Confidence, tutoring, effective learning, behavioral outcomes
A recent study done by the University of Rhode Island Mental Accounting and Pricing Lab (MAP Lab) found that the relationship between financial education and positive financial behavioral outcomes is mediated through confidence. Prior to this study, the field tended to assume that it would be education’s impact on knowledge that had the most significant effect on behavioral outcomes. The findings of the MAP Lab study emphasize the need for educators to make conscious and targeted efforts to boost students’ confidence when delivering educational material. Failing to do so will result in only a short-term change in the students’ behaviors and attitudes towards the topic.
For my Honors Project I sought to apply the findings of the MAP Lab study in practice and to disseminate awareness of the importance of confidence in education within the University of Rhode Island community. I considered the scope of the original study and evaluated which pieces of it would be applicable for all learners, not just those within the realm of financial education. I looked specifically at how the structure of the study was analogous the structure of URI tutoring programs, primarily at the Academic Enhancement Center, where I am a lead mathematics tutor. With the AEC in mind, I designed a training program that would inform tutors on the findings of the study, demonstrate the relevance of the findings, and discuss ways for tutors to practice instilling confidence in students during tutoring sessions. This last part was vital: tutors are always looking for ways to enthuse and excite students about a subject, and knowing how to do so through confidence will bring about in students the positive attitudes and academic results that the AEC strives to deliver. The training program was successfully presented to over seventy-five URI campus tutors.