Techniques for Effective Tutors

Tutoring Techniques
Engage in Active Listening
 Give students your full and undivided attention
 Make eye contact, sit up or stand up straight, use good body language
 Be cautious of non-verbal signals – Remember that actions speak louder than words
 Listen to students and summarize their remarks into one or two sentences. This will help to
evaluate what the student is learning and assess if he/she is on the right track
 Examples: “What I hear you saying is…” or “It seems to me what you are saying is…”
Ask Effective Questions
 Ask open-ended questions – it requires students to give you additional information and
leads to further questioning
 Close-ended questions ask for a yes or a no answer, and give no room for elaboration
 Replace the question “Why?” see below
Understand Different Learning Styles
 Visual Learners - Learn through seeing
o Learn by visuals: charts, graphs, watching demonstrations
o Encourage students to take notes, draw pictures, create graphs/charts, photos, flash
 Auditory Learners – Learn through listening/hearing
o Encourage reading aloud, ask them to explain information to you or teach you the
subject, make up songs and/or rhymes, discuss subject topics.
 Hands-on Learners – Learn by doing
o Encourage students to pick up the book when reading/talking, sit near front of the
classroom to decrease distractions, write lists, repetition, make models that
demonstrate the topic, games, ask student to be your assistant.
o Organize into 3 columns to assist learning
o What do you KNOW?
o What do you WANT TO KNOW?
o What did you LEARN?
Apply Subject Material to Real Life Examples
 Relate material/topic to real life examples including current events, trends, games, money…
 Find out what interests the student(s) you are working with & relate to their interests
 Build upon students’ background, culture and prior knowledge to make connections
Break it Down/Simplify
 Break down large vocabulary words into smaller words to ease learning.
 For example: The word Bioluminescence can be broken down into:
o Bio – meaning Life & Luminescence – meaning Light
o Bioluminescence means “living light” or living things that produce light.
Be Sensitive
 Do not say “No” or “You’re Wrong” – Try to give it a positive twist by saying:
o “That’s close”
o “You almost have it”
o “That’s not it”
o “This part is good, let’s try the
other part again”
Students who are Defensive or Upset
 LISTEN to what they have to say – be open to students concerns
 Encourage them to tell you more
 Show empathy and/or talk about your own academic struggles
 Talk about what you are seeing them do or hearing them say
No Cellphones!
 Do not have your cellphone out - it is a distraction to both yourself and the students you are
working with. This includes using your cellphone as a calculator – ask the teacher to borrow
a calculator if you need one. You are employed to tutor and assist students academically.
Cellphones must be put away at all times and in the silent or off position.
We have a ZERO TOLERANCE policy for cellphone usage while at work – you may be
immediately terminated!
Ways to Replace the Question “WHY?”
Please elaborate
How did you decide that?
How did you arrive at that conclusion?
Please elaborate for other students in
the class
Can you justify that?
Tell me how you arrived at that answer
How did you see that?
How did you reason?
What steps did you take to get this
Tell me more/Tell us more
Tell me about the process you used
How did you do that?
What made you think of that?