Last Quarter, the Outreach Team helped facilitate and attended one of their biggest events of the year: the Peer Tutor & Mentor Summit! This year’s summit theme was “Space!” meaning that all of DePaul’s different galaxies of tutors and mentors—from supplemental instruction to quantitative reasoning to us right here at the UCWbL—could all come together in one peer tutoring universe.
During the summit, different peer tutoring and mentoring groups led round robins which included 15-minute activities to help other students build their tutoring and mentoring skills. And, most fun of all, all of the round robins were space-themed!
Three of the round robins were led by UCWbLers; Gabby May, Sarah Tierney, Trisha Mahoney, Katie Olsen, Kaitlyn Madden, Becca Reynoso, and Savy Leiser (me), put on three round robins that were out of this world!
Mission College: Assisting Tutees to Build Confidence and Reach for the Stars
The idea of this round robin was to give tutors and mentors the chance to reflect on the role that confidence plays in tutors’ daily work with writers or other tutees. Gabby, head Writing Fellow, based this topic on research she did with EAL writers, in which she attempted to gauge how self-perceived abilities in spoken English shape confidence in writing. A lot of what Gabby learned was transferable across tutoring situations since confidence is so important to being successful in any subject. In particular, anxiety, motivation, and attitude towards learning are all factors that influence confidence.
The round robin started off with a free-write about a time participants did not feel confident, then moved onto a discussion about how confidence affects the tutees that they work with. Finally, they worked together to come up with strategies for developing confidence. Participants had a chance to reflect on the role that confidence plays daily and walked away with some new ideas about how they might help tutees address confidence. “Overall, I was really happy with how everything went; it was productive, engaging, and I definitely learned new things from the participants!”
Space for Fun
By Sarah Tierney & Trisha Mahoney
Sarah and Trisha, UCWbL Head Writing Center Tutors, put together a round robin about adding an element of fun to the learning process. “Just as astronauts interact with different planets and worlds, we as tutors must find the best way to interact with the different situations we are presented and make them as helpful and educational as possible,” they explain.
The round robin focused on ways to make the tutoring process more interactive and engaging. Participants were given a topic and had time to brainstorm games they could play to make that topic fun to learn. Then, everyone shared their game with the group. “If we can find a way to make our tutoring sessions more interactive, then they become less intimidating and more fun-oriented while still maintaining a focus on the educational benefits,” Sarah and Trisha say.
Headspace: Keeping Calm Under Pressure
By Savy Leiser, Kaitlyn Madden, Katie Olsen, & Becca Reynoso
Katie came up with the idea of centering a round robin on mindfulness. When tutoring other students, we all need to be mindful of their different perspectives and experiences. Others may not look at a topic, an assignment, or a challenge the same way we do. That’s why for this round robin we practiced looking at familiar concepts from new perspectives.
Keeping with the space theme, we had our participants pretend to be aliens arriving on Earth for the first time. We then gave each person a familiar object—like a bag of coins, a plastic fork, or a roll of masking tape—and asked them to imagine they had no knowledge of this item. Using their five senses (excluding taste, so really their four senses), participants examined the objects and tried to figure out what these weird Earth people might use them for.
After the activity, we reflected on what it felt like to look at things from a new perspective and how we might include this skill in our tutoring practices.
At the end of the summit, everyone reflected on one new thing they learned or one piece of advice they took away from the day’s activities. We all wrote these on stars and hung them up around the room—creating one beautiful tutor and mentor universe!