As students have been going through AP exams this week, it’s doubtless that several of them are benefitting from Shawnigan’s peer tutoring program.
Academic Prefect Max C. made it part of his mission this year to improve peer tutoring. In previous years, the program has “fizzled out” early in the year, but with so many students willing to step up to help out their classmates, he wanted to reinvigorate the process.
“We are lucky enough to have motivated people who want to help,” Max says of the 20 or 30 students who sign up to offer their help as tutors.
In the past, Max related, volunteer tutors have been stationed in the library where classmates could find them and ask for help, but few students showed up. This year, Max tried to “flip” the way things were done and make it easier for students to find tutors. He made a list of available tutors and put up posters with a QR code that students could scan to find someone suitable for their needs.
“If they need help, they can access the list and email tutors,” Max explains. “It puts it on the students to reach out.”
Tutors made themselves available in common rooms in boarding houses, making themselves more accessible to their fellow students. Max’s goal was to lower the obstacles for students who wanted to reach out for assistance.
“It can be a tough thing for a student to do, to ask for help,” he says. “I wanted to try to lower that bar.”
The biggest issue with getting students to take advantage of peer tutoring is that they don’t always remember it’s available and need a little nudge.
“When there’s an announcement, there are positive results,” Max notes. “That’s a victory.”
Max personally tutors math and AP macroeconomics. He reports to Assistant Head – Academics Mrs. Wendy Milne, who also happens to be his advisor.
The program is available for students in all grades, with tutors from all grades, including some Grade 8 students who have offered up their services.
The value of the peer tutoring program comes from the comfort level for students. Max points out that in many cases, it’s easier for a student to ask for help from a classmate than an instructor.
“For students, it’s sometimes more comfortable than working with a teacher.”
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Shawnigan Lake School is an independent co-educational boarding school for ages 13 –18 on Canada’s beautiful West Coast. Our diverse, interdisciplinary and innovative programming helps shape the next generation of global leaders.