UI Center for Language and Cultural Learning adds three language tutor programs

After the Spanish Speaking and Writing Center was closed, Center for Language and Cultural Learning, located in Phillips Hall, took on Spanish, Italian, and German tutoring programs.

The+Center+for+Language+and+Culture+Learning+in+room+120+of+Phillips+Hall+is+seen+on+Sunday%2C+Sept.+26%2C+2022.

Matt Sindt

The Center for Language and Culture Learning in room 120 of Phillips Hall is seen on Sunday, Sept. 26, 2022.

Virginia Russell, News Reporter


The University of Iowa’s language center expanded its tutoring program to include Spanish and more foreign language tutoring programs. 

The UI Center for Language and Cultural Learning, located in room 123D in Phillips Hall, is run by the center’s director Claire Frances, who said the Spanish Speaking and Writing Center, of which Frances previously served as director, was phased out in Spring 2022. 

Frances wrote that after phasing out the Spanish Speaking and Writing Center, she and other administrators decided to collaborate on expanding the peer tutoring at the Center for Language and Cultural Learning program to include Spanish tutoring.

The expanded Center for Language and Cultural Learning program has tutoring in 11 languages, now including the addition of Spanish, German, and Italian.

This decision came after multiple issues with the Spanish Speaking and Writing Center in part due to low attendance rates, Frances said. 

There is one tutor per language and there are in-person and Zoom appointments available for students depending on the tutor’s schedule. 

Oluwashei Nicane Gbetokou is the current Spanish Speaking and Writing Peer tutor at the Center for Language and Cultural Learning. Gbetokou is a third-year student and a Spanish major at the UI. He was recently hired for the 2022 fall semester year and is the only Spanish tutor for the department. 

“I really like teaching, tutoring, showing people what they need to know,” Gbetokou said. “Showing them why they don’t know it and what they can do to better learn.”  

Frances wrote that tutor shortages are a funding issue, and she’s currently looking for a different model that pays tutors for their time via credit hours. 

The tutoring role in the department consists of helping students with all things Spanish, Gbetokou said. He teaches students how to improve their writing, hold a conversation, and speak more fluently.

 “Anything they need they bring it to me; I always do it with them, and then one day if they have homework and they don’t know how to do it, I teach them how to do it,” Gbetokou said. 

For UI senior Ellie Yoder, the Spanish peer tutoring program was a helpful tool in the past. As a Spanish minor, Yoder said in one class she had to do a lot of writing, and she appreciated having a tutor. 

“The one tutor that they did have, I really liked him, and I felt he was really helpful so maybe just getting more tutors available,” Yoder said.

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