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1st Edition August 2009 The Ohio State University and Central Ohio Technical College at Newark LEVEL III 2 TABLE OF CONTENTS 3.1 Review of Levels 1 and 2 pg. 3 3.2 Reading Strategies pg. 7 3.3 Group Management pg. 10 3.4 Structuring the Learning Experience pg. 14 3.5 Organizational Skills pg. 17 3.6 Supervising and Evaluating Tutors pg. 19 Appendix: Requirements pg. 29 3 Level III, Module 1 Module 3.1 Review of Levels I and II Training Objectives: Reinforce Level I and II training. Create connections between old material and new. Provide clarification of topics from previous training modules. Share personal experiences with fellow tutors. Tutoring Center Overview Students who seek tutoring may do so for a variety of reasons. Peer tutors should serve as mentors guiding students to knowledge in a supportive and comfortable environment. Students who may need special accommodations should be referred to appropriate offices. Beginning a Tutoring Session Open-ended questions about student’s background will open dialogue between tutors/tutees. Returning students should be greeted briefly at the beginning of every session. During a Tutoring Session Establish long-term goals as well as short term. Encourage independence. Ending a Tutoring Session Summarize after each session. End the session on a positive note. What a Tutor Should Do Listen & ask questions Discuss material & give examples Help correct errors in work Model Give honest and supportive feedback Show students how to utilize resources Encourage students to take responsibility for their work 4 Scheduled Sessions vs. Walk-ins Walk-ins/Fill-ins o Make sure you check progress reports o Leave detailed polite notes Scheduled sessions o Break material into small chunks o Make connections between old material and new o Model o Summarize and set goals for next session Communication Use positive reinforcement and specific praise. International students o Cultural and language barriers should be dealt with in a polite and friendly manner. Persons with disabilities o “Person first designation.” o Ask before you help. Elements of Good Communication Good rapport Active listening Communicating with instructors Socratic method Active Communication Verbal and non-verbal cues are important to watch and listen for. Tutor and tutee both must actively listen in order to have a successful learning session. Study Skills time management note taking test prep/ test taking reading rate/comprehension Ethical Integrity Tutors should focus on being role models and helping students become better learners. Avoid and discourage Academic Dishonesty & Plagiarism. 5 Importance of Questioning Evaluate what the tutee knows Help the tutee learn new material Check for comprehension Learning Styles CAPSOL testing Styles of Learning o Auditory/Kinesthetic/Visual o Individual/Group o Global/Sequential o Oral/Written International Students Tutors should be aware of personal biases and work to reduce prejudice. Understand the unique needs of international students with speech, writing, and reading comprehension. Emphasize similarities versus differences. Speak clearly and avoid slang. Use repetition to explain concepts. Watch for the fake-light bulb effect. Bloom’s Taxonomy Knowledge-memorization Comprehension-understanding enough to paraphrase Application- using knowledge for problem solving Analysis-breaking a big idea into small parts Synthesis-putting all the pieces together Evaluation-judging the quality and the value of information Tutoring Online Students Know your software! Time management is important for the student. Self-discipline is key. Encourage students to contact instructors. 6 Suggestions for the Online Student Students paraphrase lecture notes to retain and understand the lesson. Review all correspondence before sending it and encourage students to do the same. Tutors should watch out for the online burn-out. Importance of Test Proctoring Tutors may be asked to proctor for the Testing Center. Once a tutor agrees, further training will be required from the Testing Center staff before the tutor can actually proctor. There are three basic services. o Extended time, readers, and scribes. Remember proctors can leave the testing room, but take the test with you and notify a staff member. Document any unusual events that occurred during the test. Test Proctoring Procedures Arrive early No gum Read the test before administering it Ask any questions you have Make sure your paperwork is filled out properly Only answer questions regarding instructions Do not prompt the test taker Read only what is on the paper Write down word for word what is said by the test taker NOTES: 7 Level III, Module 2 Module 3.2 Reading Strategies for the College Student Objectives: Learn the differences between kinds of textbooks. Learn ways to help students focus their reading and manage multiple or very large reading assignments. Discover why note taking is important while reading. One of the greatest challenges college students face is trying to read multiple books in a single quarter. For students in multiple classes, they could be required to read anywhere from three to twelve books in a ten week period, depending on which classes they have scheduled. Even the strongest readers have difficulty managing such a load, and students with poor reading skills may feel completely overwhelmed. There is hope, however, for all of these students. In this Module, tutors will be given the techniques necessary to help every student get the most out of every textbook, no matter what the class. Different Kinds of Textbooks Most students and tutors both realize that there is a significant difference between a math class and a literature class. However, many students do not alter their approach to reading textbooks for these classes. Tutors must show their tutees that science books are not like novels or newspapers, and thus, a different approach is needed when using such texts. Science Textbooks Since most physical sciences are based on mathematics and theoretical concepts, the books used in these classes are full of pictures, graphs, tables, and other interesting graphics. These texts are also full of new terminology that students are often required to memorize and understand. Physical science textbooks are not meant to be read from beginning to end. Instead, students should think of these texts as a type of encyclopedia for the class lecture. If a student is having difficulty with a particular topic as discussed in class, they can look up the information in the textbook to find illustrations, examples, and possibly different explanations for the subject. If students must read the chapters, they should read the introduction, summary, and review questions first to focus their reading on the important topics. This way, tutees will get the most 8 out of their books rather than wasting time reading every word and forgetting it all the moment they close the text. Social Sciences Social science textbooks vary in the amount of illustrations presented. However, most include some form of review questions, as well as summaries and introductions. Students should use these resources to focus their reading, just as they did with the physical science textbooks. However, social science textbooks should actually be read, since many social science instructors use their lecture as a supplement for the text. If a textbook does not include tools within the chapter to help the student read actively, then the tutor must present a new strategy. When headings are present, they should be turned into questions which tutees then read to answer. Tutees can also read the introduction and summary, if present, and then read only the first sentence of each paragraph. This will help students understand the basic organization of the text and allow them to pick out the most important details in the chapter. Students should also pay close attention to author biases. Often, an author will tend to favor one theory or idea, and most of the text will focus on this idea rather than present an equal amount of information about all viewpoints. If tutors or tutees see this kind of bias, it is important to rely on lecture notes to fill in any gaps in the information presented in the book. After all, instructors are the test-makers, and their opinions outweigh those of any textbook author when it comes to studying. Literature Perhaps the hardest books to wade through for most students are the novels presented in literature classes. There are no review questions, no headings, and no introductions or summaries to direct readers to the most important ideas. However, there are still a few tricks to help students get through these heavy reading loads as well. First, students should try to take notes on the text as they read. Writing down information about setting, characters, theme, plot, and any underlying purpose presented in the novel will help students decide what information to study later. Lecture notes will also be valuable tools when reading, especially if the students attend a class discussion before reading the text. While most instructors discourage such behavior, the strong readers in the class typically lead the discussions while those with poor reading skills simply give up long before they make it to the 9 lecture. If students absolutely cannot seem to keep up with the readings, encourage them to listen to their classmates before they try reading. Students can also focus mostly on dialogue, rather than trying to read every word. Plot tends to be advanced mostly through the speech of the characters, making the dialogue one of the most important things for students to focus on while reading. If a student becomes lost or does not understand what the characters are saying, they can simply go back a few paragraphs to figure it out. Or, if reading just dialogue does not seem to be working, suggest that the student read the first sentence of each paragraph as well. This will help fill in the gaps and give students a basic idea of what is happening in the story. Finally, students can use extra materials, such as Spark notes or other internet resources to find plot synopses, character summaries, and important ideas for most novels. This serves the same purpose as reading the introduction and summary first in a social science textbook, focusing the reader’s attention on the key points as they read. Note taking Students often try to highlight textbooks as they read, thinking that this will make future studying easier. As long as students are reading the introduction, summary, and review questions first, highlighting is an acceptable method for annotating a text. However, tutors should encourage students to take notes, either in the book or on another sheet of paper, as well as highlight. This allows students to put ideas into their own words, find examples to focus on later, and make connections between what they already know and what they are reading. Conclusion While college reading can often be overwhelming for students, either because of the amount required or the complexity, there is still hope for any student who is willing to learn the proper techniques. Tutors should help students find methods for reading textbooks that meet both the requirements of the class and the needs of the individual. Many of the ideas presented can help even excellent readers decrease the amount of time spent reading textbooks and help later when it is time to study for an exam. This material was taken and adapted from Sue Opeka, Learning Skills Specialist, OSUN/COTC. 10 Level III, Module 3 Module 3.3 Group Management Objectives: Understand the value of learning in groups. Discover what the role of the tutor is during group sessions. Learn how to manage groups effectively. Due to the overwhelming demand for tutors, especially in math and science classes, many tutors find themselves faced with the challenge of managing multiple students in the same session. These group sessions can be quite demanding, especially for those who have never faced such a situation before. The following module contains some information that will help tutors learn to work with groups and ensure that the maximum amount of learning takes place for all the tutees. The First Session One of the most important meetings when trying to work with a group is the very first session. Here, the tutor must set the foundations for a functional relationship amongst all members that will carry through to the rest of the sessions. Group members need to: Know what is going to happen. Feel they are in a safe environment. Trust everyone in the group. Accept the role of the tutor as facilitator. Agree to follow the ground rules. Actively engage in the group’s discussions. 11 The first meeting between all group members should include a few moments to allow everyone to get to know each other. Students will feel more comfortable sharing ideas and asking questions if they are familiar with those around them, especially once they realize that everyone is there for similar reasons. Tutors can help encourage this socialization by: Introducing everyone. Sharing some information about oneself, such as major or hobbies. Asking questions about each member’s background and interests. Being friendly and courteous to create a light, open atmosphere. Setting Ground Rules Ground rules are important in any group situation. They promote effective group interactions, create a respectful and safe environment for learning, and keep the group on task. After introductions are made, the next few minutes of the initial tutoring session should be spent establishing these rules that will guide future meetings. As facilitators, tutors are expected to contribute some general rules. However, it is also important to let group members add their own ideas based on previous experiences to reinforce the democratic nature of the group. Participants are more likely to agree to the set of rules and follow them if they have played a part in the formation of these guidelines. If a ground rule is broken, it is up to the facilitator as well as other group members to remind the individual of the rules. One way to ensure that these rules remain fresh in tutees’ minds is to post a copy of the rules somewhere nearby, or to bring a copy to each session. This way, the behavioral agreement that was established at the first session can be quickly and easily referenced to avoid conflict. Be sure to make the ground rules for group sessions simple and easy to enforce. For example, do not tell tutees that they must bring homework to every session or the will be forced to stand in the corner, since enforcing such a rule with adults would be nearly impossible and would only lead to feelings of distrust and frustration amongst group members. It should also be noted that these rules can be altered as the meetings progress, giving tutees the ability to adapt the rules to meet their changing needs. These examples of ground rules may help tutors get started, but they should not be considered mandatory for group sessions. Tutors should select the rules that seem most applicable and that the rest of the group can agree upon. 12 For Group Members: Let members speak without interruption. Questions are welcome as long as they are not presented while another is expressing an idea or asking a question. Do not criticize group members. Only one subject can be discussed at a time. For Facilitators: Ensure the physical comfort of all members. If the group is very large, choose an area with plenty of room for everyone. Check with group members to ensure they all understand the rules of working in a group session. Communicate with everyone. Do not let one person dominate the session. Avoid giving personal opinions about subjects. Stick to the relevant information. Maintain a positive atmosphere. Give everyone time to answer questions or complete practice problems. Check for understanding in every member after practice. Group Conflict Despite a facilitator’s best efforts, conflict within groups does occasionally become a concern. If the group seems to be arguing frequently at the expense of their learning, the tutor must find a way to prevent such problems before they begin. The first step is to check the group dynamics. Groups are made up of individuals, who can have very different ideas or opinions. When the backgrounds of these individuals are so different that they can no longer work with others as a team, then it is up to the tutor to find an alternative that will benefit all parties. Often, a tutor can suggest breaking up the group, or moving some members into other groups that may have similar beliefs to reduce the conflict between individuals. Another source of conflict within a group is the atmosphere of the group. If the group has a defensive climate, then members may feel they are being judged or criticized by those around them. One member may be dominating the sessions, making the others feel their questions and ideas are unimportant. If members feel the facilitator is not addressing their concerns, they may 13 begin to demonstrate a lack of commitment to learning, making the tutor’s job that much more difficult. Therefore, it is crucial that the tutor try to create a supportive atmosphere for the group. All members should be allowed to express themselves openly and honestly without fear of ridicule. The group’s attention should remain focused on the task at hand. But most importantly, the facilitator should ask for members to share their thoughts and participate, listening carefully to everyone and providing a climate conducive to learning. Groups can be difficult to manage, but by helping members get to know each other, setting firm rules at the first session, and taking the necessary steps to reduce conflict amongst group members, tutors will find that group sessions can be extremely beneficial to the tutees. Research has shown that adult learners retain more knowledge from working in groups than by working individually, and using the strategies presented above, tutors can use this information to their advantage. This material was taken and adapted from: Borchers, T. (2004). Group Meetings. http://www.abacon.com/commstudies/groups/meetings.html 14 Level III, Module 4 Module 3.4 Structuring the Learning Experience Objectives: Understand the value of structured learning. Discover what the role of the tutor is in developing knowledge structures. Learn techniques to improve students’ knowledge structures. The Importance of Structure What makes structure such an important part of the learning process? How can tutors help students use structured learning to their advantage during a session? These are very important questions for both tutors and tutees, since research has proven that certain learning formats and practices make it easier to retain and recall information at appropriate times. This module will present information on how memory works and what tutors can do to help students take advantage of this knowledge. Researchers refer to the interconnected networks that store information in a person’s long-term memory as knowledge structures. The size of a person’s knowledge structures, the number and strength of connections between these structures, and the organization of relationships all have an impact on one’s ability to process information and solve problems. By organizing information and connecting it to prior knowledge in a variety of ways, it becomes easier to retrieve the information and use it to solve unfamiliar problems. If a student encounters a science problem that involves using a particular formula, such as finding the amount of work done on an object given a force and distance, the student is more likely to remember that formula if they have formed a strong connection between the definition of work and its mathematical representation. Likewise, if a student can remember that work is measured in Joules, and the definition of a Joule is easy to recall, then the formula will be more meaningful to the student and easier to remember. One of the most important things to remember as a tutor is that more and stronger connections between pieces of information make it possible for a student to use one piece of the network to retrieve the entire pattern. Helping students reinforce the connections in their knowledge networks and form new connections for new information will make it easier to recall 15 the entire network. It can also prove useful in freeing up space in the student’s working memory. This means that they will be able to use their knowledge to reflect on the new information and use it to solve problems. Remember, the biggest difference between a novice and an expert in any field is the individual’s knowledge structures. Experts tend to have large, well organized networks with many strong connections between a variety of items stored in their long-term memories. Therefore, experts are more adept at finding patterns and using them in new situations. The goal of the tutor should be to help students move from their status as novice to expert in a subject simply by developing these more sophisticated knowledge structures. The Basics of Structure There are three simple ways that tutors can greatly enhance a tutee’s knowledge structures in a specific area. These basic techniques will help increase the number of pieces of information located in the student’s long term memory, organize the information, and increase both the strength and number of connections between the pieces. First, tutors should help students develop their background knowledge in the subject. The best way to do this is to give the tutee plenty of reading material. This will add to the number of pieces of knowledge the student has in short term memory. To move the information into long term memory, tutors should review old materials often, practice using the knowledge to solve problems, and discuss the new information thoroughly. These practices will also ensure that the connections between pieces of information are strong and help students link the new pieces to the old in a variety of ways. Second, tutors should help students organize new information. Often, students find it difficult to sort through pieces of information presented to them by another source, such as a lecture or textbook. The job of the tutor is to help the tutees learn to use a variety of methods to help organize their knowledge. Such methods include graphic organizers, outlining, and summarizing information. Finally, tutors should provide tutees with a chance to review what they have learned. By asking students to summarize what they have read, put information into their own words, compare and contrast specific information, and apply old ideas to new situations, tutors are strengthening old connections and creating new ones within their knowledge structures. 16 Other Tips to Improve Student Learning In studying teachers, researchers have discovered that the effective teachers all share some specific techniques in their class structures. Those techniques have been adapted here for tutors to use as well. Tips for Structuring a Session: Begin with a short review of old material. Present new material in small steps and provide an opportunity for the student to practice after each step. Give clear and detailed explanations and instructions. Ask lots of questions and allow the student sufficient time to answer each one. Guide the student during the initial practice. Give frequent constructive feedback. Remember that it is important to give tutees frequent opportunities to answer questions and explain the material in their own words. This gives tutors a chance to correct any misconceptions the student may have before those ideas are stored in long term memory. Therefore, tutors should present material in small steps, checking for understanding after each one. The development of meaningful knowledge structures is the key to storing material that is easy to recall and applying that information to new situations. Tutors should encourage students to use all available resources to help organize their knowledge, create connections between old and new information, and strengthen connections that already exist. By helping students learn the techniques listed above, tutors will not only help tutees succeed in specific classes, but also make it possible for tutees to overall become better students. Material adapted from: Chapter 10 in J.W. Lloyd, E.J. Kameanui, and D. Chard (Eds.) (1997) Issues in educating students with disabilities. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum: Pp. 197-221. 17 Level III, Module 5 Module 3.5 Organizational Skills Objectives: Understand the value of organization in the learning process. Discover what the role of the tutor is in developing organizational skills. Learn techniques to improve students’ organizational skills. The world is an increasingly complex place, and students often find their lives becoming more demanding with each passing day. Students may find themselves feeling anxious, depressed, or just overwhelmed because they cannot keep up with deadlines or meet specific goals. One of the most effective tools for dealing with the demands of school and other obligations is organization. However, tutors who are also students may find that they cannot help students organize their lives because they themselves are not organized. The following information is intended to help tutors structure their lives as well as to provide tips for tutors to pass along to tutees. Tips for Getting Organized Organization may seem challenging, especially when the chaos of busy schedules, homework, and exams becomes overwhelming. These tips may help students sort through the mess and make some sense out of their busy lives. For Specific Classes: List all the assignments for the class and their due dates, based on the syllabus. Estimate the time needed to finish each assignment. Use information gathered from previous students or personal experience, and be realistic. Set up a detailed schedule for each day at least one week in advance. Be sure to include study times, class times, and any other commitments. Create a list of goals for the week and try to meet all those goals before the next Monday. 18 At Home: Use a large Master Calendar to write down appointments, deadlines, and other major events. Establish daily routines. Put important materials in one place. Set aside a time each week to sort out clutter. Eat, sleep, and exercise regularly. Be flexible. Tutors should model organizational skills for others and help tutees find ways of reducing clutter and stress in their educational endeavors. Using these ideas will help students meet goals and deadlines, thus improving their self esteem and reducing stress. Material adapted from: Organizational Skills to Save Your Semester. (2004). http://www.willamette.edu/cla/ler/organization.htm 19 Level III, Module 6 Module 3.6 Supervising and Training Other Tutors Objectives: Understand the role of the Master Tutor as a supervisor in the Tutoring Center. Learn ways to communicate effectively with other tutors and Tutoring Center staff. Discover why feedback is important for all employees. Learn to evaluate the performance of other tutors and provide constructive criticism to improve their tutoring skills. Find ways to manage conflict in a positive way. Supervising and Evaluating Tutors At the Tutoring Center, Master Level tutors are considered “supervisors” of the lab. This means that they have the experience and background necessary to handle difficult situations, as well as provide support to other tutors and the Tutoring Center staff. Whenever tutors with less experience encounter a situation that requires solutions beyond their knowledge, Master Tutors are expected to provide the encouragement necessary to resolve the problem and help the novice tutors learn new skills to help the tutee succeed. Master Tutors are also required to perform evaluations of the other tutors in the lab, providing constructive criticism to improve the quality of tutoring in the Tutoring Center. However, Master Tutors will not be given the task of constantly monitoring a specific group of tutors, nor will they be expected to hold team meetings or use team management skills to complete projects as most supervisors are. Rather, the Master Tutor’s supervision is more of a mentoring position in which both Master and novice tutors learn from one another and discover new paths to learning through cooperation. Content knowledge is an essential attribute of a tutor; however to be truly effective, a tutor must combine knowledge with many other characteristics. According to managerial research, 15% of the reason a job is retained is determined by the holder’s technical knowledge, skills, and expertise. The other 85% of the reason people advance in their careers is related to their knowledge of people and their people skills. All tutors must use effective communication, but this is especially important to supervising tutors. It is also critical that supervising tutors understand how to give feedback to other tutors and how to resolve conflicts that might arise in the Tutoring Center. 20 Communication According to The National Crime Prevention Council, approximately 75 percent of a supervisor’s time is spent either talking or listening (1; ch.1). This is true for Master level tutors, as they are given the task of supervising other less experienced tutors. To become a good supervisor requires three basic communication skills: Active Listening, Providing Feedback, and Conflict Management. Once these three areas are mastered, the supervising tutors will be able to not only communicate effectively with other tutors, they will also have the ability to manage larger groups in general and establish a functional relationship with other office staff. Active listening: As we have previously discussed, active listening is a way of proving to a speaker that their ideas are being heard and understood through the use of body language, facial expressions, and paraphrasing. Tutors must be careful that the words they use hold the same meaning for the person with whom they are communicating. Often the meaning is interpreted as much from how something is said as it is from what is being said. Therefore, eye contact and body language are crucial to communication. Send a consistent message by making words, tone of voice, facial expressions, and gestures match the message. Stay focused on the present. Listening Blocks: There are many things that can interfere with listening. The following list of examples was adapted from the National Crime Prevention Council’s resource guide entitled, “Becoming a Better Supervisor.” It describes many things that can hinder a supervising tutor’s ability to listen and manage other tutors effectively. (National Crime Prevention Council) Comparing Saying “I have more information or experience...” Mind Reading Saying “I know what you’re really thinking...” or “I know exactly how you feel...” Rehearsing Preparing what you will say before the other is done Filtering Selective listening Judging Jumping to a quick decision, labeling Dreaming Getting lost in your own private associations Identifying Confusing the other’s need with your own Advising Immediately suggesting a course of action, without being asked Sparring Disagreeing: “Yes, but”—also known as playing the devil’s advocate Being Right Maintaining an unshakable point of view Derailing Changing the subject Placating Pretending to agree Criticizing Explaining how the person is wrong Threatening Talking about negative consequences 21 Although tutors do not need to have a degree in education to be effective, it is important that they have a strong background in communication skills, study skills, relational skills, and learning principles. Effective communication is not only needed between tutor and tutee but can enhance tutor cooperation, the quality of decision making by the coordinator, and the level of commitment to the Tutoring Center by the campus administration. Providing Feedback: Evaluating Tutors The goal in developing a model for evaluating the performance of the tutors in the Tutoring Center is to assure that all tutors not only have adequate knowledge of the discipline in which they tutor, but also practice many learner-centered principles to facilitate individualized structured tutoring experiences. Tutoring Center evaluations are a comparison of what occurred during an actual tutoring session with a list of assessment criteria based on the areas of emphasis in our tutor training program. The purposes of tutor evaluations are to: provide a formal and consistent method for documenting tutoring standards facilitate communication between tutors and between tutors and the Tutoring Center Coordinator promote and maintain job efficiency determine training needs Tutor evaluations are based on numerous criteria. Some areas of interest include: What is the tutor’s record of attendance and punctuality? Is the tutor dependable? Is the tutor consistently organized and prepared for the tutoring session? Does the tutor display patience toward the tutee and enthusiasm toward the subject area? Does the tutor communicate well with the tutee as well as other staff members? Is the tutor knowledgeable, a good resource, and able to guide the tutee? Is the level of explanation provided too elementary, too advanced, or appropriate to the needs of the tutee? Does the tutor display concern for the tutee? Is the tutor’s attitude encouraging, respectful, and supportive? Does the tutor give positive reinforcement to assist the tutee in becoming more confident in his/her own abilities? 22 Is the tutee made to feel welcome? Does the tutor shown creativity and innovation? Does the tutor use alternate methods of explaining content and give examples that may help the tutee better understand? Does the tutor use probing questions to encourage the tutee to actively participate in the sessions? Does the tutor cooperate with staff and faculty as needed? Does the tutor illustrate good record keeping skills in the preparation of progress reports? Following the observation of a representative tutoring session, it is recommended that the evaluator meet with the tutor being evaluated. When meeting with tutors to discuss their performance, be sure to follow some basic guidelines: Be prepared. Go over the evaluation form point by point. Whenever possible, describe and demonstrate how something is to be done. Give and allow feedback. Provide specific, supporting comments. Be respectful and professional. Do not get personal. Comment on the performance, not the person. Critique the behavior exhibited in the tutoring session and not the personality characteristics of the tutor. Ask the tutor if he/she agrees with the assessment. How does the tutor see any weaknesses? Ask the tutor for his/her views and opinions. Use open-ended questions. Really listen. Do not allow emotion to get in the way of real communication. 23 Providing feedback to other tutors can be a delicate task. Often, there are behaviors that need to be corrected in order to enhance the learning that occurs during tutoring sessions. To help in providing corrective feedback, we recommend the DESC Model. DESC Model: Describe the problem behavior. Express why that behavior is a problem. Specify what should be done instead, allowing the tutor to add ideas or make suggestions. Clarify the consequences for changing or failing to change the behavior. Remember that when evaluating a tutor, the focus should not just be the things that were done poorly, but also the things that were exceptional. Give praise for a job well done when it is deserved, and try to use those positive comments to soften the impact of the corrective feedback. (National Crime Prevention Council) Feedback is clearly an important component of supervising tutors. After the initial observation, the supervising tutor should sit down and discuss the results in a friendly manner. This conversation should be the beginning of an ongoing dialogue about improving tutoring. An evaluator can become a coach or mentor to a tutor. Most tutors want to do their best and have a genuine interest in helping their tutees. Evaluators can provide positive reinforcement of good work or corrective feedback in a positive manner when improvement is needed. The evaluator and the tutor can set future goals together to continue to improve tutoring. Together, tutors can determine what changes need to be made so that the Tutoring Center not only survives but actually thrives. Conflict Management No matter how good a supervisor is, conflict is inevitable when working with diverse populations. When a conflict arises, it is because the goals, methods, values, needs, or ideas of two or more people clash in some manner. To resolve these conflicts, use Active Listening and the DESC Model to help both sides of the argument understand one another and ease the tension that exists. Statements beginning with “I” are preferred to the more accusatory “you” statements. By using sensitive language and making sure that everyone understands the root of the conflict, the supervising tutor will be able to manage the situation in a calm and productive way. 24 The steps to resolving conflict are: 1. Use Active Listening to calm emotions. 2. Be aware that people respond to conflict differently (Thomas-Kilmann Model). 3. Ask questions to begin negotiations. a. What has the other side done or not done that bothers you? (Collecting many details about the conflict will make it easier to determine what steps must be taken to correct behaviors.) b. How do you feel about that? (This may be very obvious!) c. Why is this so important? d. What do you want the other side to do or not do instead? e. What are the consequences if the other side does or does not make the necessary changes? (Determining consequences may not be the supervising tutor’s responsibility, depending on the situation.) 4. Use the answers to the above questions to begin creating solutions that are beneficial to both sides. 5. Help both sides agree upon a plan of actions with clearly defined tasks, responsibilities, and deadlines. The Thomas-Kilmann Model of conflict management styles can also help supervising tutors understand how they manage conflict. By knowing what style of conflict management is typical for an individual, supervising tutors can adapt just as they adapt teaching styles to a student’s learning style. The Thomas-Kilmann Model is explained in Appendix B. (National Crime Prevention Council) Common Mistakes of New Supervisors New supervisors often have good intentions but they have not yet acquired the knowledge or developed the skills needed to supervise effectively. Awareness of some common mistakes and their potential negative effects can be eye-opening and hopefully keep tutor trainers from starting out on the wrong foot. 25 Mistake #1: Hoarding Power One error that new supervisors often make is hoarding their new power. Rather than making all decisions, supervisors can empower others by allowing them to make the practical decisions needed to accomplish the job. It is a poor idea to require tutors to produce results without allowing them the freedom to develop the strategies that best employ their own strengths and styles. Demanding a result without allowing the tutor to help decide the path that will achieve the result is frustrating for the tutor and very inefficient. The supervisor might assist in the development of teams or interest groups to tackle problems as they arise. Also, the supervisor may be able to remove stumbling blocks or hurdles that stand in the way of accomplishing the task at hand. Mistake #2: Failure to Set and Reinforce Clear Expectations Describing the desired behavior in a given situation clearly and concisely should be done the moment a tutor joins the Tutoring Center team. The Tutoring Center Coordinator and Master tutors have compiled a list of performance and behavioral expectations for new tutors to review called the Tutor Responsibility Form. This may include the way tutors should deal with the office staff, tutees, the Tutoring Center Coordinator, and other tutor training supervisors. This list is explained to new tutors during their initial interview. However, as new issues emerge, the list of expectations is updated. This new policy form is distributed to all tutors at the beginning of the quarter in which the policy change goes into effect. Any questions or concerns about these changes should be brought to the attention of the Tutoring Center Coordinator immediately. Mistake #3: Allowing Problems to Continue and Escalate Do not assume people are self-correcting. Letting problems go unaddressed will not make them go away. Instead, by delaying the confrontation, the supervising tutor makes the problem more complicated. The more a behavior is repeated, the more difficult it becomes to correct. Waiting also makes the details of the events or behavior in question less clear. As time goes by, it becomes more difficult to recall specific details for both parties. However, a supervising tutor must be careful not to overreact to situations. Choose your battles wisely. Develop your ability to distinguish between what is a problem and what is not. When in doubt, ask for someone else’s advice or perspective. This allows the supervising tutor to correct problem behaviors effectively without alienating the other Tutoring Center employees. 26 Mistake #4: Failure to Communicate with Difficult People Fight the urge to avoid difficult people. When mistakes are made by tutors, a private conversation should be used to discuss the issues. No one likes to be corrected in front of an audience. An isolated location or safe place and a quiet tone of voice should be used to discuss the areas which need improvement. It is demeaning to broadcast an individual’s evaluation to others. If the problem is a personality clash, supervisors should consult other Tutoring Center Staff before confronting the individual. Often times, supervising tutors will discover that what they consider a problem behavior is only a problem for them. In these situations, try to change the way you react to the individual’s behavior. If a tutor has a habit of becoming very defensive in almost any situation, try to take a less aggressive approach to discussions. Remember, it is nearly impossible to change another person’s behavior; changing one’s own attitude and approach is much more realistic. Mistake #5: Taking the Matter Personally Sometimes supervisors personalize a matter and become upset, disappointed, or angry with a tutor when something goes wrong. If a tutor is not behaving in an appropriate manner, the supervising tutor’s job is to bring this to the individual’s attention The tutor should have the opportunity to hear what the supervisor believes is unacceptable behavior. Guidance should be offered regarding the acceptable behavior in the situation. The tutor should be given the opportunity to demonstrate that they can perform the acceptable behavior. Once a problem has been identified for a tutor, it is theirs to address and solve. Mistake #6: Burning Bridges On the other hand, we should not act as if “familiarity breeds contempt.” A promotion to a supervisory role should not demand the destruction of valuable relationships that have taken time and energy to build. Whereas new supervisors sometimes think their new role requires distance from those being supervised, this attitude can be interpreted as arrogance, aloofness, or insecurity. It is often difficult to make the switch from one being supervised to one doing the supervision. Those being observed may be friends with whom the supervisors empathize. In this case, the new supervisor may side with those being supervised and blame others with more 27 power for problems or lack of support. In contrast, other new supervisors may do the opposite and separate themselves from former associates by complaining of their lack of work ethic, drive, and determination. Remember to always treat others as you would want to be treated. Do not “bark” commands but rather discuss suggestions. Often employees see the supervisor from below as representing the organization, while, from above, the same person is held accountable for the development of the team. The challenge for the supervisors is to balance the needs of the Tutoring Center with those of individual tutors. Mistake #7: Failure to Seek Feedback New supervisors often fail to ask for feedback on their performance in their new job. Perhaps it is a feeling of insecurity that inhibits their request for an evaluation of their performance. It is better to know where one’s weaknesses lie so that those areas can be strengthened. It is with this in mind that the evaluations of tutors include not only new tutors, but also those moving up in training levels and Master tutors who have completed all levels of training. Mistake #8: Engaging in Illegal Activities A major mistake that some supervisors make is to follow poor examples of behavior sometimes observed in the workplace. Whenever one performs an unethical or questionable practice, one is risking personal sanctions as well as institutional sanctions for the Tutoring Center. As an example, sexual harassment will not be tolerated in the Tutoring Center. According to COTC’s Harassment Policy, “Conduct whether verbal, non-verbal, or physical constitutes harassment if it creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or academic environment that unreasonably interferes with work or academic performance or negatively affects an individual’s employment or academic opportunities.” (Central Ohio Technical College) Sexual harassment, then is listed as including unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature that is either made a condition for employment and/or academic status or interferes with the victim’s performance at work and/or school by creating a hostile, offensive, or intimidating environment. (Central Ohio Technical College) One basic type of harassment would be where a supervisor makes job-related decisions such as who is promoted or gets a particularly desirable assignment based on who will perform sexual favors. A second type of sexual harassment is where a co-worker engages in sexual 28 behavior that makes another person feel uncomfortable. If Fred approaches Jane and tells a dirty joke that makes Jane feel uncomfortable, Fred could be guilty of sexual harassment. To avoid sexually harassing a co-worker, a supervisor should not engage in any relationship with co- workers that is not a professional one. Do not use offensive language or tell dirty jokes on campus. Do not bring sexually related items like pornographic magazines, lingerie, or gag gifts to school. Handshakes are usually regarded as acceptable behavior but please be aware of any cultural differences that might make such contact unwanted. Any other physical contact could be considered harassment. As a second example of behavior to avoid, consider the ramifications of the Privacy Act. This law limits the ability to discuss personal information about an employee to only those that need to know. If you have a negative feeling about a person, do not discuss that feeling in casual conversation or thoughtless emails. Remember that confidentiality is crucial to the integrity of the Tutoring Center. Conclusion It is important to realize that there is no one best way to supervise tutors. New supervisors often equate different methods of supervision with showing favoritism and, as such, should be avoided. Supervisors should conduct group meetings or training sessions to explain how different methods of supervision may work better in some cases rather than others. New supervisors should guard against generalizing about what is best for tutors and instead should allow tutors to verbalize what they expect, want, and need. By coaching other tutors, the supervising tutors will develop skills that can be carried with them throughout their lives, making them strong leaders and excellent educators. Works Cited Central Ohio Technical College. "Harassment Policy 2.1.20." Newark, OH: Central Ohio Technical College, 1 October 2008. National Crime Prevention Council. Becoming a Better Supervisor: A Resource Guide for National and Community Service Supervisors. Washington, DC: National Crime Prevention Council, 1996. 29 Appendix: Requirements Level III: Master Tutor The Tutoring Center certifies its tutors as College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA) tutors. The Level III requirements are listed below with an estimated time needed to complete each task. This level of training is optional. You are required to complete Level III requirements by the end of the quarter/semester in which you began Level III training. Review Levels 1 and 2 training and complete Modules 3.1 through 3.7 of the Tutor Training Program by attending the associated workshops. Complete all four Level III essay quizzes. (ten hours) Complete the Level III Tutor Training Project by selecting from the list below or present an alternative idea to the Tutoring Center Coordinator for approval. Level III tutors must spend a minimum of 4 hours on this project based on the estimated completion times given. (4 hours) Complete 25 hours of tutoring. The Tutoring Center Coordinator will notify the tutor when 25 hours have been completed. Choose Options from the following list to complete the final stage of Level III. A total of four hours of training needs to be completed by combining the different options listed below. Arrange to meet with a faculty member in your area of tutoring. Visit him/her during office hours and discuss ways in which the tutor can better assist that instructor’s students. Complete a one-page reflection about the discussion. (1 hour) Arrange a meeting with a college administrator (dean, vice-president, president). Visit him/her and discuss the importance of tutoring and the Tutoring Center services and how it fits into OSUN/COTC’s educational system. Complete a one-page reflection about the discussion. (1 hour) Create a training video that would be placed in the Tutoring Center for future tutors to use during their training. The Tutoring Center Coordinator must approve the topic of the video. (4 hours) Attend a conference and/or workshop other than those already required for Level 3 concerning topics related to tutor training. The conference or workshop needs to be approved by the Tutoring Center Coordinator. (4 hours) Observe a math tutor session and a session in one of the other areas (Chemistry, Writing, or Spanish) and complete the compare/contrast worksheet. (2 hours) Serve as a mentor tutor for a beginning tutor. (time subject to activity) If you have an idea to satisfy some and/or all of these four training hours, discuss the idea with a Master Tutor, and then submit the idea to the Tutoring Center Coordinator to gain approval. NOTE: Work completed for the Tutor Certification at Level III will become the property of the Tutoring Center and will be used for the purpose of maintaining the Tutoring Center Tutor Program as a viable source of training for future tutors.
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