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Tutor Tips

Beginnings, Middles, Ends

Tutoring sessions have a beginning, a middle, and an end.


  • Establish a friendly, helpful rapport.
  • Have student articulate his/her concerns.
  • Set one or two initial short term goals for the tutoring session, encouraging the student to lead the way: “What would you like to accomplish today?”



  • Promote confidence by acknowledging progress or strengths with verbal or non-verbal positive reinforcement.
  • Allow time for the student to think. Learn to become comfortable with silent wait time—it is part of the process.
  • Use active listening for clarification and communication.
  • Conversation is essential to tutoring and learning. Promote conversation about material as a way to process, memorize, and clarify information.
  • Use writing to promote thinking and learning.
  • Access the student’s previous knowledge.
  • Form questions in order to engage the student in the tutoring process, to diagnose, and to teach.
  • Require students to provide evidence or examples of concepts or theories.
  • Refer to instructional materials, such as class notes, textbooks, e-reserves, etc.


  • Have student summarize new information.
  • Have students compare new information to previous knowledge and experience.
  • Have students articulate a plan for completing tasks independently.

Final Remarks

  • Keep complete records of each student visit.
  • Reflect on each tutoring session.
  • Develop effective tutoring strategies and communication skills.
  • Understand that each student is unique, so you will have to adjust your interaction style accordingly.
You will learn to be an effective tutor through tutoring, through reflecting upon tutoring sessions, through conversations with peers and staff, and through an understanding of current theoretical perspectives.