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The effectiveness of NHS tutoring

by Jamie Ortbal, Staff Writer

National Honors Society (NHS), one of the largest clubs on campus, is part of a national organization largely focused on merit and academic excellence.  Each year, NHS invites sophomores, juniors, and seniors to join the club based on their grades.  There are well over 200 members in the club and each person is required to volunteer 20 hours of their time to tutor other students in tutorial and Homework Club after school.

The goal of NHS tutoring is to provide free tutoring for those who are struggling from students who have excelled in their own classes.  While the intention of this program is very good, the result is sometimes not as successful as one would hope.

“The goal of NHS is to develop a culture of students helping students.  Unfortunately, the concept does not always work out as well as it could,” said Leslie Warkentin, the advisor of the club.   

While there are a number of NHS tutors that are comfortable tutoring and are very helpful, some members of the club find that they are not adequately suited to tutor others.  The fact that they passed or excelled in their own classes does not mean that they remember the material well enough or understood it well enough to teach others.  Some tutors may understand and remember the material, but are just not very good at explaining it to others.

Another issue is that many students with questions about the work in their class prefer to get help directly from the teacher because they are more confident about the accuracy of the information.  They are often not looking for a peer tutor’s help, which makes the tutors who are waiting in the classroom feel awkward.  

And finally, the large number of students in the club in combination with the fairly large number of tutoring hours required results in more tutoring supply than demand.  There are two possible solutions for this issue: one, to reduce the amount of required tutoring hours per student, or, two, to offer club members more volunteer opportunities.

“There has to be a better way for NHS tutors to be where they are most needed at a predictable level.  Making changes to improve how NHS operates is necessary for NHS to continue to aid the students of Leigh for years to come,” said Logan Williams, senior and co-president of the club.  

Another change that has the potential to improve the function of NHS tutoring is to create another version of Homework Center for tutorial.  Tutors would have a specific place to go to tutor, eliminating some of the awkward experiences they might encounter while tutoring in random classrooms.  Students would also know where to find tutors.  The problem right now is that when students find that a tutorial for one of their challenging classes does not have an environment conducive to learning, they go elsewhere during tutorial.  Because the motivated students do not go to those classes during tutorial, tutors don’t go to those classes either because the people that are there are not looking for help.  The students that want help are not getting matched with tutors who can help them because neither the students nor the tutors attend tutorial in those classes.  Creating a Homework Center during tutorial would eliminate this problem and also allow students and tutors who are unable to stay after school to get help or get tutoring hours.

Over all, NHS tutoring is generally a great concept in theory, but some changes need to be made in order to make it function more effectively.