The increasing need for students to earn high grades in education has increased the demand for tutoring. It is a well-balanced exercise in which both the instructor and the student question each other and exchange ideas. Tutoring, unlike teaching, relies more on an open relationship and proximity between the parties. For that matter, the tutor has the responsibility of cultivating a good rapport and trustworthy relationship that will foster an ideal learning environment for the student. No special certificate is required to become a tutor. Nevertheless, only good tutors will be able to aid students. Although some people are gifted teachers, certain experience and skills are needed.
Most aspiring tutors enroll in weekend training programs offering “one-size-fits-all” techniques that cannot be applied to everything and everyone. Trainee tutors are expected to memorize and apply these techniques to their jobs, often with little success. What are the tips to improve your tutoring skills?
Planning tutoring sessions goes a long way in saving your time. I have made it a habit of planning my tutoring sessions as early as one week in advance. The scheduling also allows me to decide on the venue that provides the most comfortable surroundings for me and the student. Early planning facilitates one to peruse past sessions, review expectations, and provisions for anticipated challenges. Also, you can include in the schedule a list of the students, days when they attend, and respective hours.
This entails knowing the student’s preferred learning style and availing the relevant material as early as possible. Do not hesitate to ask questions regarding your student’s favorite subjects. Some students are inclined to theoretical subjects while others to action-based subjects. Knowing the student’s orientation reduces the amount of work by 50%.
Schedules are for time management. However, sticking to a routine invites boredom into the sessions with the students. Make the sessions interesting by surprising the students with new approaches to learning especially in subjects like math.
Knowing a student’s preferred learning style is not enough. I keep myself up to date with the latest developments in teaching styles. Knowing at least four teaching styles enables me to accommodate a substantial number of students without difficulty. However, stick to the time-proven and verified methods if possible.
Demonstrate that you understand your student’s strengths and weaknesses. If possible, share a story regarding your own struggles in learning with explanations about the approaches you used to overcome them.
Students are normally embarrassed to admit their weaknesses or challenges that they face in learning. I tend to examine students’ facial expressions and body language to determine their actual state before I decide on the best course of action. For example, I might repeat a concept or ask the student to explain it using his/her own words.
Promote an exchange of ideas instead of a teacher-student environment that tenses students. I often ask my students to provide the syllabus and class content for a partnered review. I clarify that my work is to supplement their classwork and ease the learning process.
I have discovered that some students are more active in groups. Sometimes, I unite couple of students in tutoring sessions with common challenges in a particular subject. The students can tutor each other as I clarify and objectify some of their approaches.
Help your students to be the best. Invite them to either suggest ways of improving the sessions or make a list of education tools that they think will improve their learning abilities. For example, if a student is constantly struggling with writing assignments, you can suggest a custom writing service for referential purposes.
Always ensure that you acknowledge the strengths of your students, thus encouraging them to grow. Compliments increase self-esteem and confidence of the recipients. In fact, I openly admit to my students of my inability to tackle some of the homework assignments. However, I promise them to solve them at a later point and I make sure to keep my promises. This honesty reminds the student that nobody knows everything, but everybody knows something.
Although some sessions can be frustrating, always end them on a positive note. This will leave them lighthearted and they will be looking forward to work with you next time. Positivity may include anything like complimentary comments, rewarding the students for a well-done job, requesting the student to rate the day’s tutoring session.
Assure the student that their learning and your tutoring sessions are a pact between two parties. This way the student will not be worried about fellow students or other people knowing about his or her educational status. If the students will that their private lives are not exposed to the public, they will be more comfortable with your sessions.
Each student has a particular learning style thus distinct rate of understanding. Being patient with their progress makes you the leader in the sessions and allows you to guide the student accordingly. Impatience increases the student’s doubts regarding your ability as a tutor.
Incorporating recent developments in technologies such as Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook can help you to interact with the student at a more personalized level. Such social media platforms also offer ideal opportunities to examine and profile the personality of your student.
Joke around about certain aspects in the tutoring sessions. Humor is a useful tool in breaking tensed moments and changing the attitude of the student regarding learning. Humor encourages the student to yearn for the next tutoring session. However, it should be done sparingly, not to mislead the student’s expectations.
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