Dr. Abner Chou, president of The Master’s University, approached Prof. Esther Chua in 2021 about the possibility of expanding the University’s tutoring program. Through this presidential initiative, the outward-facing “TMU Tutoring” program began operation in 2022, giving TMU students the opportunity to use their academic training to bless the surrounding community.
The new program has already served 26 families and partnered with nearly 10 schools and churches to offer discounted rates. And this is only the beginning.
“The idea behind community tutoring,” Chua said, “is to build a program that not only helps benefit our church partners and communities with educational support, but as a symbiotic relationship providing flexible, well-paying jobs for students.”
Through the program, younger students (third through 12th grade) are paired with qualified TMU tutors. In one-on-one tutoring sessions, tutors help students not only in learning specific concepts in English, science, and math, but in learning how to learn.
Chua, who serves as the chair of TMU’s Department of Arts and Letters, has been overseeing the tutoring program at the University for almost a decade. For her, what makes the program distinct is its missional perspective. “For us, tutoring is undergirded by our theology,” she said. “The goal of tutoring is a type of discipleship.”
Tutoring provides opportunities for students to build up one another, effectively countering the academic tendency to isolate. It encourages them to share something more valuable than accumulated knowledge: a love for learning.
In line with this goal, Chua says that tutors for the program are not purely selected on the basis of grades, but on a professor’s testimony regarding the tutor’s view of education. Namely, that they see education as an opportunity for growth. Student tutors “have a heart to serve other people, to make their subject matter exciting,” Chua said.
Chua can trace the origins of the TMU Tutoring program back nine years, when she began with a single tutor. At that time, the program existed only as a service to TMU students from their peers. Since then, the peer tutoring program at TMU has grown exponentially. Chua is hopeful that TMU Tutoring will develop similarly in the coming years.
But though the tutoring program has changed in scope, the underlying philosophy remains the same: education not as competition, but as collaboration.
Learn more at tmututoring.org.
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