Written by Dyanette Rivera Cordero

English graduate, Bianca Napoleoni, defended her thesis titled “The Tutoring Phenomenon: Parent and Tutor Determinants for Private Supplementary in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico” on May 18th of this year. Her research investigation was on the perspective of parents and tutors regarding Private Supplementary Tutoring (PST). It explored the financial, social and psychological aspects which may or may not influence parental use of PST in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

Part of her findings showed that parents frequently invest in Private Supplementary Tutoring (PST) because of time limitations, unfamiliarity regarding subject areas, and the provision of emotional security. Napoleoni added that her results concluded that the main resource of this type of tutoring is used to maintain or increase student performance, especially for higher grade scores and developing student self-confidence.

The Inspiration

The inspiration behind Napoleoni’s thesis comes from her tutoring years. During this period, she witnessed how this service was in such high demand within the private school sector. For her, the most interesting aspect was the “willingness to allocate a substantial amount of money and time towards tutoring,” to which she added “sparked the topic for my thesis.” 

The Challenges Met

When asked about the challenges she encountered, Napoleoni explained her biggest challenge was the process of analyzing her data. “I collected a lot of data and it was a difficult process choosing what needed to be excluded. It was also a bit of a challenge to find participants who fit the category necessary for my data collection. Fortunately, my thesis advisor was a great aid in this area.” 

In fact, Napoleoni asserts now that the only thing she would have done differently is the amount of participants she worked with. But as well, “time was an limitation”, she says. 

Before The Curtain Closes

When asked about the highlights of her study, Napoleoni considers that to be how the study gave her a great opportunity to experience editing and researching. Thus, it pushed her to become better at these two complex tasks. She describes how “delving into this topic was fascinating and extremely interesting.” Additionally, what contributed to the polishing of her researching skills was the entire process of data analysis. She even adds how the “analysis of transcriptions was something completely new to me.” 

However, Napoleoni explains how, “on a more personal level, my former colleagues and peers have become my very close friends. I thank them for their endless support.” 

Some advice  she offers to future graduate students is that it is important to be their own self-motivators. As well she adds “how good organization is very important because the process of writing a thesis is very time-consuming and all-around overwhelming but prioritizing your degree and having a supportive committee makes all the difference. It will be a daunting task, but you will succeed.”

What Comes Next?

Now that Napoleoni has finished her Master’s Degree in English Education (MAEE) at UPRM, she looks toward a future in higher education. She would like to begin working as an educator for higher education. Later on, she would like to pursue an EdD or PhD.