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First ever co-ed peer tutoring training celebrates program success

It takes a special type of school-related workshop to get Upper School students out on a Saturday afternoon. More than 40 Upper Canada College and Bishop Strachan School students flocked to the Learning Commons on Jan. 11 to both celebrate their involvement in their respective school’s peer tutoring programs and create a digital guide for other schools seeking to implement one.

The event both marked the first time the Wernham and West Centre for Learning’s (CFL) peer tutors and UCC’s Horizons tutors have trained together. As well, it represented the first co-ed peer tutor training program for both UCC and BSS students.

“Learning from your peers is a non-judgmental and risk-free way to learn,” says Mary Gauthier, CFL executive director. “Those are some reasons peer tutoring is such a great success.”

Indeed, when asked to contribute a Post-it note to a board of “Why are you tutoring?” students said they were giving back to a program in which they had flourished themselves. As well, though they aren’t professional teachers, they mentioned the satisfaction of seeing kids learn.

Additionally, the convened students created illustrated “storyboards” of potential peer tutoring scenarios, with the intent of migrating them online to share with other schools interested in setting up a similar program, knowing what to do with their charges and how to keep the program moving forward. For example, a potential scenario could show how one would proceed with a disorganized boy who’s reluctant to get help.

“It’s wonderful for the older students to actually see the younger ones move forward in their learning,” says Gauthier.

Peer tutoring has been a success at the College for more than a decade, with students in Foundation Year through IB2 working with Prep students individually and through the after-school homework club.