered in successful programs include the tutoring cycle, learning theory, motivation, counseling, and interviewing. Sessions should use a variety of strategies and that tutors should have the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding through Boylan, H. R. (2002). What works: Research-based best practices in

discussion and Boone, activities. developmental education. NC: Continuous Quality Improvement Network/National Center for Developmental Education. Purpose There were several questions that guided the development of such a tutor-training program: What topics and resources should be selected or developed for implementation in a training program for tutors within a math emporium? How will the topics contribute to tutors increased

effectiveness and quality in a math emporium? The purpose was to develop a training program: For tutors to understand their new roles and responsibilities. Improve upon tutoring quality and focus on effectiveness to develop independent learners in a math Population From a population of eight peer tutors at Maysville, six were selected to participate in the study. Tutors must have completed or be currently taking MAT 150 College Algebra with a B or better. Recommendation from a full-time math faculty member.

Two tutors were previous developmental math students. There were several limitations to the tutor training program including the following: Small sample size, totaling six math tutors. Availability based on student work and course schedules. Orientation was not required to serve as a tutor in the Math Lab. Math Tutor Handbook Throughout the preparation process, materials and resources were develo selected, and/or reviewed for inclusi

in the creation of a tutor handbook. Each new and returning tutor receive a math tutor handbook to be utilized throughout the tutor training progra The handbook provided a basis for discussion and activities during each meeting, as well as provided reading and homework assignments for tutor Orientation An orientation session is held the Friday before the first day of the fall and spring semesters. 3 Hour Session

New and Returning Tutors Math Faculty, Instructional Assistant, Math Success Coach Several topics are covered that focus on tutors gaining familiarity with courses in the Math Computer Lab. Mission and Overview of Courses Layout of the Math Computer Lab

Math Tutoring Tips Tutor Roles, Responsibilities, Ethics Utilization of MyMathLab Session One The first training session addressed each step in Dr. Ross B. MacDonalds Tutoring Cycle for conducting a meaningful, independent learner-centered tutoring session. The objective was to discuss and provide examples for each step in the process. Prior to the session, tutors were required to read the provided materials on each

of the twelve step tutoring cycle. The Tutor Cycle Tutoring examples were provided and we discussed each beginning, task, and closing steps of the cycle. We also had a group activity were tutors were asked to place the twelve steps of the tutoring cycle in the proper order and place examples on the back of each notecard. After the session, tutors were asked to complete the Tutoring Cycle Worksheet in their handbooks. Internalize the Tutoring Cycle Purpose of Each Step in the Cycle

Session Two The second session discussed and examined the importance of learning styles instruction within tutoring. Discussed effective tutoring strategies for each of the four learning styles from Neil Flemings VARK model (Visual/Auditory/Read/Write/Kinesthetic). Tutors were introduced to their dominant learning style using the online version of the VARK and its importance in their tutoring. Learning Styles Tutors were divided into dominant

learning style groups and completed the Learning Styles Worksheet. Groups listed five tutoring strategies for based upon their dominant learning style. Afterwards, groups reported their strategies to the other learning styles. Each tutor provided three tutoring strategies for each of the four learning styles. Session Three The next session conducted was to improve tutors communication skills. Communication skills were divided into six main areas:

Active Listening Techniques Verbal Communication Cues Nonverbal Communication Cues Strategies for Student Motivation Encouragement Empathy The objective was for tutors to understand the types, purposes, and examples of active listening, variety of communication and body language

cues, and develop the ability to motivate, encourage, and be empathetic. Communication Skills Tutors explored specific listening techniques, importance of silence and guidelines for better listening Examples of common verbal and nonverbal communication cues from students. Learned motivational strategies, ho to praise students, and strategies empathy towards students.

Session Four At one time or another, all tutors will find themselves faced with difficult tutoring situations. The goal of this session was for tutors to understand and address different types of difficult personalities; know the referral process at MCTC. Examined actions, characteristics, and common approaches to address students exhibiting a hostile, expert, passive aggressive, victim, negative, agreeable, and/or unresponsive difficult personalities.

Assertiveness Importance of assertive behavior was discussed with tutors and 13 scenarios were provided as sample tutoring situations. Tutors completed the Student Code of Conduct Worksheet on how well they know what is considered a student code of conduction violation. The referral process outlined the steps tutors must follow for dealing with inappropriate behavior from students. Findings Upon completion of the training program, tutors

appeared to be better prepared to impart effective tutoring within a math emporium. Tutors learned of the tutoring cycle that promoted independence in student learning. The identification of learning styles instruction facilitated tutor insights into the learning process and personalized instruction. Discussion of communication skills provided tutors with a student perception of motivation, encouragement, and empathy. Recommendations Further recommendations in program expansion, evaluation, and certification will help sustain and improve the tutor training program in the

coming years. Program Expansion Look into improving and expanding topics for new and returning tutors. Train other full-time faculty, staff, and returning parttime tutors to conduct tutor-training sessions on each campus. Look into developing a similar tutor training program Recommendations Program Evaluation Establish assessment and evaluation to determine efficacy of the training program and areas for improvement. Collect qualitative and quantitative data using the existing math tutor evaluation form and end-ofsemester evaluations completed by students.

Program Certification Regular or Level I Certification should be sought through the College Reading & Learning Association (CRLA)s International Tutor Training Program Certification (ITTPC). Thank You Let me know if you have any questions about the development or implementation of our math tutor training program at MCTC.

Michael Pemberton Assistant Professor of Mathematics Maysville Community & Technical College Maysville, KY 41056 (606) 759-7141 ext. 66266 [email protected]

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