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Essential tips for being a highly effective tutor

Professional tutors should be called upon when a student finds that the attention and support of a classroom teacher no longer meets their individual learning needs. This can be a result of many factors including:

  • Time constraints
  • Curriculum progression
  • Individual learning difficulties
  • Absence
  • Miscommunication between teacher and student

A tutor is able to work with students in a much smaller teacher-to-student ratio than classroom dynamics allow. This means they are able to give more freely of their time and resources to assist with difficulties in a particular subject area. As professionals they are also able to support and complement the essential skills and learning styles promoted in a classroom environment.

Being a good tutor takes relevant education, experience and training to ensure that they are able to adequately address learning difficulties presented by students seeking tuition. There is a big difference between trained tutors and those which are able to instinctively instruct, communicate and engage.

Here are five essential skills that make highly effective tutors:

#1 – Positivity and Praise

It is important to keep in mind that students who are seeking additional learning support are more than likely doing it as a result of frustration and desperation. Chances are they have tried seeking assistance from other places before being seated at a tutor’s teaching table. Positive reinforcement and encouragement is essential in connecting with a student and reassuring them of their progress. Well-selected praise can go a long way to cementing the trust between tutor and student.

#2 – Assessment

An open dialogue between tutor and student is imperative if they are going to get the assistance they require. Encourage them to be open and honest about their learning needs so evaluation of the split of confidence versus skills can be established. Accurate assessment of their needs and difficulties will allow a tutor to take the right approach from the beginning.

#3 – Good role-modelling

Many students struggle with the concept of good study habits. It is vital that tutors model good behaviours for them to adopt when it comes to approaching school work, homework and assessment. This will help them to get organised and understand the importance of approaching work with a positive attitude.

#4 – Learning Styles

Every one of us learns differently. There are a number of learning styles that explain the way people approach education. Presenting information and getting students to engage with content in a variety of ways can not only improve their chances of understanding it but also their level of enjoyment. Edward De Bono also offers a key learning tool with his six thinking hats theory to encourage students to manipulate and change the way they approach new information and concepts.

#5 – Patience and Approach

For some students particular subjects or concepts are very difficult to understand. Showing patience with student progress, even if it is in very small steps, is very important for their self-confidence. They must feel tutors acknowledge not only their results but their attempts too.

Following these steps can help students become more engaged and progress faster with their studies.

Do you have any tips or techniques for helping your students learn? Let us know in the comments.