5 tips to be an effective tutor 💡

February 13, 2023Learnmate

After years of COVID lockdowns and remote learning that interrupted the usual school programming, tutoring has become a fixture in the family calendar to help students bridge learning gaps and fulfil their full potential.

As a tutor, you play a critical role in helping students achieve their learning goals, whether that’s to catch up, keep up or excel. Accordingly, here are our top 5 tips to ensure you’re tutoring effectively with your students.

Student-centred approach

Every student is unique and will have their own learning style. To ensure you’re an effective tutor, adopt a student-centred approach by identifying your student’s style and tailoring lessons to focus on their needs. For instance, you may identify that one student learns best by being spoken to and verbally explanations of concepts, while another may require visual aids or hands-on activities to help them comprehend the material.

Set clear goals and expectations

Before commencing lessons with a student, it is important to establish clear goals and expectations with the student. What does success look like to the student and what do they want to achieve? Having understood their learning goals, create a plan for achieving them at both the lesson and overall level. Setting expectations helps shape and maintain focus on short term objectives (ie. a particular lesson) and longer term ones.

Be well-prepared

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. As a tutor, it is critical that you have a clear understanding of the material, topic or subject you are covering and are prepared to teach it. This may include creating lesson plans to structure lessons or being familiar with any resources you plan to share or discuss with your student (such as subject specific texts, textbooks and resources). Being an effective tutor requires you to be prepared and ready to make the most of your time with a student and ensure you have the tools at hand to help them achieve their goals. Tutors who are unprepared are unlikely to be able to help students master their goals and are unlikely to instil the confidence necessary in the student or their family to be repeatedly booked for lessons.

Provide personalised feedback and support

A key part of personalised one-on-one tutoring is personal feedback and support. That is, to ensure that a student is progressing towards their set learning objectives, that you periodically provide specific and structured feedback. Feedback may include constructive criticism, annotated and marked work or something as simple as positive encouragement in areas where the student may be improving or needing a little confidence.

Be patient and foster independence 

The end goal of tutoring is ultimately to ensure students become confident and independently capable of problem solving. It is important to remember this and to remain positive and patient throughout lessons to create a positive environment for students to learn and overcome their struggles. A useful way to encourage independence and develop confidence is to set small goals and tasks for students to complete and gradually increase the difficulty of the work set.

In conclusion, being an effective tutor requires a combination of knowledge, preparedness and interpersonal skills. By taking a student-centred approach supported with structured lesson plans and a positive and supportive learning environment, you can make a real and positive impact in your students' academic and personal lives. Try following one of more of these tips in your next lesson.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can tutors measure the progress and effectiveness of their tutoring methods?

Tutors can assess progress through regular feedback, academic assessments, and observing changes in the student's confidence and engagement with the subject matter. Track their assessment performance or regularly test them yourselves.

2. What are some common challenges new tutors face, and how can they overcome them?

New tutors often grapple with adapting to different learning styles and maintaining student engagement. Creating structured lesson plans and having a clear idea of what you want to achieve each lesson can also help ensure lessons stay on track and specific goals are achieved.

Gaining experience, seeking mentorship, and continuous learning can help overcome these challenges.

3. How important is the setting of learning goals, and what is the best approach?

Setting clear, achievable learning goals is crucial for guiding the tutoring process and measuring success. Collaborating with students to set these goals ensures they are personalised and motivating.

For more detailed insights, you might want to reach out to seasoned tutors or qualified teachers or explore additional resources in the tutoring field.

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