5 tips on being a great tutor

Oct 07
2014

A tutor is one of the most important figures in a student’s school career. Tutors have an unprecedented opportunity to work directly with students and respond to their individual concerns. In order to be an effective tutor, there are certain skills you’ll need to master.

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Be Patient

Students who have agreed to meet with a tutor, particularly younger students, can sometimes feel nervous or embarrassed about being tutored. Be patient with them; as a tutor your role is to build confidence. A relaxed conversational style helps students feel at their ease.

Be Prepared

An important part of building confidence is preparation. Although a tutor’s plans are largely determined by the needs of the student, make sure you have the resources necessary to answer common questions. Find out in advance which specific topics your student is going to want help with and bring relevant materials.

Make Recommendations

One of your roles as tutor is to connect a student to the wider world of the subject. Be aware of other opportunities for your student to expand his or her knowledge. Recommend other books to read, exhibits to visit, or resources to use. Use your wider knowledge of the topic to help your student view the subject from other perspectives.

Listen

Some students may have trouble explaining exactly what they need to a tutor. Eager to please, they’re likely to agree to whatever you suggest, even if it isn’t really what they need to be doing. Ask open-ended questions to get your student talking about his or her classroom experience. Don’t ignore or downplay concerns about material the student finds too difficult; revisit it and study it in detail.

Teach Learning

The most valuable skills a tutor can teach are study skills. Helping a student learn facts is useful, but teaching him or her to find them out will be useful in future classes as well. Focus on methods rather than on data for the best possible outcome.