Learning Skills Workshop a daily event at Humber North

Christina Bianchi (left) a third year Early Childhood Education student and Rachel Lamarra (right) are both peer mentors at the Learning Skills Workshop on memory and concentration held at Humber College. (Photo by Allie Langohr).

Allie Langohr
Life Reporter

People retain 10 per cent of what they read, 20 per cent of what they hear, and 30 per cent of what they see.

These elements combined make Humber’s Learning Skills Workshops a great experience, said senior peer mentor Rachel Lammara.

There is a cycle of 12 topics that each speaker presents throughout the year. Workshops are held Monday to Friday by a different mentor each day.

Each mentor crafts their own teaching technique to encourage students to participate and feel comfortable with the presentations, said Lamarra.

“Everyone has their own flare,” she said. “We all do our best to connect with the various programs students are in.”

This way, students can engage with a variety of teaching styles and are able to revisit any mentor that is most conducive to their own ways of learning.

“The workshops are realistic. I can actually follow the steps,” said Christina Bianchi, a third year Early Childhood Education student at Guelph-Humber.

Bianchi, who is also a peer tutor, said her favourite part of attending the workshops is sharing ideas with other students.

“We learn from our mistakes and that’s what we are here for,” said Bianchi.

Third year Business Administration student Jesse Flynn also appreciates the opportunity to learn new techniques with other students.

“We were told to present in front of the mirror to feel more comfortable because we are often our own biggest critics,” said Flynn after attending a workshop on presentation skills.

“Since the workshop, I know that other people struggle with presenting, and it’s nice to know we can work on it together through events like these,” he said. “I wish we had a bigger turn-out so that we could have attempted the practice activity to a bigger crowd.”

While the workshops have had up to 10 students per session during the first semester, attendance usually dwindles during the second, said Lamarra.

“It’s sad, but people don’t really have 45 minutes out of their time to sit here,” said Lamarra.

The workshops have been fairly successful over all, said Stephanie Brum, senior peer mentor and assistant to the peer programs facilitator.

“Our attendance isn’t always the highest,” said Brum. “In the beginning of the semester we get a spike, however, around exam time attendance dips a bit because everyone is so focused on studying and finishing the year.”

Part of the issue is that Humber is a commuter college, said Brum.

“Students don’t really stick around,” she said. “They just go to classes and go home. It’s hard to get them to stay and attend the sessions.

“We can see the benefit to attending the workshops, but students don’t always see the same advantages.”

The challenge now is getting students to see that the workshops are worth their time. Advertising the workshops on social media outlets has helped attendance and promotion continues to be a priority, said Brum.

If a student completes five workshops, he or she is given a certificate. International students also receive stamps for their Passport to Success.

The certificate can be used on a resumé to show the student has been active on campus and is an involved and self-improving student.

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