Tutor Training and Computer Science
Being a tutor is not about giving the answer to the student, but guide the student to the answer. There are some skills that a tutor must master in order to steer the student to the solution. Listening, empathy and receiving feedback, and having a great communication relationship are the skills that a tutor at Palomar College must master. In the computer science department, the tutor must listen at the student question and see why he/she does not understand. Receiving feedback is an important component for the computer science tutor, due to the nature of different perspectives in computer programing (or networking administration). Also, it crucial relationship of having a good communication in a friendly environment.
So today, it’s the last day I will tutor at Palomar College. I spent like over 2 years helping the students and CSIT Systems Analyst with small jobs here and there. It was a fun and valuable experience. So this is my view on tutoring students. In the computer science department, tutoring the students is not about giving the answer, but listening their needs, concerns, and problems. Tutors are expected that the student ask questions, as the student will provide more clues in solving the problem. If the student is not asking or is to shy, then the tutor will say “where should we start?” and the student will say something that could help both the tutor and the student. For example, asking the student where to start in a programing lesson will give the tutor a clue on the subjects that the student is having trouble with. If the student wants to know what classes are (as in Object Oriented programing that describes the contents of the objects), then the tutor will explain why classes are important in Java, C++, etc. Feedback is equally important, as the tutor will need more information in order to be a more efficient at explaining the material. I remember the advice I receive is that I need to do more research on Apple’s Xcode and Microsoft Visual Studio is very different, because I gave not so good advice on debugging techniques. Listening problems and receiving feedback is important, but the tutor must also have kindness. Compassion is skill that a tutor must master. The tutor can’t just ridicule a student’s mistakes, in fact it hurts the relationship of tutor and student. Also, the tutor may not know that a student could have a disability. That is why a tutor should not judge, ridicule, or make assumptions. That is why a tutor must know that Palomar College has a department with specialized staff and equipment. The Disability Resource Center (DRC) has equipment that can help a student with disability and it’s the tutor job to adapt to this situations. For example, computer science will involve reading many articles in the World Wide Web and if a student brings a devise that makes reading much easier, then the tutor must be friendly and not shunned the devise. In some cases, the tutor will have a situation where the student with a disability will not have a devise that makes reading easier. The tutor must have some kind of knowledge, particularly in the computer science, in how to make the computer screen more readable: increase the text size, adjust DPI scaling, use high contrast, etc. Kindness for student is important, therefore, the tutor must have a good character. Lastly communication is an important element between the tutor and the tutee. Not words, but using pictures, drawings, or paradigms. In some cases, using diagrams and pictures will help the student’s visualization of the problem. According to South Seattle College tutoring program, using “effective tutoring is to present the material in as many different formats as possible” meaning that using the whiteboard, diagrams, or objects will help communicate with the students. For instance, in computer science, the problem with some students is how values are stored in computer memory. By drawing a circular or rectangle and dividing them into different sized pieces, then the tutee can visual how data are stored into these sections. Listening, empathy and receiving feedback, and having a great communication relationship are the skills Palomar college tutors must master. Lastly, I hope I did a difference for someone.