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Lack of Experienced Tutors Proves Main Failing in Poll

Most Supervisors Graduate Students With no Training


Although results of the CRIMSON'S poll on the Bureau of Supervisors are not to be taken as an accurate appraisal of the group's efficacy, several weak points came to light in the analysis of the returns.

The main deficiency, the poll showed, is the lack of experienced tutors. Most of the supervisors are graduate students, leading men in their fields. Yet the very best of these graduate students have already been hired by the University to act as instructors in the basic courses. Although in every case the supervisors are recommended by their Department to the Bureau, they usually have never done any previous teaching.

Tutors Hard to Get

Besides giving some hours a day to working with students who need help, they must also continue with their graduate work since a good many of them are working for Doctors' degrees. Often it is difficult to get even one competent tutor for certain advanced courses.

In one case, a student received tutoring from a graduate who was enrolled in the same course, and in his own words, "I knew more about it than he did." Some men, in answering the poll, wrote that the supervisor assigned to them had not the faintest idea of the arrangement of the course, or even of the material it covered.

Even though a tutor is a brilliant man in his field, he may not know how to make others understand property the subject under consideration, especially if he has had no experience teaching. For this reason, it has been suggested that all men registered as tutors with the Bureau be required to study for a short while at the School of Education in order to familiarize themselves with teaching problems.

Should Hire Better Men

Another way in which the Bureau could perhaps be improved is for the University to spend more money getting better men. At present, the basic charge to students is $2.50 an hour, but many are helped free if they cannot afford to pay. But if Harvard were prepared to spend more, good men could be hired who would be able to compete favorably in experience with the local commercial schools.

The Bureau of Supervisors already has several men who received very high ratings in the poll, Duhig, long experienced in History I, and Perry, supervisor in English, both were regarded as excellent. Mrs. Bradley, tutor in Economics, was mentioned by many as very good. Several others merited favorable comments. But in other cases, reports were rather unsatisfactory.

Apparently the total student impression of the Bureau is that its work is good but improvements should be made before it is much more than adequate. Stanley Salmen '36, head of the Bureau, was deemed very helpful and cooperative in assigning the students to the proper tutors and trying to analyze their troubles. They also found his advice on note-taking useful.

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