If you want to get the most out of your tutoring sessions, it's important to consider what strategies will work best for each student. Ultimately every individual learns at a different pace and will have a unique learning style. It will be to your advantage, as a tutor, to actively listen and mould your teaching style to make learning easier and more effective.
On this note, let's explore some of the key attributes that make a successful tutor.
What Makes a Successful Tutor
We have previously written about 7 online teaching skills worth developing as a tutor. These should be combined with qualities needed to run a successful tutoring company:
- A passion for education
- A good head for numbers
- Good interpersonal skills
- Patience and determination
While this could fall into the above brackets, there are two other considerations for successful teaching. First and foremost, you should be aware of your student's learning style. Does the student prefer to learn through visual aids? For instance, do they have a better understanding when they see an example of how it is done rather than just reading the instructions? Do they enjoy seeing analogies or metaphors used to put things in perspective? Or, do they understand better when the information is given verbally? If you think about your own learning style, it might be easier to help them determine their strongest learning methods.
It's also important to practice active listening during each tutoring session. Listening not only allows students to express themselves better, but it also helps you see how they are progressing. Active listening focuses on the speaker's words, body language and emotions. This not only ensures that you give your student their undivided attention, it also encourages them to share their thoughts with you freely.
On the subject, this brings us onto a crucial aspect that tutors need to consider.
Relationship Between Tutor and Student
A strong relationship between a tutor and their student improves the effectiveness of tutoring. It ensures that the tutor understands the best strategies to use with each individual tutee, as well as helps them to feel comfortable during sessions. A positive relationship also encourages students to commit to their own educational goals.
Tutoring is a process that involves an active dialogue between the tutor and tutee. As student's progress, they also need to take on more responsibility for their own learning. This means that their tutoring time together needs to shift slightly so tutors can teach students how to become better learners themselves. Learning strategies are beneficial to both tutors and tutees. Students will have the opportunity to practice what they learn in tutoring sessions. Tutors, on the other hand, can use these strategies to teach their tutees more effective ways of learning that don't require one-on-one attention.
Introducing Technology Into Learning Sessions
In a nutshell, the best tutors are the ones that adapt well to technology and use all the tools at their disposal to enhance the learning experience for students.
Let's explore some technology that you could use today to support and encourage academic growth.
Using an online whiteboard in tutoring sessions can help your student to visualize key concepts. They are also a great way to step through problems together, offer feedback, and encourage collaboration between students during these sessions. You can use one of the many online whiteboards available today to work with your student on a variety of subjects, including math, science, and language arts. In addition to helping students learn concepts more effectively, online whiteboards also offer interactive features that make tutoring sessions fun and engaging.
- Here's the 10 Best Online Whiteboards in 2021.
Let's face it. Tutoring can be very time consuming. It's important that tutors are able to schedule their tutoring sessions in advance so they can plan accordingly. There are many different types of scheduling software available, including TutorCruncher (yes, us!), Google Calendar, Outlook and Zoho Scheduling.
Using scheduling software to manage your tutoring schedule can be extremely helpful. Not only does it give you an organized list of tutees and their schedules, but you also have the ability to communicate directly with students through the software's messaging system. You can make appointments, send reminders about upcoming lessons, and coordinate with your student so they know when their next tutoring session will be.
Gamification in Learning
\ One of the best teaching tactic is to "gamify" the learning experience. This means giving your tutee fun, interactive ways to reinforce what you've taught them in previous sessions. Try creating flashcards based on topics that they struggle with. Then quiz them over these topics frequently so they can practice solving problems. You could also create online games that unleash math facts, vocabulary words or state capitals to reinforce the content they need to know for each session.
According to a study, gamification has numerous benefits in learning which include:
- Gamification aids in cognitive development in adolescents
- Gamification increases level of engagement in classrooms
- Gamification aids in accessibility in the classroom
- Gamification isn't limited to the classroom (because we're primarily concerned with tutoring online - we're very excited about this point!)
This gives their learning a fun, engaging twist that they're sure to enjoy.
Social Media in Teaching
Social media platforms give tutors and teachers more opportunities to engage with students outside of one-on-one teaching sessions. It encourages learning beyond regular class time, while also encouraging collaboration and peer learning. This makes tutoring more efficient because the tutors aren't just teaching one student, they're teaching multiple students at once.
Social media also gives silent learners the opportunity to participate in conversations as well as ask questions or provide input when necessary.
You could embed a YouTube video in your lesson plan and use it as an opportunity for Q&A. Or you could find an industry relevant "influencer" and use their imagery to illustrate and support some of your group sessions. The focal point here is using platforms that your students are familiar with to encourage critical thinking skills and independently learn.
Effective Tutoring Strategies & Techniques To Try
Before you try out any of these, it's important to be sure that you have identified your tutoring goals. You may want your tutees to be able teach each other concepts or you may want them to be able to explain a concept they have learned in their own words. It's important to make sure that your tutees are not overwhelmed and it's also important for you to pick strategies that meet your tutoring goals.
I Can Statements
One of the most basic and effective teaching methods is I Can Statements. These are phrases that clarify learning goals and they help students recognise what they've successfully mastered so far. For example, if your student struggles with multistep math problems you could use an I Can Statement like this: "I can solve problems using two operations." You could also try giving your student a finished problem to replicate which gives them an example of what they need to do and some practice time without you. In a nutshell, they help students recognise what they've successfully mastered so far and give them a road map for developing their skills.
This tutoring strategy encourages students to speak out loud about what they are learning. The tutor writes down their thoughts on a whiteboard or paper, and then moves to another student where the same thing happens. This helps tutees feel more comfortable by seeing that other students may have the same questions or concerns as themselves. The tutor can also use this information to clarify misconceptions, praise correct responses and give constructive criticism.
The Pause Procedure
The tutor uses the Pause Procedure when they are unsure of how to help a struggling student, or if they want to give students time to think. The pause procedure is effective because it provides students with extra time in order to respond and produces more accurate answers than the average response given in haste.
The pause procedure can be done verbally by repeating the student's response and asking them to respond again; or non-verbally, by simply pausing for a few seconds - giving students time to process what they have been asked and refer to their notes or discuss among pairs. The model behind this is clarify, assimilate and retain which great for comprehension.
These drills are designed to be fast-paced and cover a lot of information. Teachers use these drills to reinforce the major points from the lesson, as well as make sure students have fully grasped all of the material. They also allow tutors to quickly move through lessons where there is already a strong understanding. This tactic may be useful in certain subjects where there is a lot of memory retention required e.g. Biology and Chemistry.
Humour is important in tutoring because it makes students feel more comfortable and confident. By engaging students with humour, tutors are encouraging students to see the session as something fun and light-hearted. Humour is also a great way for tutors to take some of the pressure off of themselves and studies have even shown that the use of humour can boost memory retention.
Requesting Feedback & Using It Constructively
As a tutor, you can ask your tutee or students what they feel would improve their learning. This helps tutors learn more about how to help students, as well as determine where they may be struggling. In addition to asking students for feedback, using "I" statements is also important because it makes people feel more comfortable and shows that you are trying to help them, which can sometimes be more effective than telling people what they have done wrong.
The key point here is taking this valuable feedback onboard and using it to mould your approach, ultimately to achieve successful learning.
There are many different strategies and techniques that can be used to help students learn more effectively. Whether it's using technology, a specific technique or just having a good relationship with your tutor, there is something for everyone. What do you think is the best strategy? Let us know by reaching out on social media or email.