Pasadena City College, Home of the PCC Lancers


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News: PCC Learning Assistance Center Wins Tutoring Association Award

Tutor Award

Pasadena City College has been honored for excellence once again, this time for its tutoring program.

The National Tutoring Association presented PCC with the NTA 2012 Award of Excellence for two-year colleges. The NTA said the organization selected PCC “for its high number of student tutors earning certification, and for continuing development of effective tutoring support services for the college.”

John Wood, director of the PCC Learning Assistance Center, said it’s a collaborative effort on the part of everyone in the community.

“Our program is especially effective because it’s a cooperative program,” Wood said.

Wood isn’t just talking about the 15 or so tutoring programs on campus, although those have certainly contributed to the learning atmosphere. Within PCC’s tutoring program, faculty, management, classified staff, and students all come together to talk about various topics throughout the 10-week course, such as being prepared, listening skills, and organization.

“It’s all about how well we do when we work together,” Wood said. “It’s about producing the right conducive atmosphere.”

And as any tutor will tell you, teaching is one of the best ways to learn.

“There’s only so much you can learn from a 16-week course and to me, I feel like I learn something new each time I tutor and review concepts from chemistry,” PCC student and tutor Heenal Shah said.

Wood smiles when he talks about his tutors.

“Tutoring is where learning really takes place,” he said. “The biggest reward is that it taught them about the process of learning. I’ve seen it change perspectives on careers.”

Vincent Belletto agreed.

“The experience and training I’ve received as a tutor at PCC has helped set a strong foundation for my future career as an academic,” he said.

PCC has certified more than 1,000 tutors in the last 10 years. The program is designed to give tutors a more comprehensive vision of learning, and the different styles of learning that are unique to each student that comes for help.

“By applying what is called the ‘Socratic Method’ that I learned from the tutor training program, I started asking leading questions that encourage my tutees to think and figure out the answers on their own. It turned out to be a wise approach because the students found it was helpful, and they became more active in learning the subject and willing to come back more often to seek help,” said Khoan Tang, a student and tutor who went through the program.

Wood believes that the program was honored with the award because of its continuing interest and participation in the evolution of tutoring.

“We find out what works and we incorporate it into our program,” Wood said. “We’re actually going to start offering a 24/7 online tutoring program, made possible by a grant from the student body.”

So if you’re one of those students who stays up until 3 a.m. studying, now you don’t have to do it alone, Wood said.

Jose Velasquez, a tutor, believes that teaching is a tool to empower others.

“It is the most honorable way to give back to the community, and the gratification you get from helping others is immeasurable,” Velasquez said.

The tutors who have gone through the training program all agree, tutoring has not only helped others, but also themselves.

“Tutoring has opened my mind to the notion of not only effective pedagogy, but interpersonal relationships,” Haebitchan Jung said.

In the crowded but productive LAC, Wood has nailed it. It is a partnership for excellence.

For more information about the PCC Learning Assistance Center, call (626) 585-7230.

Release Date: 06/26/2012
Contact: Juan F. Gutierrez , Director, Public Relations
Phone: (626) 585-7315

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