The Right Kind of Peer Pressure—Students Teach Students Program
The Students Teaching Students Program (STSP) is a new initiative started by the Student Council of 2019-20. The goal is to encourage the students of the institute to take advantage of the ‘Peer-to-Peer’ learning process and increase interaction between the students and their seniors. The program has helped the learners improve on subjects they found complex or difficult to cope with on their own.
Many students often find it difficult to raise questions to the teacher during class, which results in a lack of understanding of the subject. This may be due to multiple reasons—whether it be the pace with which they are being taught, or the reluctance to speak up in front of a crowded classroom. Some may also have fallen behind because of the classes they have missed. The STSP ensures that the academics of these students are not compromised because of these factors.
The STSP currently has 98 students and 44 tutors. It caters to the first-year students and has six subjects being taught by the tutors. The program has an edge over classroom teaching for the struggling students, who are now able to learn at their own pace, approach the tutoring faction at their convenience, and receive advice about the college. The feedback received by the Student Council about the program has been extremely positive, with the students saying they now find the subjects easier to follow and have less trouble understanding them. “The STSP offers good support for students who are weak in any particular subject(s). The student teachers are very caring towards us, have a flexible schedule, and are very good at helping us out with all the topics we struggle with”, says Neeraj D Nair, a student enrolled into the program.
The tutors for this programme are picked after a series of interviews. The interested candidates, both tutors and students, fill out the recruitment form sent out twice in a semester. The candidates applying for the position of a tutor are interviewed based on two criteria—the subjects they have picked and their teaching skills. These interviews for the tutors are conducted by the junior council members who ensure that quality is maintained.
The Council then draws up a list where each tutor is assigned three students on an average. The students can then contact them and chalk out a suitable schedule. The tutors help their respective peers out with a particular subject with face-to-face classes to explain concepts or via online tools. Classes are also being conducted online by the teachers for the students during the COVID – 19 pandemic, using Hangouts and other suitable platforms. The Council is still actively trying to reach out to more students and spread awareness about the program so that the maximum amount of students can use this to their advantage.
The Student Council intends to limit the program to first-year subjects for another semester before deciding to expand into branch-wise subjects of the second year. “Most of the students are yet to know about this program, so we intend to reach more people. If we have positive feedback, we definitely intend to expand this to the second years as well”, says Nikita Agrawal, the Joint Secretary of the Student Council.
The initiative helps students improve their academics and eliminate problems they face in catching up with their studies due to external factors. The tutors enrolled in the program are awarded a certificate for their work. “While managing the workload of the higher semesters and the classes for the juniors can be challenging, it is surprisingly rewarding to be able to teach someone and see them score better marks. The program has helped me keep my basics strong and has helped me grow my soft skills and communication. The certificate will help me gain a teaching assistantship for my masters as well”, says Kavya Bannerjee, a teacher for the STSP currently in the sixth semester. The STSP aims at making life easier for the students at MIT Manipal and is an excellent tool to improve the overall college experience for the students.
Featured Image Credits: gse.harvard.edu/uk/blog/students-teachers