First, thank you, Math Universe, for posting on this important topic of peer tutoring. Peer tutoring is an intensely interactive and often immensely effective means of learning and mastering new materials. I love especially that this post is coming from Math Universe, since many articles and posts often focus on writing-related opportunities for peer tutoring (not that these opportunities aren’t very important as well; my own tutoring experience is grounded primarily in the world of writing). Peer tutoring and classroom-organized study groups are terrific tools for helping students discover ways of both understanding the materials for themselves and from the perspectives of others.
It’s this diversity that I find especially appealing about in-class study group systems. Friends often study together or forge their own study groups outside of class. However, while this is great, it can also be beneficial to work with people you wouldn’t normally otherwise consult. In colleges, such systems are alive and well. Take Southwestern University (Georgetown, TX) for example. They’ve long been experimenting with the Paideia Program, where accepted applicants are grouped into diverse cohorts that will stick together, serve together, and learn together from their sophomore year to their senior year. This enables students from all departments and backgrounds to come together and benefit from each other’s unique perspectives. Of course, the program has changed dramatically since I was a student there (it’s now a requirement of all Southwestern students rather than a program for students to apply into), but the core purposes and goals remain the same: interdisciplinary collaboration, civic engagement, intercultural experience, and learning to apply one’s education beyond the classroom. (For more information on the Paideia Program specifically, visit: http://www.southwestern.edu/paideia/)
All of this is to say that peer tutoring and formalized study groups can be as diverse, challenging, and beneficial as you want to make them. Studying and mastering new skills is always difficult, but taking the time to work through these challenges with others not only fosters greater opportunities to learn, but greater opportunities to form lifelong friendships, leadership qualities, and collaboration skills.
Something that I really like about science classes is that during lab you get the opportunity to interact with classmates. In lecture only classes, it seems as though people just show up to class and then leave, but when you have lecture and then lab after a short break – or viseversa – there is that additional time to get to know each other.
The reason I bring this up is because sometimes it’s helpful to study with another person. Some more introverted students (such as myself) may have difficulty meeting friends in class. But when you are sitting in tables that seat four people and told to work with a partner, it’s like a built-in study buddy. Or it could be a horrible nightmare if your partner is completely incompetent, but even then that can have its positive side, as I will discuss later.
My Trigonometry teacher would always…
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