Learning Center


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Small Group Tutoring

Do you study better with others? Does talking through a concept with a group of people help you understand it better? Do you prefer to have a lot of feedback about an idea? Are you working on a group project in class and need a little guidance? Have you already started an independent review group and find reviewing a particular concept challenging?

Group sessions give you and your peers an opportunity to work together with a peer tutor to address these and other concerns. Like our individual tutoring sessions, double and small group sessions focus on your specific concerns for a specific course.

In addition to their personal experience with the course and the training in study and learning techniques offered by the Learning Center, our peer tutors also learn strategies for working with groups. From guiding group discussions to leading group reviews, our peer tutors are prepared to help guide you on your way to academic success.

Find out more about group sessions:

What is the difference between a double and a small group session?

The Learning Center is very aware of the fact that we all learn differently.  Our learning preferences have a lot to do with not only our own experiences but also the expectations of a course.  It would be very difficult to review for a lab without your partner.  Similarly, working on a group project without your group would prove challenging. And some of us just like to learn with others to help guide and support our growing understanding of course material. 

During a double session, a tutor meets with two students at the same time.  The double session was specifically designed to meet the needs of a partnered project or a pair of students who would like to study together with a tutor.   

During a small group session, a tutor meets with three or four students at the same time.  The small group session was specially designed to meet the needs of a small group project or a small group of students who would like to study together with a tutor.

In order for a double or small group session to be effective, all students involved must be responsible and active learners. 

We request that all students attending a group session are enrolled in the same course with the same professor.

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What happens during a small group session?

Because all tutoring session are designed to help you, you help set the agenda of any tutoring session at the Claude J. Learning Center. With a group meeting, you should give thought to your concerns for the course before you come. 

Group sessions begin with an informal conversation about the course and your concerns. You and your peers have an advantage. You have probably already spoken about the course and your concerns without the tutor present. The information you provide to your tutor in the first few minutes of the session is essential to a productive tutoring session. The tutor, especially if this is your first time meeting with him or her, needs to learn about you, the class, and your understanding of course concepts. It might be difficult to talk about your concerns for the course in front of other students. However, if you are honest and involved in the conversation, the tutor can not only help your group set up an agenda for the session, but he or she can also help you help each other. One student's strength might be someone else's obstacle and the tutor can guide you to helping each other learn. 

The tutor may not be able to address all of your group's concerns in one session. If you feel that your entire group would benefit from working with the tutor again, another group appointment can be made.  You are also welcome to schedule an individual tutoring session in addition to the group appointment (just remember our rule: you are only allowed two tutorial sessions in two different courses for a total of four sessions per week).
During the session, you can expect the tutor to involve everyone in the conversation. Our tutors understand their role - they do not teach or lecture - but guide you in your understanding of the course material. Their training includes strategies to use to help you and your group on your path to success.  These strategies include

  • Group posters for collaborative review of course concepts
  • Paired work to solve practice problems
  • Interactive activities for strengthening course vocabulary

In addition to the strategies they use in sessions, tutors often offer helpful hints in how to study including how to

  • Create an incomplete outline
  • Find and explain the "Big Idea"
  • Use post-exam surveys to anticipate study skills for the next exam

These are just a few of the strategies, tips, and techniques our tutors have in their toolbox. Their own experiences and their training combine to give them access to many different ways to support you as you find your own path to success.

Note: Our tutors will not do the work for you , but they do work with you to find a strategy that helps you.

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What does the Learning Center expect of me?

When you come to the Learning Center to make your group appointment, you will all be asked to sign a Contract for Tutorial Services.  This document outlines our expectations of every student who uses our services. 

Of utmost importance is that you come to the session prepared. Since you are ultimately responsible for your success in the course, you need to be actively involved in the class and the tutoring session.  Remember to bring the appropriate materials to your tutoring session (including the course textbook, syllabus, course documents, notebook, and pen or pencil).

We also have guidelines concerning appointments. Appointments should be made at least a day in advance. And as much as we love to help you, we do limit the number of tutoring sessions you can attend. You are only allowed two tutorial sessions in two different courses per week (total of four sessions). Any exception to these policies must be approved by a Learning Center professional staff member.

Life happens and sometimes you may need to cancel an appointment. Please give the Learning Center at least two hours notice. If an appointment is canceled less than two hours in advance or if you come to the session more than fifteen minutes late, it will count as a "no-show." Three cancellations or two no-shows will mean dismissal from the program for the remainder of the semester.

While we do not generate reports that are sent to your professor, professors - or other appropriate members of the campus community (like advisors or program directors) - sometimes ask for information regarding student use of our services. If asked, and with your permission, we send an update that covers the number of visits, name of tutor(s), and material covered in tutoring session(s) attended.

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How do we schedule a double small group session?

Please note: all students who desire a double or small group session must be present to make an appointment. Only those students present will be able to make a group appointment. Also, all students attending a double or small group session must be enrolled in the same course with the same professor.

Since you must complete the "Contract for Tutorial Services" all appointments must be made in person at our Learning Center Front Desk. Our schedule changes with each semester so please see this semester's times under Hours

If you would like to make an appointment but are unable to stop by the Learning Center during our normal hours of operation, please contact the Learning Center at [email protected] .

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Contact Information

Claude J. Clark Learning Center at SUNY Plattsburgh

Feinberg Library, Room 103 (First Floor)
101 Broad Street
Plattsburgh, New York 12901
Phone: (518) 564-6138
Fax: (518) 564-6140
Email: [email protected]