When is the BEST time to see an EAL (English as an Additional Language) tutor?

August 28, 2013 • Written by


The Academic Success Centre offers free EAL tutoring to RRC students.

Here’s some advice from the on the best time to connect with a tutor.

  • Speaking Quickly.  Your instructor speaks really quickly and when she or he gives you instructions, you’re not really sure what the expectations are.
  • Taking Notes.  It’s hard to take notes in class.  Sometimes, you’re not really sure if the instructor is talking about an important main idea or is just giving an example, or extra details.    When you read your notes afterwards, they just look like one long list of important ideas, and they are not really useful for studying.
  • Speaking up. It’s the first few weeks of your program and you feel shy to speak up in class.   Sometimes you know the answer, but you don’t say anything.  Sometimes you have questions for the instructor, but you’re nervous about asking them.
  • Group work. You have to work in a small group to complete a project for class. One of the students in the group is kind of bossy and talks more than everybody else. You don’t agree with her opinion and you don’t want to follow her suggestions because you might get a low mark, but you don’t know how to tell her politely.
  • Managing your Time. You just don’t have time to do all the reading that the instructors assign.  What are you supposed to do?
  • Vocabulary.  There’s a lot of new vocabulary that you don’t understand.  Which words should you spend time learning, and which words are okay to forget about?   How can you learn the new vocabulary effectively, since you’re too busy to spend a lot of time on vocabulary study?
  • Writing. You’re not used to writing long assignments with many paragraphs.  How are you supposed to organize your ideas?
  • Copying and Citation. You handed in an assignment that you thought was pretty good.  You supported your ideas with lots of information from the textbook and other sources you found on the internet.  However, your instructor told you that you copied too much.   What should you do?

You may have heard the English phrase:  “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  That means that if you can stop a problem before it starts, it is better than solving a problem after. The best time to see an EAL tutor is BEFORE a problem starts. When you start to feel confused or overwhelmed by anything in your class – that is the right time to see an EAL tutor.

An EAL tutor can help you with the situations in the examples above, and with many other situations, too. However, there are some things that an EAL tutor CAN’T do.

An EAL tutor can’t do your work for you.

If you bring your writing to a tutor, they can’t sit down and “fix” it for you.  Instead, they will show you where the most important errors are, and help YOU to fix them.

An EAL tutor can’t help you with everything if you don’t give them enough time. 

If you come in one week before your writing assignment is due and say “Please fix my grammar,” you may not be happy with the result.  If you have many problems, the EAL tutor will not have time to help you with everything.  They will have to choose the most important two or three errors to help you with.  There may still be many errors in your final assignment.

This is because the EAL tutor will not be “fixing” your errors alone.  He or she will be teaching YOU how to fix them.  This takes time!  If you want the EAL tutor to help you with your writing, it is especially important to come and see us as soon as you start to work on the assignment, so that the tutor has more time to help you.

We want to help you. 

We know from experience that the best way to help you is by teaching you how to do the work yourself.  Once you know how to find and correct your mistakes by yourself, you’ll be able to use that skill your whole life long.  That’s REAL help!

Submitted by Michelle Amaya-Torres, EAL Specialist at the Academic Success Centre

Cycle your way to Academic Success – A word from your Academic Coach

August 28, 2013 • Written by

Mountain Biking

Cycle your way to Academic Success

With the Tour de France in the “not too distant” past, let’s take a moment to align characteristics of a strong cyclist to those of a strong student.

It’s all about doing today what will prepare you for a better life tomorrow.

The first part to being a successful rider is to get on the bike.

There are no real shortcuts to becoming a better cyclist—you simply have to get on your bike.

The first part to being a successful student is is to take a seat in the class.

Material presented and explored in class is not a duplication of what you’ll read online or in your text book.  If you miss the class, you miss essential information… plus you’ll miss the opportunity to work with and learn from your classmates.  Attend all classes and use this time as optimal learning moments.

The second part to being a successful student is is to be engaged.

A cyclist will get nowhere if they are just sitting on their seat, they have to spin their peddles.  The same holds true for students.  Simply sitting in class for 12-18 hours a week isn’t enough…you must be an attentive, engaged and keen participant.

Try this today:

  • Lead by reading the chapter of the day and outline before going to class, this aids in understanding and enhances classroom participation.  This is a neat twist to simply coming to class, waiting for info to be imparted upon you. Instead come with a bank of knowledge that you can build upon in class.
  • Think about key ideas, formulas and scenarios that will be presented.
  • Come with a curious mind and a penchant for exploratory/discovery learning.
  • Take abbreviated notes. Free yourself from the burden of taking down every word in class.  Record essential points, signal words and essential concepts.  To get more info and tools for effective Note taking, visit our ASC page.
  • Summarize your notes in a different format within 24 hours. Think of connections & applications to promote your learning.
  • Focus 100%.  If you are mindful in class, you won’t have to relearn the info on your own.  Use class time as a type of study opportunity.
  • Talk with your instructors, EA’s or peers if you have questions or ideas, over-exposure yourself to great info.
  • Never leave the class thinking the exact same way you entered.

There is so much more to attending class than just finding your seat. Try the above strategies and see how your academic life is enhanced, challenged & enjoyable.  And, after class, take your bike out for a spin during these warm fall days!

Sumitted by Dayna Graham, Adult Learning Facilitator at the Academic Success Centre

Paths to Success – A Red River College Success Initiative

August 26, 2013 • Written by


Paths to Success is a student success initiative targeted to helping first year students connect with supports and services that will help them succeed and excel in their studies.  The initiative is now in it’s ninth year and it is expected to engage almost 2,000 students this year.

ElectricalUse Academic Supports

The College offers many academic resources for students, though the most valuable ones are often your instructors and fellow students. The College has an Academic Success Centre which offers individual and group tutoring to help students with their studies as well as Online Resources.

The Library also has a lot of great online research guides for specific programs – you should see if they have one for your program.



Participate in Student Events and Meet Friends

The Red River College Students’ Association hosts many events to get to know other students. The Aboriginal Student Centre and the Diversity and Immigrant Student Support Department also host regular events for students at the College. The College also has a LGBTT Initiative that you might be interested in learning more about.

Aboriginal Pipe Ceremony

Be Active, Reduce Stress

Many students find College to be overwhelming and stressful. Staying physically active and eating well are two common ways that people use to manage stress. Find out what recreational services are available at the College. The College also provides Health Services to students, with some valuable information on ways to reduce stress and be healthy.

If you need Help, Talk to Someone

Personal Counselling Services are available to College students at no charge. Counsellors can help students manage concerns such as stress, anxiety, depression, abuse, and family or relationship problems. Counsellors also help students with a disability access a range of educational support services. The College also has two Elders-in-Residence who are available to speak with both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students, as well as a counsellor to speak with Aboriginal students who need someone to talk to.

Preparing for a Career

The College offers Employment Services to current students and recent graduates, such as job postings targeted specifically to RRC students. The College hosts a Career Fair in the spring to connect students with employers.  There are also opportunities for students to work as a tutor. The Student Awards and Financial Aid office has information on Student Loans and awards.


Good luck discovering your own Path to Success!

Roll out the Red Carpet!

August 26, 2013 • Written by


The fall semester has just begun, so it’s time to “Roll out the Red Carpet!”  This RRC student blog is dedicated to providing stories, tips, and resources to improve student success, wellness, leadership and excellence.

To keep posted on the latest blog updates, make sure to subscribe by entering your email in the subscription box on the top right of the screen.

Good luck with your studies!