STEM Peer Tutoring Program Launched
story Lai Ying Tong, Deputy News Editor
The Peer Tutoring program currently has five peer tutors: Jolanda Nava ’17, Christian Go ’17, Anshuman Mohan ’17, Abhinav Natarajan ’18, and Adam Goh ’18. (David Zhang)
The Yale-NUS Centre for Teaching and Learning launched the Peer Tutoring Program in late September. The program, which is in its pilot phase, hires student tutors to provide additional academic help in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses. Tutors will be paid $18 per hour while tutees will not have to pay for the program.
The peer tutoring program is specifically intended for STEM and language courses, Lecturer Nancy Gleason, Associate Director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning, said. It is made to compliment the humanities and social sciences support provided by the Writers’ Centre. The language departments have been conducting their own formal peer tutoring since before the launch of STEM Peer Tutoring, Ms. Gleason said.
Tutors have undergone training sessions “geared towards… the ethics of peer tutoring and what [it means] to be a good peer tutor,” Christian Go ’17, one of the peer tutors, said. “We were informed of the honor code and to what extent we can help students, or how should we be approaching the helping.”
Tutors will have access to a copy of each Common Curriculum textbook in the Centre for Teaching and Learning, Ms. Gleason said. Tutors can also “ask to work with individual faculty to help develop resources, and that would be on a case-by-case basis for now,” Ms. Gleason said. “Presumably when there’s a robust program in place we can store [educational] materials [for the Program].”
Ms. Gleason mentioned, among other guidelines, that tutors are encouraged not to take control of the pen, keyboard, screen, and paper in a tutoring session, and not to conduct sessions in bedrooms or later than 9.30 pm. The Centre for Teaching and Learning is developing a Peer Tutoring Handbook for best practice and codes of conduct.
The Centre for Teaching and Learning chose to limit the number of peer tutors because it “did not have a set of criteria” to select peer tutors, Ms. Gleason said. The five peer tutors in the program were either nominated by faculty or applied for the position after attending an open information session on Sept. 7. They were then interviewed by the Centre for Teaching and Learning. The Centre for Teaching and Learning may advertise for the peer tutor role in future, Ms. Gleason said. “It might take a full year for [the program] to get up and running in full capacity,” Ms. Gleason said.
The development of the program began last summer, when President Pericles Lewis approached Ms. Gleason to start formulating the processes for it, Ms. Gleason said. “Most liberal arts colleges have a robust peer tutoring program,” she added. “This wasn’t the first [time] it was ever thought of, this was just getting it rolling now that we finally have upperclassmen”.
The Centre for Teaching and Learning worked with Library staff, Writers’ Centre staff, Vice-Rectors, and the Office of the Dean of Students, which make up the “umbrella of academic resources” for students in the College, Ms. Gleason said.
The Centre for Teaching and Learning decided on compensating tutors with $18 per hour by benchmarking it against tuition fees in Singapore, Ms. Gleason said. This is twice the compensation of Student Associate roles in Yale-NUS. Tutors are recommended to work no more than eight hours a week. In addition, tutees cannot book more than ten individual sessions each semester.
Detailed information about the program and process of signing up have been posted on Canvas, the student learning platform website.