Peer Tutors Lend a Helping Hand

MICHAEL COLEMAN
El Vaquero Staff Writer

“Many colleges use staff tutors and even graduate students,” said Maria C. Shufeldt, supervisor of the Writing/Learning Center. “But GCC is one of the few colleges that have the peer-to-peer tutorial.”

The Peer Tutoring program is one of the many available resources for GCC students.

The Writing/Learning Center is located on the second level of the Administration building. In order to meet with a tutor, an appointment needs to be scheduled, but the center also has drop-in hours.

What makes the program so unique is its diverse tutors. There are tutors for most subjects. They are students from different cultures, educational backgrounds and life experiences who have been recommended by their professors.

In order to become a peer tutor, one must take a course in tutor training called Student Development 150. This course is an introduction to tutoring skills such as role-playing between tutor and student, learning and teaching tactics, and how to run a tutoring session.

Hector Morales, who comes from Nicaragua and has been attending GCC for a year and half, decided to become a tutor this semester. His professors recommended him several times, but his schedule did not permit it until now. Morales tutors students in English and Political Science. “Being a tutor has its benefits,” said Morales. “It helps me learn from different people, and at the same time, I am helping people.”

Ana Trujillo, a four-year student at GCC, is hearing-impaired. Although Trujillo is not a working tutor this semester, the accounting major was a math tutor last semester. Trujillo tutors deaf students on campus. “I wanted to see all the deaf students pass their math classes, so I decided to tutor them,” said Trujillo. Tutors are usually allowed 30 minutes per student, but sometimes, depending on the subject and the students’ need, they can tutor for up to an a hour.

Javier Torres, another hearing-impaired student, was tutored by Trujillo. “Deaf to deaf is the best opportunity to have communication and understand,” Torres signs in ASL, “than a desperate as to listen to interpreter and hearing people.” To translate what Torres said, communication is clearer and less problematic if both people are deaf and know sign language.

Morales, Trujillo and Torres agree that peer-to-peer tutoring is effective due to the fact that some teachers do not have a lot time to spend with individual students. Some students feel more comfortable with their peers, and this makes the learning process a more enjoyable experience.

The Writing/Learning Center has tutors and staff who work hard to make sure that their students understand the subjects. Students who are interested in becoming tutors may call (818) 240-1000, ext. 5343 or visit the Learning Center on the second level of the Administration building Room 232.