A tutor is a person who provides assistance or instruction to one or more people on certain subject areas or skills.
The purpose of tutoring is to help students learn to help themselves.
The tutor assists or guides a student to the point they become an independent learner and, thus, no longer need tutoring.
A tutor reviews class assignments, clarifies the content as needed, and assists students with homework problems.
If a student has particular difficulty with a problem, the tutor works with them until they succeed in understanding how to solve the problem.
The role of the tutor is not to show the solution a particular problem.
Instead, a tutor helps the student learn how to work out the solutions to problems on his or her own.
Be Prompt: Students must be able to count on tutors being available during the posted hours. Being late leads to frustration and disappointment.
Be courteous: Show friendliness and concern for others, especially the students coming to you for help.
Be Professional: Tutors should express understanding of students' frustrations without criticizing their classroom teachers or second-guessing a teacher's grading. Students should be encouraged to address such problems directly with their instructors.
Report problems: Pay attention to how students in the STEM area are treating each other. If you see a problem then bring it to the attention of the instructor on duty.
Occasionally, tutors may get complaints. Depending upon their nature, it may be advisable to direct complainer to your supervisor. Tutors do not need to assume the duty of trying to deal with complaints oneself.
Conducting a Tutoring session
Show up on time. Students must be able to count on tutors being available during the posted hours. Being late leads to student frustration and disappointment.
Notice the body language of the people you are tutoring. If they seem angry or aggressive you may need to get help from the instructor on duty.
Listen carefully to what the student says.
Make eye contact with the speaker (without staring). This will demonstrate to the speaker that the listener is paying attention.
Do not interrupt the speaker. Wait until she or he is completely finished, then ask questions. Listening long enough may answer several of the questions without the need to ask. When the time is right to ask, summarize what you heard and then ask appropriate questions.
Repeat what you think you heard back to the student. "So what you need is ..."
Be adaptable. Being willing and able to adapt your behavior increases your ability to communicate and build relationships with the student.
Present information in various ways if needed. If a student does not seem to understand what you are explaining, try another approach.
Exhibit patience. Even if you feel impatient, act calmly and make yourself wait.
Act relaxed. It helps set people at ease.
Do homework for the students. Students do not learn unless they do the homework.
Be afraid to say that you don't know the answer, or can't think of another way to explain it.
Ignore people who need help.
Talk down to students. Do not be condescending. Do not comment on how easy a problem/concept is to understand (not true for everyone).
Use simple language. There is a difference between understanding a topic and teaching it.
Ask to see what a student has done so far. Students should be asked to read a problem and decide on a plan before the tutor gives any feedback.
Restate what the student says. It will let them know you're paying attention and that you heard their problem. "So you are having problems with ..."
If the problem is not obvious from the student's description, ask questions.
Avoid asking "yes" and "no" questions. Ask only open-ended questions. "So what did you see when ...".
Ask one question at a time and wait for an answer.
After asking a question, wait at least 10 seconds before expecting a response. Students need sufficient uninterrupted time to first consider and then respond to the query. If the student does not respond, calmly ask the question again, rephrase it, or give a hint.
Admit when you don't know the answer.
Provide information that the student needs, rather than how you would solve a problem. Do not suggest more advanced techniques than an instructor has covered in class. "In your course, have you learned about ...?"
Check to see if you have been understood. If the student gives an incorrect answer, don't say "no", or "that's wrong", and never make fun of an answer. Correct his or her work without being discouraging. If the answer is incomplete or incorrect give the student clues. Praise the student when she or he gets the answer right.
After solving a problem, ask a student to explain back to you the steps that were needed.
Do not be condescending or talk down to a student. Refrain from commenting on how easy a problem or concept is to understand.
Keep a positive attitude about the person you are assisting.
Be conscious of your body language. Make eye contact (without staring) and lean towards the student (though not into their personal space).
Show enthusiasm for learning and the subject.
Look for opportunities to encourage the student's work and affirm when they are on the right track.
Actively teach study skills. Ask your students what they think are good study habits. Suggest other approaches as needed.
Do end your session on a positive note!
Why is it important to show up to a tutoring session on time?
How do you find out from a student what help is needed?
How do you let the student know you are listening?
After a student explains what they want help with, what is the first thing you should do?
After asking a question, how long should you wait for the student to respond before providing a hint or asking another question?
What is wrong with saying, "Oh, this is an easy problem..."?
What is the matter with saying, "I don't know the answer to that problem."?