CAPTA Connects Tutor Presentation Recap: “Tutors- We are family: The Dynamics of a Tutoring Family Explained”

Over the next several weeks, we will be featuring Tutor Presentation Recaps from our 2015 Conference, CAPTA Connects. This recap is by Katherine Woodward, a Senior tutor from the Edison Writing Center.

My presentation contrasted varying methods of learning to tutor, specifically through the use of mentoring (tutor) families, which consist of experienced tutors teaching new, novice tutors how to perform a tutoring session.

To my surprise, when I surveyed the CAPTA schools, few have a mentor family structure, although roughly 29% of surveyed tutors felt that observations were the most beneficial resource in the process of learning to tutor. I connected the Social Learning Theory (SLT) to tutor families in order to give psychological evidence to support the mentor family structure at my writing center. Albert Bandura believed and proved that people learn how to behave from their environments, specifically through observational learning, which is the act of learning by observing models and then imitating their behaviors.

In connection to tutor family structures, the model is the mentor (experienced tutor) of the family and the observer is the mentee (novice tutor). I also referenced Albert Bandura’s Bobo Doll study to exemplify the Social Learning Theory. This study aimed to evaluate whether or not children would imitate aggressive behaviour modelled by an adult. The children were broken up into three groups: Group 1, Group 2, and Group 3. The first group was exposed to adult models that showed aggressive behaviours, such as smashing the inflatable Bobo dolls. The second group was exposed to a non-aggressive model organizing toys for 10 minutes and the third group was a control group that did not contain a model. After observing the models, all of the children were put into a room with Bobo dolls for the experimenter to watch and evaluate their behaviour in relation to their models. Bandura found that 88% of the children who had  observed the aggressive models were significantly more aggressive both physically and verbally than those who had not been succumb to the behavior of an aggressive model.

This reflects the findings of the Social Learning Theory because children used observational learning through aggression. This study proves that mentor relationships harvest a positive and beneficial learning environment for tutors because mentor families allow first year tutors to observe and learn from their mentors and furthermore imitate their mentor’s behaviours in their own tutoring sessions.

The aim of my presentation, which I hope I succeeded in, was to inspire my fellow peer writing center tutors and/or directors to establish a mentor family structure within their own writing centers because I feel that this structure in place at the Edison Writing Center is an exceptional one that allows tutors to thrive, succeed and better themselves as tutors and as writers. If you are interested in learning more about my presentation please clink on the below links!




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