Center offers free peer tutoring

As the hectic week of midterms approach, UH students can take advantage of tutoring and studying strategies offered through Learning Support Services. The service is a one-on-one tutoring program for enrolled UH students and staff, located in Room 321, Graduate School of Social Work Building.

This peer-tutoring program offers tutoring in a wide array of subjects from accounting to Arabic.

"We have about 30 to 33 tutors, and throughout the year, we service about 1,000 students, and we have about 3,400 to 4,000 tutoring sessions each semester," Kenneth Williams, Academic coordinator for Learning Support Services, said.

Director of Learning and Assessment Services Gail Gillan said student tutors on staff have shown dedication in helping others seeking free academic assistance.

"The tutoring is primarily walk-in, so students can come in and sign up for tutoring. Our tutors are trained to help students ‘learn how to learn,’" Gillan said. "Since I have been here, I have been impressed with how hard our tutors work and how busy they are," she said.

The program, which has recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, requires tutors to attend training where they are certified through the College Reading and Learning Association.

Williams believes the program gives students a chance to learn in a more intimate atmosphere than what a large lecture class offers.

"It gives students, I think, a confidence in their course work. For example, here they get to ask questions to the tutors that a lot of times (students) might be afraid or don’t have the time to (ask) in a large auditorium class of 1500 people," Williams said.

Chemistry senior Jimmy Do, who tutors chemistry and college algebra, said being a tutor is a rewarding experience for both student and tutor. By helping others, Do enhances his own knowledge through repetition, a process he says is valuable to his own studies.

"I enjoy helping out because at the same time that I’m helping out other students, I’m also helping out myself because it reinforces what I already know," he said.

For others, such as math and physics tutor Ashish Patel, tutoring is far more than just meeting the logistical eye, but rather establishing an intuitive connection with the subject he teaches.

Patel, who is pursuing his master’s in industrial engineering and received his mechanical engineering degree, said when tutoring others he knows when his students have understood the material.

"If someone gets something out of me – usually from their expression I can make (it) out, or he doesn’t even have to speak about it – immediately their body language and expression tells me that (the student) has understood it," Patel said.

For mechanical engineering junior Cesar Nu’ntilde;ez, Learning Support Services has been an integral part of his learning experience here at UH.

"That’s why I’m here all the time. I wouldn’t have made it this far without those guys," Nu’ntilde;ez said.

Students are recruited for tutoring positions every semester, and those interested should have a 3.0 grade point average or better and are paid $9 an hour.

Aside from offering one-on-one tutoring, learning strategy workshops are available on a weekly basis. The workshops cover issues such as test anxiety, time management, test preparation, memory strategies and writing and developing research papers. Support groups for graduate students are also offered where counselors provide private consultation.

"We feel it is an important service that we provide. We assess students’ academic strengths and weaknesses and offer assistance in a confidential, individual setting," Laura Heidel, learning strategies counselor, said.

Hours of operation are Mondays and Tuesdays 9 a.m. through 8 p.m., Wednesdays and Thursdays at 9 a.m. through 6 p.m. and Fridays at 9 a.m. through noon. For more information, students can visit or call (713) 743-5411.

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