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Preparing for an Effective Tutoring Session

January 19, 2015

Article discusses five ways tutors can prepare for an effective tutoring session.

You’re knowledgeable in the subject matter you’re tutoring; you know how to motivate your students; and you’re an expert on keeping a positive attitude.  But you still need to take time to prepare for every tutoring session if you want to be an effective tutor to your students.  Below are five tips to help you and your students make the most out of each tutoring session.

Communicate With Your Students

If you don’t know what exactly it is that your students need help with, you cannot create an effective lesson plan.  Communicate with your students prior to your session to find out what concepts they want to focus on.  Find out what their goals are.  Getting as much information as possible about your tutees and what they want to achieve will allow you to develop customized lesson plans that will be valuable to your students.

Review the Material

After you know what your students want to work on, be sure to brush up on the subject matter before your session.  Even if you are already familiar with the subject, it’s important to review the specific concepts your students want to work on.  This will give you a chance to brush up on things you may have forgotten as well as come up with a way to explain the subject matter to your students in a way that makes sense to them.

Set Goals

It is important to set goals for each session, so you can evaluate your students’ progress.  Your goals should evolve as your sessions continue.  For example, during your first few sessions, a reasonable goal may be to review a few basic mathematical concepts and have your students solve one equation on their own.  As your tutees’ performance improves, your goals should become more sophisticated and focus on more advanced material.

Select an Appropriate Location

It won’t matter how much you communicate with your students about their needs and how much material you review before your tutoring sessions if you experience repeated interruptions when the time comes to actually meet with your students.  To make the most of your time together, it is important to establish a meeting place that is quiet and free of distractions.  Your sessions will not be as effective as they could be if you and your students are unable to concentrate or frequently interrupted.  Good places to meet include your clients’ homes, your office (if you have one), a public library or a local coffee shop.

Stay Positive

Whether a student hires a tutor because they are struggling in school or looking to gain an edge over the competition, they are looking for someone who can give them the individualized attention they need to help them achieve their goals.  One of the keys to their success is staying motivated even when it’s difficult.  By staying positive, you can provide the encouragement your students need to persevere even when they want to give up.  If you are overly critical, you risk discouraging them.  Keep feedback positive and constructive to improve their chances of succeeding.

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