Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Women in Engineering
The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of peer tutoring experiences on upper-class male and female tutors who provided supplemental instruction (SI) for first-year engineering students enrolled in required general chemistry and physics courses at Northeastern University. Our previous research has shown a correlation between regular use of SI by first-year engineering students and increased GPA, as well as gender-based differences in SI usage and effects of SI. In this study, we turned our focus to the effects of the tutoring role on the tutors and sought to elucidate 1) whether tutors perceived that they benefitted from the SI experience, and if so, in what ways, 2) how gender affected attitudes towards tutoring and the impact of serving as a peer educator, and 3) whether level of commitment to group SI correlated with tutors’ perceptions of how they were impacted.
Forty-one individuals who served as peer tutors at Northeastern University between 2005 and 2018 were invited to respond to online surveys. Those who completed the online survey were invited to participate in follow-up phone interviews. Subjects were asked about their experiences with SI, their motivations to provide instruction, their level of commitment to the program, and—as they reflected on their college and post-graduation endeavors—their perceptions of the value of their tutoring experience. Statistical comparisons were drawn from the responses of 20 female and 9 male tutors to the online survey, and qualitative analysis of transcripts of follow-up phone interviews with 13 women and 4 men were performed.
Through the application of grounded theory to transcripts, supported by statistical analysis of data from the online survey, it was deduced that increased confidence and preparedness in future endeavors was the core category that linked individuals’ tutoring experiences. Participants reported that relationships developed with tutees, fellow tutors, and faculty mentors during their tutoring experiences impacted them beyond their experiences as tutors. Participants reported improved soft skills, including communication, teamwork, and leadership, and strengthened academic abilities, which resulted from a deeper understanding of the tutored subject matter. Serving as tutors also caused tutors to be more open to receiving tutoring themselves in their coursework. Improvement in soft skills along with enhanced academic ability contributed to an increased sense of confidence and preparedness. Analysis of the role of gender showed that females were more likely than males to perceive an increase in self-confidence and to view themselves as confidence builders for tutees. Women were also more likely than men to become a tutor to improve their communication skills and help others. Years spent as a tutor correlated positively with greater perceived benefits for both genders. This study demonstrates that peer tutoring can have a significant impact on the academic performance and professional development of tutors, particularly females, in addition to tutees.
Ghio, C., & Morris, S. A., & Boyce, H. M., & Priem, B. J., & DiMilla, P. A., & Reisberg, R. (2020, June), The Impacts on Peer Tutors of Leading Group Supplemental Instruction for First-Year Engineering Students Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35336
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