Learning Center: Tutoring

A group of students meet with one tutor to assist them in their studies. The Learning Center has multiple students receiving help on Tuesday, Sept. 3 2019, at 3:30 p.m. located in Drane Hall room 164.

When it comes to success in the classroom, students who may be struggling have access to multiple tutoring centers on campus. These resources can not only help students with grades, but can also help by observing what other aspects affect a student’s success in the classroom. 

Patrick Bohn, associate director of Tech Support Operations for Academic Retention (SOAR) and the learning center, said peer to peer tutoring is one of the main services offered at the tutoring centers.

“With tutoring specifically, peer tutoring offers students a lot of different, I can say, a variety of different ways that can help them learn. One way is that they get more individual attention than in a class, let’s say, of 500 students,” he said. “Sometimes if you have a question and you’re in a large class like that, students hesitate to ask questions and so when they come here and again this assuming they are going to class and they’re doing their homework and they’re keeping up with stuff. They come here to get that extra little bit of information that’ll help them understand what they are talking about in class.”

Katie Ericson, manager of academic initiatives, said all of the peer to peer tutors are current students at Tech who have taken the same classes current students are struggling with.

“Ours is all peer to peer so we are hiring students who have taken the classes and have gotten an A or B in that class themselves and so it’s not just someone who’s heard of the class,” she said. “They’ve taken the class at Texas Tech so that helps with they are familiar with the professors. They’re familiar with the structure and maybe kind of the assignments.”

Katarina Kentera, a junior chemical engineering from Sacramento, California, said peer tutoring personally benefits her by putting her mind at ease about the more difficult classes required for her major.

“It really helps just talking to people who’ve taken the classes you’ve already taken because I had no idea what to expect going into chemical engineering classes and so people (who’ve) already taken it really help put my mind at ease,” she said. 

Bohn said there are not tutors for every subject or class. Those at the Learning Center choose classes and try to adjust curriculums every semester based on the students’ demands for certain classes.

The tutoring resources also act as supplements to a professor’s office hours with the flexible range of hours provided for students to come get help.

“We are a supplement to the teaching," he said. "Sometimes a student can’t go to office hours because they may have class when the professor’s office hours are, or they have some other issues or something else like ‘what else do I do? I want to go to office hours, but I can’t miss my other class to do that.’ They can come and use this.” 

Kentera said her own personal struggle with office hour attendance and need for further help on her studies is what motivated her to start going to the tutoring centers.

“Usually I can’t make my teachers office hours, or they just don’t explain it well and these people have taken the classes so they really can give you insight on like how it goes,” she said.

The tutors are not only trained in helping students attain academic success, but also in seeing what is going on beyond students' class loads that may be affecting their grades and working to find resources outside of tutoring to help, Ericson said.

“Do you maybe need to talk to the counseling center? Do you need to get involved in student (organizations) on campus? Do you need to see an academic advisor because maybe you’re like ‘this isn’t my major, I don’t want to do this,’” she said. “And so obviously our tutors are trained with how to tutor and the subject specific they’ve taken those classes but also what else can affect a student.”

Tutoring can give students an important learning experience since it is a self-driven practice, Bohn said.

“It also gives students a unique learning experience because they’re the ones who are kind of driving what they want to get out of it," he said. "And so, it teaches them how to do their self-directed studies.” 

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