ENGAGE, Enjoy, Enhance the Experience

The Tutor Training Workshop, February 10, 2013

Tutors met to visit, discuss, laugh, learn, and enjoy a supper menu of African and American cuisine.  As our After-School Tutoring program grows and expands in a variety of ways, there is a real need to meet together and increase our skills and our procedures in a consistent manner.


Many of our students are from Nepal and their families are Hindu. Rev. Stanish Stanley, a Ph.D. student from India & his wife, Beena, shared insights regarding the Hindu faith and culture.

Rev. Stanish Stanley, a Ph.D. student from India & his wife, Beena, shared insights regarding the Hindu faith and culture.  Hindus believe that there are many paths to Salvation and choice of God depends upon the individual believer. There is also good and evil in the world that needs to be dealt with and worship of Hindu gods is a way of keeping oneself protected from evil and also for rightful ethical conduct and practice (karma).

Salvation is seen as the escape of individual soul (atma/n) from the cycle of birth and rebirth (reincarnation/samsara) to joining with the Supreme Soul- Brahman (Moksha, liberation).

Hindus draw a clear distinction between the ‘sacred’ and the ‘profane’. This means that there are appropriate behavioral practices that need to be followed in the ‘sacred’ space. E.g., display of reverence towards the idol and holy books,  humility, non-consumption of alcohol, etc.

Spiritual cleanliness and bodily cleanliness is a central concern in Hindu custom and practice. E.g., shoes are considered unclean and are left outside the Hindu home. Before daily prayers before the house shrine/idol the house will be swept clean and baths taken by the individuals. Beef eating is considered a taboo and pork considered unclean.

Hindu family is patriarchal by nature. The father is the head of the household but the mother exerts strong influence upon the kids. The girl/mother is seen as dependent in different stages of life (as daughter dependent upon father, as wife on husband, and in old age/widow upon eldest son!)

Respect for elders is important. Kids are supposed to respect elders and especially be obedient to parents, teachers, and elders in the family.

Kids do not call their elders (even brothers and sisters) by name. Other elders are supposed to be called Uncle or Aunty. Also Vidya (knowledge) is considered the most important of all wealth.

Teacher is the ‘Guru’ who is to be trusted and obeyed in everything concerning education. This is conceived as a ‘Top-down’ learning method. Traditionally Hindu teaching method is based on ‘rote-memorization’ rather than critical thinking.

Christianity traditionally is seen as an ‘educating religion’ and more in tune with modern lifestyle. It can witness to the Hindu woman as a way of life where the girl is seen as not a dependent rather as a child of God, loved, created uniquely and just as important as man.


Social Worker and experienced tutor, Robyn Moeller presented “ENGAGING” BEHAVIOR FOR TUTORS

Christian stories and teachings of interest to Hindus: The life of Jesus as that of a ‘teaching Guru’. The parable of the prodigal son (Lk 15- teaches the pitfalls that await kids who disobey parents); parable of lost coin (shows women’s selfless giving- Lk 15); the beatitudes (Mt 5- for its egalitarian concern towards the least). Jesus as one with the Father (Jhn 10: 15ff- realizing that His atman is Brahman!). Some Hindus have also interpreted Jesus to be an Avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu.

Robyn Moeller then presented her workshop on “ENGAGING” BEHAVIOR FOR TUTORS which included the following points:


a) Have the mindset that you’re coming to interact with students
b) Don’t wait to be asked to do something
c) Proactively think about what you could be doing and take initiative

KNOW YOUR COMFORT ZONE WITH CHILDREN   prefer one-on-one  or  a small group

a) Start where most comfortable
b) If one-on-one:  seek out one or two & go sit by them; ask about what they’re doing or suggest an activity.  Or as a student enters the room, ask to sit by you & help them with homework or an activity
c) If prefer a group:  start a spelling bee, friendly math competition, etc.


Younger grades or older students?    Math, social studies, reading, computers, etc.?

a) Seek out students working on something in your area of interest
b) If a student  is not doing anything, suggest one of the activities you enjoy
c) Become familiar with the resources the Peace Center has (books, worksheets, activity pages)
d) Bring things from home that you think would be helpful  (ABC puzzle,  matching game)
e) Start an activity such as a puzzle, game or reading a book & ask students to join you

Encourage Student Participation

Instead of-      “Do you want to…?”

Say-     “Let’s…”    or   “We’re going to…”

If student refuses an activity, then ask them what they would like to do or suggest another activity.  Let students know they’re expected to participate in an activity

It’s fun to engage the kids by being a little silly   (contributed by college daughter who worked as a counselor at Camp Wartburg for past two summers & helped with the craft at the CFNA Christmas party)

Learn Names of the Students and about them

What grade are you in?    What’s your favorite subject?   Do other siblings come with you to tutoring?
What country are you from?    Do you remember living there?     How long have you been in US?

Sit next to/between students in chapel

a) Have the children sit toward the front in chapel
b) Talk with the children while waiting for chapel to begin


a) Think ahead about which activity you prefer
b) Get involved  (air hockey, ping pong, jump rope, Frisbee, hula hoop)  – doing or supervising

Remind of Appropriate Behaviors  

        NO  gum chewing, unkind names, pushing            USE  please & thank-you