Ten Tips for Starting Tutoring Sessions

Remember that first impressions count! Students arrive for tutoring with many expectations, questions, and sometimes fears.

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You must treat all students with respect, listen to them, and help them articulate their needs.

  1. Display your sign so that students know who you are and what you tutor.
  2. Acknowledge all students with a smile and a friendly greeting.
  3. Find out if this is the student’s first visit or not. If it is, then let the student know what to expect. This will help put him/her at ease.
  4. Ask the student to fill out the information card before you begin. You can tell students that we gather the information for our annual report.
  5. Look over the card to determine what class the student is seeking help with and who the teacher is.
  6. Try to establish common ground. Have you taken a course with the same instructor? Have you done a similar assignment? Did you also find the problems difficult at first?
  7. Ask the student with what specifically he/she would like to be helped.
  8. If the student seems upset, allow him/her to vent briefly, then try to refocus him/her on positive steps to solving problems and gaining understanding.
  9. Find out what the student already knows about the topic and identify gaps in knowledge.
  10. Set and articulate small reasonable goals. For example, tell the student that you will work on a few example problems together so that you can model some problem-solving strategies. Then explain that you will have the student work on a problem independently. Or, tell the student that you will first explain a concept to him/her and then ask him/her to summarize it aloud or in writing so that you can check for understanding.

Last Updated 8/28/17

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