Large class sizes and advanced course material make it difficult for college professors to effectively meet the needs of all their students. In these situations, a tutor can provide the much-needed help that students are looking for. Regardless of the academic discipline, some general practices are important for any tutor to lead a helpful tutorial.
1) Start Slow
Varying influences, from nervousness to a long waiting line, can cause tutors to rush into a tutoring session. Avoid this tendency. Remember that a tutoring is a teaching situation and the student will be unlikely to learn much if they do not feel comfortable with you. Take some time to ask the student’s name, where they’re from, or what they’re majoring in. Be aware of your body language and remember that a smile goes a long way in helping the student feel comfortable with you.
2) Understand What the Student Needs
Associated with the tendency to rush into a tutoring session is the inclination to create and follow your own agenda. Don’t assume you know the student’s needs, even if you’ve worked with other students on the same assignment. Allow them to express what help they need and keep the tutorial focused on their agenda.
3) Ask Questions
Understanding the student’s needs will be much easier if you’re not doing all the talking. Avoid the tendency to dominate the session. Ask questions and, even more importantly, listen. This is important at every stage. Asking effective questions will help you understand their needs as well as checking to see that the student is understanding your feedback and instruction.
4) Don’t Cover Too Much
Most students do not work with a tutor unless they need help, and usually a lot of it. It can be easy to feel like you must take a student from their level of understanding and move them to yours by the end of the session. An advanced writing tutor, for example, may see a freshman level paper and feel the need to transform it to a senior-thesis level quality. Remember that even if it were possible for you to identify every deficiency or correct every misconception, it is impossible for the student to comprehend all of it in one session. Focus on the most important problems (another reason tip #2 is important) and be satisfied if you can help them with those. It will be better for the student to learn one or two principles clearly than to vaguely comprehend a dozen new ideas.
5) Formulate a Plan
Before concluding a tutoring session, review what has been covered and help the student formulate a plan to implement what has been learned. Encourage them to write down what they intend to do or what they have learned. Not only will this further cement the principles in their mind but it will also give them a helpful reminder to refer to when they aren’t with you. BOLA TANGKAS