Na-rae and Si-young are a close senior and junior who met in dong-a-ri and they applied for tutoring, a program promoting students to work together. They participated in it for getting support money which will be given to them for tutoring. They submitted fake reports and photos in which they pretended to study very hard. Though Kyung Hee University (KHU) has systems to rule out those students, they could not find them.
No matter what goes on during the “meeting”, tutoring gets more and more popular each semester. Last semester, online apply was finished in just three minutes with 700 students applying for tutor whereas only 200 tutors can perform. It is time for us to check how tutoring is operated now, why many problems happen, and how we should deal with by taking a look at some interviews of the participants and other university’s cases.
Tutoring for Team Learning
Tutoring is a program where a tutor, who got grade above A0(Seoul)/A-(Global) in previous class, takes charge of one or two tutees and helps them learn better in the classes they are taking. Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) conducts tutoring programs every semester such as “Lion Tutoring” and “Global Tutoring” for all KHU students starting from 2006. This program promotes students to reinforce their self-initiated learning ability and especially helps foreign students to improve their academic achievement and get along with Korean students.
While tutoring, a team has to meet at least 10 times for one semester. Accordingly, the teams must submit reports 10 times in Seoul Campus whereas the teams in Global Campus can also upload a video on Facebook of CTL instead of reports. If students finished the program in success, they can choose support fund or credit of social service for the reward. About 95% among students selects support fund according to CTL at Global Campus of KHU.
Interview with the participants
According to the statistics by CTL in 2011, students’ satisfaction toward this program is very high; 91% and 91.7% for tutors and tutees respectively. Let’s see what it makes tutoring attractive in participants’ words.
1. Lion Tutoring (For Korean Students)
- Jang, Bo-young, a sophomore in Political Science and international relationship at KHU
In my case, I was a tutee and we studied by asking questions that I could not understand while studying, not learning all contents. I want to participate in the program again because I could be friend with my tutor by meeting often. Through tutoring, I think it helps to get along with other students as a team. Also I could change my habit that cramming for the exam. I had to study ordinarily since all tutoring team has to submit two reports, one by tutor and the other by tutee. I am sure that this will be good for other students of course.
2. Global Tutoring (For Foreign Students)
- Dana Tazhibayeva, a sophomore in School of Business Administration at KHU
I participated to a tutoring program when I was a freshman. Before tutoring it was hard for me to study in Korean alone. While Korean students spend 1 hour reading the contents learned in the class, I needed a whole day for understanding the same content. I came to participate in the tutoring with graduate students, which was great. He told me main points of the class in English, and asked me about it in next tutoring. In this way, I could grasp the main ideas in the textbook more quickly. Global tutoring is helpful for all foreign students, especially freshmen who just came from their home country alone and learn their major in Korean which is not familiar.
Trouble Spot in Tutoring
Last semester, 388 students (184 teams) in Lion Tutoring and 36 students (18 teams) in Global Tutoring were selected. However, there were 15 to 20 teams who were dropped out during the course for not keeping the promise. They submitted only reports without studying together. Other case, some students just met and studied for their own business. They handed in the same report guessing CTL would not find every report of tutoring team.
For solving those problems, CTL made new systems, “Blacklist System”, which precludes the possibly bad teams from participating of tutoring, and “Spot Checking System”, where officers check the meeting without any notice. Even after introducing these rather strict systems, there are still some students who do not use tutoring in the right way. What are the problems remaining?
Problems & Possible Answers
The unique feature of tutoring in KHU is that everything is up to students except for the reports. There is no specified time length and place of the meeting. Above all, the center does not match tutor and tutee, and tutees freely select tutors online who teach the subject that they are taking. This autonomy can mislead students as well as encourage them to decide on their own.
Students who have participated in tutoring for the first time do not have enough information about the way of organizing the meeting.
Tutoring can be more effective for students, if students do tutoring in tailored way to the character of each subjects and students tendency. CTL should tell students about good cases of last semester through orientation and publish casebooks which have various and practical methods of tutoring. Also, CTL has to make both tutor and tutee come to orientation, not only the tutor.
Students have not a stable place for studying.
If CTL provides study rooms for students, they can study in more stable attitude and concentrate well. Tutor will not have to spend their time for finding a place and get pressure for paying when they go to cafe for tutoring. Moreover if study room is set, CTL will look after tutoring teams more effective, detail and easier than now. At Ewah Womans University, they already provide reservation service to students for setting study room in advance.
CTL cannot catch the teams in which the members are already acquainted to each other and have the intention to abuse the program.
CTL needs a matching system between a tutor and a tutee. In the case of Pusan University of Foreign Studies, the CTL itself matches them on a team according to subject which students want to study in a tutoring team.
Indeed, other than these institutional improvements, changes in student’s mind are necessary. Until today, CTL has changed the requirement of the meeting from 32 hours to 10 times and added support fund for rewarding their activity in 2009. Despite the changes for students’ convenience, there are still a number of teams which fail the program. If the teams keep pursuing the money they will get after tutoring and making their excuses which they are busy, it is no use however good the system is. They should be reminded that tutoring does not exist to take their time and give them pocket money: It is a guide which encourages you to build your own strategy for your learning.