Scenarios

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					Scenarios
 Real-life examples that reflect the
 perspectives offered in the modules
            All presenters
          ATP Fall Workshop
                 2007
          Compiled by Jim Valkenburg
      I CAN Do it!
   A returning student who had spent twelve
    years out of school was having difficulty
    remembering what she had learned for her
    tests. One of her instructors sent her
    down to see me. After a brief interview, I
    discovered she was a tactile learner who
    was trying to learn by reading
    the text and listening to the
    lecture.
I CAN Do It!
       We spent an hour or two going
        over how she could link learning
        styles by making her own flash
        cards. Her next test was a “C.”
        The one after that a “B.” The
        last one (she came in today to show
        me her latest grade) was a “B+!”
        She believes in herself and her ability
        to succeed.
Sometimes It’s Okay to Break
the Rules?
   One of my most memorable instances of tutoring an
    adult learner with writing involved my becoming the
    student’s scribe. While it’s common practice for the
    tutor to make a point of avoiding writing for the
    student, this is one case where I thought it was the best
    way to
    help the student move forward. This student was referred
    to
    me from our disability services coordinator and was so
    distraught about a paper assignment that all
    she could do at first was talk about how she
    couldn’t write and how she didn’t have
    anything to say.
Sometimes It’s Okay to
Break the Rules?
   It became clear that she was not in a frame of
    mind to get anything down on paper herself, so I
    just began asking her questions about the
    assignment and topic she had picked. As she
    spoke, I jotted down key words from what she
    said. Eventually, I showed her what I had written
    down, explaining that these were her words, her
    thoughts. From there, we started to talk about
    grouping the related words and ideas to form
    paragraphs. This was enough to calm the student
    and get her on her way to completing the
    assignment successfully.
     Don’t Make Assumptions
   A good student who had been one of our peer
    tutors, needed help with math. She tried to work
    with a peer tutor who was very talented in the
    subject, but who, unfortunately, talked down to
    adult learners. That’s a no-no in any tutoring
    situation, but especially so with adult tutees.
    Because the student knew me as her supervisor,
    she had no qualms about telling me about her bad
    tutorial experience. I contacted him to talk
    about what happened.
    He had assumed that she was having
    difficulty because she had been skipping
    classes and was short with her when she
    said she still didn’t understand.
Don’t Make Assumptions
   He failed to communicate enough with her to get a
    context for her difficulty: the student had, in
    fact, missed some class but not because she was
    skipping. She had been absent to care for her ill
    mother-in-law when there was no one else to help
    care for her. Although tutoring isn’t a substitute
    for attending class, there are times when students
    have valid reasons for their absence, and tutors
    need to be nonjudgmental and ask questions to
    find out what the circumstances are.
  Help at the Last Minute
Just this semester an older student (she explained
this was her first time being a student in 41
years) came in desperate for help with a
writing assignment due in less than an hour.
Normally, we discourage last minute pleas
for help like this, but she was in tears and
explained that she had been trying all
weekend to do the assignment but couldn’t
find where she was supposed to do it. The
course materials and instructions were
posted on the course’s WebCT site, and
they said to use MS Word or Excel to complete the
assignment. She had been looking in WebCT itself for
where to do the assignment.
Help at the Last Minute
Clearly, this was an instance of the student
not having basic computer skills and not an
inability to do the work. Once I explained
where to find Word and Excel, she was
able to make progress on the assignment,
which was writing a memo that involved
presenting come computations. I made
sure to note my observations about the
student’s lack of computer literacy in the
report of our session that was sent to her
          instructor.
  Getting to the Positive
After being laid off, Matt is trying to find a new career
so he can get back into the workforce. He is extremely
motivated to “get things done,” but he appears somewhat
threatened by his situation and often underestimates his
ability. Matt arrived at the tutoring center after he has
just “ bombed a test.” With dramatic hand gestures
and expressive movements Matt conveys how poorly he
performed. He states that he went “over and over the
material and never did get it memorized” for the test.
After getting Matt calmed down, what steps
might the tutor take?
Getting to the Positive
 The tutor should put the results of
 this test into perspective and focus
 on what had gone well and what he did
 remember. This might give the
 session a more positive tone, and it is
 a great opportunity for the tutor to
 promote active learning and to stress
 techniques that might help Matt to
 actively study including the “split-
 page” technique for studying.
The Behaviorist View
   Imagine an adult learner who returns to campus
    for that first course, tentatively and unsure of
    whether she/her “has what it takes” to return to
    college. How do you handle the situation and
    respond to the student when you recognize that
    you have a student who is
    approaching education from
    a behaviorist view and the
    faculty teaches from strictly a
    humanist point of view and purpose?
The Behaviorist View
 Discuss with the student that s/he and the
 professor have different views of learning is a
 good place to start (and assure the student that
 this is quite OK!!). Then, find some common ground
 and similarities shared between their two
 approaches. Support the student as s/he finds a
 way to USE that information by applying it
 autonomously to his/her unique situation. This will
 help transfer the “humanist” teaching perspective
 into a more “behaviorist” learning perspective.
 Awareness of the difference in views might
 actually be useful to the student as s/he continues
 with the course as well as in future courses.
One Way or Another
An adult student who has a graduate
degree and has formally retired from her
first “career” as an accountant, approaches
you and wants to return to college for
another degree and a “second career.”
She has no idea what she wants to pursue
but “wants to work with people,
not numbers”. How do you
approach advising and guiding her
as she makes this new career choice?
One Way or Another
 You might suggest that she go to the
 Career Center and take a career interest
 inventory. These can yield useful results
 regardless of one’s age! Perhaps she would
 be interested in taking Discover to see
 what her current interests, abilities and
 values now are. Interest inventories and
          career guidance can help this
          student gather and organize
          information before choosing a new
          career and an appropriate major.
Math From Afar

   You are a math tutor. A middle-aged
    student comes to you for help.
    Talking, you discover that he was a
    civil engineer in his country, yet he is
    failing College Algebra. His
    frustration level is very high and he is
    thinking about dropping out.
   What do you do?
Math From Afar
   One way to help this student is to
    communicate that math is a language
    in and of itself. It has its own rules
    of syntax and semantics. AND math
    translates across all cultural
    boundaries. Start with “mathese” and
    translate into English. It will be an
    arduous project, but well worth the
    time.
Lothario and the Tutors

   You supervise the English tutoring program.
    You overhear two peer tutors arguing
    about a boy. It turns out that the young
    man in question is a student from overseas
    who is dating both of them, and getting
    both of them to help with
    his schoolwork.
   What do you do?
Lothario and the Tutors
     The first step is to find another tutor
      for the student.
     The more difficult aspect of this
       scenario is dealing with the tutors who
      have fraternized with one of their
      charges and have essentially violated
      the ethical principles of tutoring. I
      would suggest retraining the tutors and
      emphasizing school and tutorial center
      policies.
They Just Don’t Understand

   English is not your first language, but you
    are a great biology tutor. Your supervisor
    has gotten complaints from several
    students that they cannot understand you.
    You know that you have an accent, but you
    do not feel that is a major problem.
   What should you do?
   What should the supervisor do?
They Just Don’t Understand
   The tutor should continue tutoring—
    perhaps slowing down the rate of speech or
    asking more questions during the session
    that might help the student to understand.
    Finding alternative words that “fit” more
    to one’s vocabulary and speech patterns
    may also help. The supervisor might want
    to listen in on a few sessions and make
    recommendations to the tutor; but
        understanding the diversity of language
        is one of the keys to success.
English Only?
 Your college has a large ESL program,
 but many of the speakers have a
 shared native language and tend to
 communicate amongst themselves in
 their native language rather than
 socialize with students from other
 ethnic backgrounds. How
 would you encourage more
 interchange between groups?
English Only?
   The ESL Lab might be considered and “English
    Only” zone. The idea of an ESL program is to
    teach non-native speakers how to accurately and
    properly use English. Speaking in one’s native
    tongue while trying to study in the ESL lab is not
    necessarily a good way to learn the new language.
    As far as communing with people from other
        cultures, various communication exercises
        might be developed that will encourage
        interaction between the various groups.
   But They’re So Young!
An adult student went to the lab to get help with
her algebra. Nobody looked up to say “Hello,
welcome, we’ll be with you in a minute.” She sat
down and waited. Finally, a tutor sat with her
and helped her work through a problem, told her
to work the others and that he would be back.
She was unsure of the other problems as well,
but seeing that the tutor was helping someone
else she slowly got up and went to the
computer lab next door pretending
that she was going to use the computer.
She left the lab through the other door.
But They’re So Young!
 This student later reported to me
 that she felt intimidated just going
 to the lab because all the tutors
 looked so young and then felt really
 unwelcome when no one responded to
 her. She made her escape to the lab
    next door because she really felt
    stupid about asking the tutor to
    come and help her again.
Technology
   An adult learner was in tears in my
    office. As I listened it turned out to
    be a problem with the technology.
    We use computer testing and
    calculators in class and this older
    student had no idea how to use any
    of it.
Technology
   I relieved her anxiety by taking her to the
    computer lab and showing her how to hold
    the mouse, how to click, and how to answer
    math questions on the computer. Then I
    showed her how to work the calculator,
    step by step. She was very happy with the
    mathematics after the one-on-one session
    with me. It wasn’t about mathematics at all
    but about the technology.
Thank You
   Please go to the Discussion Board and
    respond to the prompt you will find
    for this module.

   Thank you for participating in this
    module.

				
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