Last week academic counselors Laura, Brandi, Carol, and Hannah had the opportunity to travel to Boston, Massachusetts to attend the 46th annual College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA) conference. At it’s most basic, CRLA describes itself as “a group of student-oriented professionals active in the fields of reading, learning assistance, developmental education, tutoring, and mentoring at the college/adult level.”
I, Hannah, have never been on a conference, or to Boston, so I thought I could write a post from the view of a first time attendee. When we first got to Boston, we arrived when it was dark. We drove to the Back Bay district and stayed at a wonderful old hotel there. That first full day, Brandi and Carol presented during pre-conference. They spoke for just around 3 hours about how we train our tutoring staff at the TECHniques Center. There was a full house in attendance to hear about how the TC presents different topics like Policies & Procedures, How To Tutor and Learning Disability Simulations. There were a lot of questions and good discussion on how to best train tutors to help college students.
During the course of the week, we were able to select different sessions to attend. I attended ones on tutor training, autism spectrum disorders, peer tutors leading tutor training, and many others. My favorite session was on anxiety in college students. The presenter gave a unique and thoughtful process on how to help students acknowledge, accept, and overcome their anxious thoughts. I am excited to use similar techniques in my interactions with students and tutors. Many sessions were very engaging and included games and interactive trainings. Laura was a good sport and volunteered to be a part of a tutor bonding exercise.
After sessions on some days we were able to tour Boston. We walked the Freedom Trail and saw several American history sites, went to the Museum of Fine Arts, got coffee and walked through the Boston Commons, and ate at the second oldest restaurant in Boston.
I had a great time at my first conference, and I am excited to be able to bring new ideas and information to our tutors and our students!