Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How Ninja Students Can Help You With Supplemental Instruction

I may never be a 4.0 student. Is that because I don’t care? No; I definitely care about my grades, but juggling life, work, and school does not come easily for me. In fact, I recently joined a study-group, hoping to avoid dropping a class I am struggling in. The program is called Supplemental Instruction (SI), though the title is a little misleading, since no formal instructors are present.

SI is NOT tutoring! If you are expecting a teacher or someone who has all the answers, you will not find them here. However, if you are looking for ways to become a better student, improve your study skills or beef-up your note taking abilities, then this is the program for you. The study sessions are moderated by students with ninja-like performance, they have already aced the class, and are retaking it to develop leadership skills. We usually start by comparing notes and discussing what the teacher covered in class. This is were the SI leader really shines, they know what areas to focus on, and they can share what they studied last semester to pass the tests.

Stephanie Marrano is an education major, and signed up as an SI Leader to cultivate some real-world experience. “I try to take good notes, and watch my instructors teaching style, to share this information with my group. I have about three people that are regulars, but we had about eleven people show up before the last test. Unfortunately, sometimes people come unprepared; if you were not in class and you didn’t try to take notes to begin with, it’s not really going to help you.”
Nyakony Rut is a nursing major in her third semester, “This is the first time I have been involved in SI and so far it has been helping. My instructor told me about the program and I also found it on the bulletin board in the hall outside my class. I think more students could benefit from participating in SI.”

Rut attends a session with fellow students Amanda Mcowen, and Traci Grant who also leads the SI for their chemistry class. Grant tries to go above and beyond the call of duty, “Some students that cannot come to the SI meeting still want the help, so I have been willing to work with them on an as-needed basis. It seems that the students involved in SI are committed, and that makes a difference.”

SI Assistant Director Dr. Regina Henry said, “Many times when students encounter challenges, instead of making the progression toward their professional goals or achieving a degree or certificate they will drop out altogether. This program is designed to help retain these students and assist them in gaining the skills to finish.”

For now, I will continue participating in the program. It has taught me that there is no magical formula to instantly produce better grades, but spending quality study time with a group dedicated to improving grades, does pay-off.

If you want more information on courses offering SI please visit their homepage. Or, if your class does not offer SI, request your instructor to contact Dr. Regina Henry to research the availability.

Volunteer State Community College

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