New education program to help BC students in need of tutor support

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New education program to help BC students in need of tutor support

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Benjamin Lindquist is showing his SI tricks and study techniques to students.

Vanessa A. Munoz, Opinions Editor

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In spring of 2014 Bakersfield College gained a new educational program that takes tutoring to a whole other level. The Supplemental Instruction program is new to BC but according to Eileen Pierce the head director of SI, a graduate student created the program in 1974 at the University of Kansas, Missouri.

Pierce expresses her admiration of the advantages the program has to offer students and the incredible spike in grades the students obtain while attending SI. Tutors (SI leaders) who instruct for the SI program are everyday students who happen to have either aced the class their tutoring or have received a B in the course themselves with that same professor. Each SI leader not only goes over the course material with the students but also attends the very class they are taking with these students. Of course each Professor is aware of the program and the SI leaders since they signed up for the SI program’s assistance themselves.

Currently there are 26 SI leaders and over 40 course sessions that make up the SI program. Each course covered gets a session of 5- 20 students. Pierce explains how research shows students who attend the SI program six or more times get a whole grade higher in that course. SI leaders are able to teach new methods and techniques that they have witnessed as useful to students who are struggling to understand the course material. All leaders are of course paid to help tutor students for the time during sessions, also the time used to sit in a class, half an hour that is used to meet with the instructor every week to discuss how the sessions are going, and their paid for training, leaders are trained four times a semester totaling 11 hours.

The types of courses that are covered vary with a wide selection of academic development, to remedial and even transferable courses such as history, English, biology and chemistry. SI is not only for students who are doing horribly in a class but also to students who need a higher grade or GPA in order to transfer or join a school club.

An SI course section that is in high demand is the biology session that is lead by Benjamin Lindquist who was recommended by professor Newman to tutor students in his biology course. Lindquist felt that he needed to reach out to more students than just the few students that he was tutoring in the one-on-one sessions at the tutoring department. With the addition of the SI program to BC, Lindquist feels students are now given extra hours of tutoring and studying that weren’t available before. Lindquist states “A student has many different opportunities available to them now, they can go to the tutoring center for one hour a week, then to the SI sessions twice a week there’s three hours of extra help, plus there’s still office hours that the professor offers, so there is up to five hours of that individual attention that we can give to students.”

Pierce also states “SI is sort of imposing that group study structure on students and inviting them to come”, she explains her thoughts on how she feels that by offering a group study environment this helps give students a way to build their confidence in class around others but it helps the students to see that their not the only ones struggling in the class. Pierce and SI leaders feel the program builds relationships between themselves and the students so when the students succeed they all succeed. The Supplemental Instruction program meets in the computer lab area next to media services in the library in room’s L-129, 130, and 131.

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