F. Russo

St. John's University (UNITED STATES)
As Universities seek to encourage student engagement and the quality of the services that it offers to students, academic peer to peer student tutoring has been adopted as an effective didactic means to achieve these ends. The need for such programs has been exacerbated by an ever growing, technologically inclined society where human contact is less than the norm. Lassegard (2008) has shown the many University programs that have involved academic tutoring in a particular subject taking place between students, for the most part at autonomous learning centers. The invaluable nature of “human to human” contact was even underscored in a recent New York Times article (2011). Perhaps that exemplum of “mimetic” learning from peers can be most fully demonstrated in the endeavor of foreign language learning, where performance and content are equally important in the course of study. In this paper I would like to relate my own findings and experiences gathered during my tenure as coordinator of a peer tutoring center for the study of Italian. I intend to compare my findings to the current literature to determine indeed if this methodology is an effective, best-practice methodology for language learning.