Northern Hemisphere News&STAR

Dear STAMAsters

In response to Gavan's request to know what's happening in the Northern

The second BP-sponsored International Conference on Students as Tutors and
Mentors will be held in the UK in April 1997.

Many of the tutoring and mentoring programmes, my own being one example in
Australia, focus on S&T.

I am the SE Asia rep for the Conference planning committee, so if any
STAMAsters would like to know more about the conference, or to contribute
ideas for the conference programme, I'd be more than willing to respond and
to take their ideas to the planning committee.

And if members would like to know more about peer tutoring as a
contribution to S&T education, I've attached a brief summary of the STAR
Programme and can provide more info if needed. 

STAR has been sponsored by BP Australia for three years 1994-96, and has
been awarded two Australian National Priority Reserve Fund grants (1994 and
1995) by the Federal Department of Employment, Education and Training.

As part of the National Priority programme STAR is working to lift student
awareness and participation in science and technology. It is a response to
the sharp down-turn in students' preferences for science identified in the
early to mid 1980s. 
The Programme places university undergraduate students in high school
science classes to 
        (a)             assist students with academic work;
        (b)             provide positive role models for teenage students
(particularly girls 
                        and those from disadvantaged backgrounds) and to
help raise their
                        educational and career aspirations;
        (c)             offer the high school students the opportunity to
see S&T in action
                        in universities, government departments/agencies
and industries;
        (d)             develop partnerships between industry, universities
and schools
                        through organisation of field trips, mentor programmes,
                        work experience etc.;   
        (e)             provide the peer tutors with practical experience
in a work-place
                        environment and to improve their employability by
helping to
                        develop communication and other work-place skills;
        (f)             give teachers practical assistance which can
enhance the 
                        learning process for their students.

There are currently 51 peer tutors from Murdoch University's three science
schools working regularly (half a day a week) in 14 metropolitan schools,
with a waiting list of 11 schools.

Special projects have been developed: eg 
        (i)             for Aboriginal students at Belmont Senior High S
chool where three Aboriginal 
                        students from Murdoch's Veterinary School are
working as peer tutors/mentors;
        (ii)            in Modern School's Intensive Language Centre where
a peer tutor is
                        working with science students from
non-English-speaking backgrounds,
        (iii)           a peer tutor working on Sunday's in a two-school
research project---
                        non-invasive behavioural studies on primates in
captivity. The project
                        is organised with the full co-operation  and
expertise of the Perth Zoo.

Extension of the STAR Programme into country schools is currently being
investigated, with the hope that Murdoch external students/graduates will
fill the role of peer tutors/mentors.

Partnerships are being sought with community organisations--eg  Rotary and
Chambers of Commerce--to extend the community education component of the
Programme into areas where special needs have been identified.

The STAR Programme has helped in the planning of programmes to be hosted by
other Australian universities, and is part of an international network of
similar projects.

We currently survey the teachers, high school students and tutors involved
in STAR annually 
to gauge their perceptions about the success (or otherwise) of the
programme in meeting its basic
objectives. A more comprehensive study will be started next year in which
we will attempt to 
assess the 'before' and 'after' effects/influence of students as tutors/mentors.


Russell Elsegood

Russell Elsegood                               Phone: (619) 3602894
Public Relations Manager
Director STAR Peer Tutoring Programme          Fax: (619) 3104233
Murdoch University
Murdoch 6150  Western Australia