Small Group Tutoring: Our Model

Small Group Tutoring Works!!!

There is a growing body of evidence that supports the strength of peer-led small group tutoring, particularly in the sciences (see Gaudet, Ramer, Nakonechny, Cragg, & Ramer, 2006). Students learn best in a structured community. In the company of a highly skilled, trained tutor, 2 or 3 tutees gain deeper insights into challenging course material by hearing each other ask some of the same questions in different ways. Using strategies to scaffold learning and enhance critical thinking skills, the tutor coaches tutees into understanding new concepts and ideas.

As a form of reciprocal tutoring (Dioso-Henson, 2012), tutoring group members can work together to develop questions for the tutor to increase productivity in their sessions. Eventually, tutoring group members may begin to answer difficult questions on their own within their naturally formed study group. This is another way that small group tutoring encourages the development of higher order thinking and reasoning.

Ithaca College students will adjust very well to small group tutoring if their collegiate level study skills and independent study habits are strong, and if they are routinely visit their professors' office hours. Further, "Studies focusing on the motivational effects of Problem-Based learning [e.g. small group tutorials] demonstrate that group discussion positively influences students' intrinsic interest in the subject matter under discussion (Dolmans & Schmidt, 2006, p. 321). We believe this is the case for IC students.

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REFERENCES

Dioso-Henson, L. (2012). The effect of reciprocal peer tutoring and non-reciprocal peer tutoring on the performance of students in college physics. Research in Education, 87(1), 34-49.

Dolmans, D. H., & Schmidt, H. G. (2006). What do we know about cognitive and motivational effects of small group tutorials in problem-based learning?. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 11(4), 321.

Gaudet, A. D., Ramer, L. M., Nakonechny, J., Cragg, J. J., & Ramer, M. S. (2010). Small-Group Learning in an Upper-Level University Biology Class Enhances Academic Performance and Student Attitudes Toward Group Work. PLoS ONE, 5(12), e15821.

http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0015821

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