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Supplemental Instruction

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Successful Elements of SI

SI Workshops and Tutoring Are Peer Facilitated

The ideal SI mentor is a student who has recently taken the classes and received a high final subject grade. All SI mentors are interviewed and selected through a rigorous process which helps determine if the candidate possesses qualities and characteristics needed to be an effective mentor. The SI mentor neither re-lectures nor introduces new material; instead, the SI mentor’s responsibility is to organize and add structure to the SI labs/workshops by providing and modeling learning strategy activities to promote learning and retention of course materials.

The SI Mentor Lectures as a Model Student

The SI mentor serves as a “model student” by attending all lectures for the targeted class. When the SI mentor attends the course lectures, the mentor becomes knowledgeable about occurrences in class sessions and has an opportunity to model “good student” behavior. The SI mentor’s presence in the classroom also serves to market the SI program to students. Additionally, the SI mentor functions as a “model student” of the discipline rather than an authority figure. SI mentors help students formulate and answer their own questions. This process helps students develop a more sophisticated approach to learning, while maintaining the focus on difficult course content mastery.

SI Workshops Integrate Content and Learning Strategies

The SI labs and workshops integrate the review of lecture notes, textbook readings, and problem solving, along with appropriate use of learning strategies. “How to learn” is embedded into SI sessions along with “what to learn.” Through practice and mastery of effective learning strategies, students can adopt and transfer these strategies to other subjects and content areas. Collaborative learning strategies are used in SI sessions as a means of creating a more active learning environment for student participants.

Training for SI Mentors

The SI mentor receives training on how to plan for and lead dynamic SI sessions prior to the beginning of the term. Ongoing training continues throughout the academic term. These training sessions include specific learning theory and strategies.

The SI Program is Supervised

A trained professional staff or faculty member supervises the SI Mentors and the program. Among other duties, the SI Coordinator attends SI sessions throughout the academic term to observe and provide helpful feedback to the mentors for the improvement of the program. To assure the success of the program, all mentors are asked to help keep attendance records so that data can be collected and analyzed for further improvement.

Faculty Support for the Course

Faculty play an important role in the SI program and support its attachment to his or her class by actively encouraging all students to attend. Feedback and communication can ensure SI sessions are run effectively.

Regularly Scheduled Workshops

SI starts at the beginning of the academic term. Generally two or more sessions are offered each week but the number of weekly sessions will vary depending on student demand or specific issues related to the course. Students should attend SI sessions on a voluntary basis.

SI Targets Courses Rather Than Students

While higher education has historically created academic improvement programs that attempt to diagnose students who may have academic difficulty, the SI program targets courses in which a number of students may experience academic difficulty. SI avoids a remedial stigma by focusing on courses, rather than individual students. The SI program provides change in the learning environment for students enrolled in the targeted class. While all students may not take advantage of this voluntary service, it often attracts an equal proportion of students from differing ability and cultural groups.

 Contact Us

Thi Thi Ma
SI Coordinator, Assistant Professor
(323) 953-4000 ext. 2702

 Hours & Location

Life Science 205 & 206

Monday-Thursday: 8:00am - 5:00pm

Los Angeles City College | 855 N. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles California 90029


Phone: 323.953.4000


Emergency: 323.953.2911