Four years ago, Amaya Brondel P’20,’22 noticed something curious among students seeking additional assistance in the PEAKS Department. During busy times, students were offering to “help the other fella” and assist other students. Over time, she noticed that many students were learning quite well from their peers.
Now, Mrs. Brondel manages Cardigan’s Peer Tutoring Program. Eleven current students are peer tutors and have scheduled “office hours” every week. They are available to help their fellow students with everything from understanding math to proofreading English papers.
Prospective tutors must first indicate interest and then are selected through a combination of academic achievement and faculty recommendation. Mrs. Brondel meets with all of the tutors to set expectations: this is valuable study time and not a social opportunity. All of the peer tutors also sign a contract.
Tutors can often help fellow students in ways the faculty cannot, particularly in areas of language. “Last year, we had a Chinese student who was having trouble in math,” says Mrs. Brondel. “Fortunately, we had a peer tutor from China, and the two boys were able to discuss the math concepts in their first language, which was very helpful.” Additionally, students fluent in Spanish and French are helping their Cardigan brothers who are studying those languages. “We are so fortunate to have so many different nationalities here at Cardigan!”
Occasionally, it’s not just a shared foreign language that builds bridges. It can also be the common language of young teenagers. “The tutors can explain things in ways adults sometimes can’t,” Mrs. Brondel continues. “They use words or phrases that are common and resonate with people their own age.”
Demand for the tutors’ assistance grows throughout the course of the school year as the comfort level with the tutors grows—and the academic workload gets heavier.
Mrs. Brondel also enjoys seeing the benefit to the tutors. Though they are already good students, many report that they learn the material better by teaching it to other students. The tutors also learn empathy and respect for their Cardigan brothers as they become aware that not everyone learns the same way or at the same pace.
This years Peer Tutors are:
Seunghun "Thomas" Oh '20
Cayden Van Dolah '21
Xuanyu "Tommy" Li '20
Zihan "Harrison" Huang '21
Gabriel Brondel '20
Qiangang "Sam" Wang '20
Xufei "Figo" Wang '20
William Sabat '20
Bochen "Victor" Zhu '20
Kaiyi “Kenny” Chen '20
Yoon-gi “Mike” Lee '20