Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2016 – How Helping Learn Is Really Helping

Name: Anthony Tomas Saucedo
From: Austin, Texas
Grade: 11
School: NYOS Charter School
Votes: 13

We live in a time where students are becoming teachers, and they
haven’t even graduated high school. In recent years, the method of
peer-to-peer tutoring has given academically advanced students the
opportunity to teach other students, who may be struggling in any
subject, and help them understand difficult material. I have chosen
this form of volunteering because I believe education, or
understanding of the world works, is how our population will
progress. By instilling knowledge in others, society is given the
chance to find more effective methods in approaching problems such as
with alternative energies or global warming. I spend an
estimated four hours each week helping other learn. During
appropriate times, or whenever I’m not occupied with class or other
studies, I serve as an open source for any questions students may
have about either physics or chemistry. In addition to this, I do
frequently get asked questions regarding math such as calculus or
geometry, however, this is less formal than my science tutoring. In
tutoring, the main responsibility of the tutor is too not simply
giving an answer to a problem, but to help the student establish a
game plan for how to properly find an answer to a problem. This of
course is a challenge because students who are struggling don’t
really have an effective game plan in solving problems. So, the most
difficult part is having students begin to think conceptually rather
than in terms of numbers or symbols. Despite this, it is a great
feeling to see when the students are able to tackle a problem on
their own using an effective approach that works for them. From being
able to tutor students, I have learned that each person should be
treated as a completely different individual; no one learns the exact
same, and for that reason a tutor has to approach a student without
any prior assumptions of how they think. This opportunity
is amazing because it aligns with my careers goals of being a
biochemist, and later becoming a high school chemistry teacher. I see
this volunteer focus as forward looking, or conscious of generations
beyond me, because it is setting in stone a new way of learning that
doesn’t take time out of a teacher’s already busy schedule.
Furthermore, tutors are validated in their knowledge passed to
students, which in turn helps the tutor build confidence resulting in
a boost in morale. I hope that peer-to-peer tutoring results in a
self-sufficient way of learning in high schools similar how students
learn in college. I understand teachers will still be more involved
in a student’s learning during high school, but this method will
hopefully help them better transition when they do go to college. If
I were to come back anytime in the future I think that students would
definitely take more advantage of the program, and as a result I
believe students would be more independent and prepared for college.
With alternative forms of education, future students may be more
self-sufficient.

Anthony Saucedo


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