Students Discuss Benefits of Peer Tutoring

Students across campus work with their classmates to solve homework problems, study for tests, and understand concepts. Yet for some, this type of peer tutoring can mean a worthwhile experience and extra spending money.

“I thought it would be a good experience to teach peers more,” said Peter Arvanitis, a junior majoring in math and psychology. “I’m good at it, so I like helping people, and this is stuff I can help them with.”

Arvanitis started tutoring at the Mathematics Technology Learning Center (MTLC) this past August. He wants to be a professor, and tutoring gives him experience with different teaching styles and problems students encounter.

“It helps me understand better why people are struggling with certain concepts, what barriers there are for people to overcome, and good ways to get around those obstacles,” Arvanitis said.

Tutors at the MTLC walk around the room, answering questions when students raise their hands. This free service gives math aid at seven different levels. Steve Moughon is a junior majoring in economics and history, and tutors at the MTLC. Moughon said he had a tough time understanding math, so he wanted to be a tutor to help other students who struggle with it.

“I think [peer tutoring] is incredibly important because without that individual attention, some people would fall through the cracks,” Moughon said. “Even if they understand 95 percent of what’s going on, that last 5 percent is crucial.”

Being able to relate to students and understand where they are coming from is something that drew Katrina Staggemeier to tutoring. As a senior graduate student in chemistry, Staggemeier offers paid tutoring services to students on top of her office hours. She said tutoring not only helps teach students, but it also helps tutors learn the material.

“I’ve learned more about different styles of learning than I ever thought was possible,” Staggemeier said. “If you have to understand it to be able to teach it to somebody else, then you’re going to understand it better than you ever thought you could.”

Tutoring can help give students more attention than perhaps a professor could, Staggemeier said. Both the tutor and the student benefit from the experience, and in the end, they are both rewarded when the student suddenly grasps the problem.

“I like being able to explain things to kids,” Staggemeier said. “It’s nice to be able to take the knowledge that I know I have and convey it to somebody else in a way that they understand because they get that light-up and you see that click moment when everything comes into place. I think that’s really cool.”