PINC Tutors: Reflections on Mentor Training

The inaugural semester of the PINC program has begun and everyone is excited to see the students make progress in their understanding of computer science while having fun as well! Our CS graduate student tutors are an integral part of our students’ success. We have four tutors who will each hold two tutoring meetings every week during the semester.

Mentorship by CS graduate students is one of the unique aspects of our program. It not only gives our students the benefit of weekly interaction with tutors in a small-group setting, but also offers CS masters students the opportunity to gain teaching and mentoring experience.

Three of our tutors attended a mentor training workshop on campus at the beginning of the semester. Tutors Rupal Khilari and Anu Aggarwal reflect on their experience: 

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Rupal Khilari: “It was truly inspiring to see their teamwork, belief and efforts which brought about a meaningful change.”

“The training was directed towards active participation, encouraging the students to reflect on topics and share ideas. It taught us a variety of interesting concepts for effective mentoring.” 

“Through active participation we learnt about implicit and explicit expectations of mentors, and also learnt valuable lessons from past experiences of former facilitators – what worked and did not work for them.”

“The highlight [of the training] was when we watched the documentary ‘Agents of Change’ – about the African-American student union uprising of 1968 that took place at San Francisco State University and Cornell to include more opportunities and relevant education for them. This led to the inclusion of ethnic and black history studies and helped integrate people from diverse backgrounds. We also had the chance to interact with former members of this uprising at SFSU. It was truly inspiring to see their teamwork, belief and efforts which brought about a meaningful change.”

 

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Anu Aggarwal: “You need to understand the needs of each student and organise the class accordingly. One needs to keep in mind that they are not spoonfeeding the students with all the answers. You need to help the students reach up to the answers by brainstorming rather than letting them know the answers.”

“The goal of the workshop was to train both new as well as experienced facilitators/tutors about about the learning process and effective learning environments. We learned about the 5E’s that can help to layout the structure of your class: Engage-Explore-Explain-Elaborate-Evaluate. Different teaching techniques can be applied, like having group discussions, Q/A sessions, games etc. in order to make classes more fun and informative.”

“Being a tutor is like attending a crash course in human psychology. It gets better with experience. You need to understand the needs of each student and organise the class accordingly. It should benefit all the students in some way or the other. One needs to keep in mind that they are not spoonfeeding the students with all the answers. You need to help the students reach up to the answers by brainstorming rather than letting them know the answers. With all the activities we did in the workshop, we got to know the essentials of tutoring and some of  best practices to deploy and test.”

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