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Lunch Table Tutorial


At most House dining halls one can always find a group of younger faculty members huddled together over their lunch in tightly knit circles, which only a few enterprising students manage to join. The fact that student-faculty relations are intended to be an integral part of both the House and the Tutorial plans seems to have been forgotten.

Tutors and House masters say that they are all for student-teacher contact, and that the dining hall is a suitable place for such contacts. But, they go on, it is up to the students to take the initiative, and they, the tutors, do not want to barge in where they are not wanted. They point out that while concentration dinners, deconcentration dinners, and informal forums have been increasingly successful, they have not revealed any tremendous demand on the part of the students to meet faculty members or to absorb education with their baked beans.

Students, on the other hand, can say that tutors do sit together in what is almost a clique, that several Houses have a "Tutors' table," and that they think that they would be imposing on the tutors by joining them. It is clear that there is a kind of shy misunderstanding on both sides.

As long as informal interchange of ideas is considered desirable, no mere timidity should keep students and teachers apart. Tutors can play their part by observing an informal rule that no more than two tutors sit down together at the same table, except at the weekly tutors' luncheons. This practice has worked well in those Houses which have followed it. Tutor's "high tables" should be eliminated altogether, except for special functions, and those tutors, resident or non-resident, who have tutees in the House should make an active effort to meet them informally. Students for their part, should get over the notion that intellectual stimulation comes only in classrooms.

Tutorial at present is going only to Honors candidates in liberal art fields. The dining table and the common room present a chance to extend the human side of education to include all students in all fields.

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