Tips for a Successful Tutoring Session

• Arrive at the session on time and prepared to assist the student.
• At the start of a session, ask the student how they have been doing in class.  How did the quiz go?  Which new concepts were introduced?  Is there a new assignment?
• Set an agenda for your session.  What questions do you have about the material covered in class?  How much time can you both devote?  Do you want to devote the first half to explaining the material and the second half to practice?  Is there a particular assignment to go over?
• You might begin with a review to reinforce what the student already knows and to start with a point of confidence.
• Focus on one concept or idea at a time.  Sometimes, a student needs help understanding several complex and/or interrelated ideas.  Help the student identify and separate steps in a process, different skills/ideas, etc.
• Try leading by example.  You might do a practice problem or two and then ask the student to do one themselves, using you only as a reference.
• Ask the student to verbally explain the concept or problem--conjugating the verb, completing the proof, etc.  If there’s a whiteboard or scrap paper nearby, get the student to diagram any difficult concepts/processes.
• In general, ask questions.  Especially if the student is starting to get stuck regularly, make sure you ask enough questions so they figure it out themselves.  What you are trying to model in this step is a general problem-solving method.
• Be patient, giving the student adequate time.  Remember that silence is okay, as it allows the student time to think/analyze.
• Be flexible in your approaches.  Try visuals, flow charts, analogies, mnemonic devices, repetition, etc.
• End the session with a short summary of what you’ve covered.  This not only helps the student review concepts but also instills a sense of accomplishment.  Even better—ask the student to restate what they’ve learned to you!
• End on a positive note.  If you’re working on the most difficult concepts last and the student is struggling, return to areas with which s/he feels more confident.
• Talk about scheduling your next session. During this conversation, set some goals or ask the student to work on specific concepts before the next session.
• Offer the student a chance to give you feedback.

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