Reflections on Remediation

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2010/01/21/freshmen

The linked article’s title is great for a start, but what I’m troubled by is the buried survey results on tutoring and what they call “remedial work.” I’m perfectly willing to admit that tutoring can rise to the level of remedial work, but why do we need to attached such an emotionally charged word as “remedial” to what  amounts to learning support?

My campus’ learning center embraces what I think is a healthier attitude toward learning support in the development of its tutoring and Supplemental Instruction (SI) programs. I suspect most university campus do the same, but here tutors and SI instructors aren’t simply finding remedies to educational ailments afflicting students who come to the center. They practice approaches that bridge gaps between learning styles and teaching styles. Similarly, our writing center isn’t simply a place to go have your paper spell-checked. To our writing center, good writing is good thinking and they want to be involved to provide support to students from the beginning–whether it’s brainstorming a paper’s topic or identifying the appropriate citation style, the writing center aims to support the student in a learner-centered way.

Maybe I’m wrong, but the article seemed to stigmatize the idea of learning support…and it bugged me.

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About Art

I've been a higher education professional for over 15 years and an Academic Advising administrator for the past eight of those. I have a background in exploratory student advising and have spent a great deal of time guiding students through contemplating their personal college-to-career pathways. I've published, presented, and consulted on the intersection of social media and academia and am a firm believer in social media's power as a tool for engagement rather than solely information delivery. I've worked at public and private institutions as well as 2-year colleges and 4-year universities. I believe in Academic Advising as a teaching and learning activity, that learner-centered education is the key to students' academic success, and that as long as we keep students' individual goals and success at the center of our decision-making process, the problem of college-level student attrition can be solved.
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