Humanities DivisionPeer Tutoring in Music Theory
Students in Jerry Wallace's sophomore-level music theory classes are encouraged to tutor their Richland peers who are enrolled in first year music foundation and theory classes. Jerry coaches the tutors concerning teaching techniques and encourages them to attend the lower-level classes periodically to make sure they know what the students need to learn and to get a head start on new material. The sophomore students tutor several hours each week on campus in available spaces such as practice rooms in Fannin Hall. First year students sign up on the tutoring schedule posted on Jerry's office door. Sometimes sophomore students even tutor groups of students. The tutoring takes place outside of their regularly scheduled class time.
This teaching practice has many benefits for the students and the music program. Students enrolled in first year music theory classes get one-on-one assistance. Sophomore music theory students reinforce their own skills by revisiting concepts learned in the prior academic year. Sophomore students also have the opportunity to experience the role of teacher. In addition, peer tutoring serves the music department by creating a community of learners who interact comfortably with one another.
As evidence of the quality of this teaching practice, Jerry's students have consistently met or exceeded the expectation of their chosen four-year university or college upon transfer, including such world-class music programs as UNT and SMU. Jerry's peer tutoring practice, however, reaches far beyond the study of music. It can be applied to disciplines as diverse as physical education, multimedia, engineering, and mathematics and can be a useful service learning component for any academic program.