Give Penn State Learning your Inquisitive, by Neill Johnson

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This post was authored by Neill Johnson, Director of Penn State Learning.

"Give me your tired, your poor," says the Statue of Liberty in that famous poem by Emma Lazarus. If we take this approach to tutor referrals, we perpetuate the image of academic support resources as anchors for students adrift.  In learning as in life, nobody wants to be lost, not even temporarily. However, I don't know anyone who doesn't want to be skilled at asking and answering questions. That's why I implore you, please, to "give Penn State Learning your inquisitive."  We want and need students who enjoy asking questions, who are eager to be challenged, and who are eager to help their peers "get it." We also want students who aren't afraid to say they don't know. We annually employ over 100 inquisitive writing, foreign language, and math tutors and over 20 equally curious leaders of drop-in study groups for various accounting, economics, math, statistics, and physical science courses. All members of these learning communities are undergraduates, all are fairly compensated, and all take either English 250 or Curriculum and Instruction 200 and receive ongoing feedback from mentors and supervisors.

 

Without these inquisitive student leaders, no peer tutoring operation has a ghost of a chance of helping all the students who haven't yet figured out how to ask their own questions and who dread being asked something they can't answer. So in addition to your inquisitive, yes, give us your shy, your timid, your quiet novices yearning to speak free. We want them, too. In your syllabi and on your ANGEL course sites, please encourage your students to stop by our labs, visit our study groups, and check out the "Employment" and other links from our home page, http://PennStateLearning.psu.edu/.

 

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