You learn best when you teach another. That’s why the teaching team of SCNC 1111 Scientific Method and Reasoning, which comprises Dr. Eddy Lam, Dr. Rachel Lui, Dr. William Cheung, implemented the Senior Tutor Scheme to encourage and facilitate undergraduate students in sharing their study experience. This scheme is a teaching innovation, applicable to all disciplines.
In the past semester, nine active students were chosen as senior tutors. They were in Year 3 or 4 with rich academic and cultural exchange experiences. The fact that the tutors come from different disciplines in Science also broadens and adds new perspectives to mathematics and statistics teaching.
The tutors contributed in all stages – from designing, preparing and conducting the tutorials, to marking and commenting on assignments. They did not come unprepared, weekly meetings were held by the teaching team as a training to ensure tutors had sufficient knowledge of pedagogy and class management. The teaching team oversaw each tutorial and provided assistance when necessary. Trainings on Moodle, the usage of Google forms and centralized email systems also facilitated smoother implementation.
The scheme’s implementation in the past semester was undoubtedly a win-win case for everyone.
Senior Tutor teaching in a tutorial
- Tutors had a chance to review the basics of their learning – ‘to gain insights from studying the past’ 溫故知新.
- Teaching the concepts through their own way or method in front of the first-year student groups trained their presentation skills and public speaking skills.
- Preparing for tutorials and engaging students during tutorials provided field experience, improving tutors’ management and organizational skills.
Both students and tutors had mutual learning. Tutors learnt through students’ responses and comments.
Samantha Wu, one of the tutors, commented: “Wrong answers could too inspire other students to think, and they sometimes lead the class discussion into a newer perspective of Science.”
- The scheme enabled a decrease in student-to-teacher ratio, giving each student more attention and timely feedback.
- The tutors being only several years older also meant they can be a role model, a peer and an adviser at the same time. Being on a similar academic level, tutors could encourage first-year students to speak up in class, while they may be hesitant in front of professors/teachers. At the same time, having taken this course, the tutors can also offer advice and peer support.
The senior tutors interacting with students during tutorials
Team support is often needed in large-scale flipped classes. Perhaps enlisting the assistance from Senior Tutors would be one way to go. Please contact us if you have more ideas to share about making a greater impact in our teaching and learning through innovation.