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Tutoring Tips


Eight Tips for Tutoring Effectively ... Effective Math Tutoring Tips, Boise State University ... Tips for Working With English Language Learners ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Tutoring Tips

Tutoring Tips
  • Presentation for the
  • Future Teachers Program
  • California State University Fullerton

Developed by V. Costa, Secondary Education, for
EDSC 110.
A good tutor is
  • Helpful
  • Positive
  • Interested
  • Enthusiastic
  • Humble
  • Respectful
  • Accessible
  • Idealistic

Tale of a Tutor -anonymous limerick
  • A tutor who taught on the flute
  • Tried to teach two tooters to toot.
  • Said the two to the tutor,
  • "Is it harder to toot, or
  • To tutor two tooters to toot?"

Who Could You Tutor?
  • Go to your local elementary or middle school and
    offer to help! You might
  • Read to students
  • Help them with their homework
  • Get involved in peer-tutoring at your high school
  • Avid
  • Afterschool Homework Help
  • Set up a regular tutoring session with a neighbor
    who needs help. You might
  • Listen to them read
  • Help them with homework
  • Provide enrichment through reading and computer
  • The possibilities are endless!

What Can Tutoring Do?
Tutoring is a great way to help children learn.
It offers an opportunity for one-on-one
interaction, focused support for children's
problem areas and a welcome break from typical
classroom situations.
Purposes of Tutoring
  • To improve the educational achievement of the
  • To enhance student self-esteem and confidence in
    his/her ability to learn.
  • To introduce the student to the world outside the
    classroom through interaction with an experienced
    and concerned adult or older student.
  • To create new opportunities for reading.
  • To provide immediate and constructive feedback.
  • To improve student motivation and performance.

Six Steps to Effective Tutoring
1) Begin by introducing yourself to the student.
  • Take some time for you both to get to know each
    other. Questions can be asked by both you and the
    student to get to know each other, find common
    interests, and to initiate positive
  • Learn the student's name and its correct
    pronunciation immediately. If you are
    volunteering in a classroom, ask the teacher for
    a class list to facilitate your learning process.
  • Make sure the student knows your name. Write it
    down for her/him and include your schedule.
    Introduce yourself again the next time.

2) Restructure the learning environment.
  • Students are often easily distracted. Make sure
    you are in a relatively quiet area. Avoid areas
    that have popular attractions like a pencil
    sharpener or a water fountain.
  • Clear the desk of other materials so the student
    can focus on the subject at hand put books for
    other subjects out of sight.
  • Some students might even benefit if you
    physically block out parts of the page or
    material they are not working with.

3) Begin tutoring at a level well within the
grasp of the student to provide an atmosphere of
  • Listen to and observe your students. Work with
    the student at his/her level. Be prepared to
    adjust your tutoring to meet the needs of the
    student as he/she encounters simple to difficult
  • Assess the student's understanding and grasp of
    the basic skills needed to complete the
    assignment. For example If your student is
    having trouble with multiplication, you may need
    to find out if the problem is a lack of addition
    skills or poor number recognition. If the problem
    is not that basic, check if there is an
    understanding of basic multiplication operations.

4) Take the time to understand the activity you
are helping with.
  • Does the student have the ability to do the
  • It is a good idea to find out what the student
    knows before jumping in to help.
  • Ask the student if this type of assignment has
    been given in the past.
  • It is often helpful to look at similar
    assignments to see how you can best help the
  • If you do not understand the assignment or are
    not clear how to do it, be honest with the
  • Read the assignment in the book aloud and refer
    back to earlier sections as needed.
  • If there is no book, try different ways to do the
    assignment or ask the teacher for further
  • Your student will learn how to work through a
    problem by watching and participating with you.

5) Give clear directions.
  • Explain the assignment to the student slowly,
    giving one direction at a time. It is helpful to
    ask the student to restate the ideas in his/her
    own words to check for understanding of the
  • Break the task into small pieces if possible,
    allowing the student to focus on one thing at a
    time. For example, if a student is working on 25
    math problems, block out all but five. If the
    problems are complicated, work on one
  • Make sure the student understands what is to be
    done. Do the first problem or some examples
  • Encourage the student to work independently on
    material that comes easily.

6) Be creative and imaginative in your tutoring
  • Break your session into several shorter segments
    of various activities, i.e., 10 minutes of oral
    reading or discussion, 5 minutes for a game or
    other fun activity, 10 minutes for writing, math
    drill, etc. The length and content of your
    segments will depend on the attention span and
    needs of your student. Students will get less
    restless if they know in advance when the session
    will begin and end.
  • Remember that students take in information
    through different learning channels (visual,
    auditory and kinesthetic), and that one or two of
    these may dominate in your student. Use special,
    colored markers and objects to facilitate
    learning. Sometimes putting things in different
    colors, using manipulative objects or even
    physical movement to represent concepts can be
    helpful. Tape recorders can help students who
    have trouble deciding and remembering what they
    want to write about.

Eight Tips for Tutoring Effectively
1. Be Patient, Supportive, and Encouraging
  • Remind students that no question is stupid.
  • Remind students that they CAN do anything they
    set their minds to do.
  • Rephrase a students question in your own words
    before proceeding.
  • Find ways to help them help themselves.

2. Have the Student Hold the Pencil
  • Try not to do the problem for the student, but
    have the student figure out the steps with you
    leading the way.
  • Ask questions, give hints, but have the student
    actually do the work.
  • Empower your students dont do their work for

3. Make Sure You Use the Method They are Learning
in Class
4. Make Appropriate Use of the Calculator and
  • Students might be asked to show work in one
    course but may be allowed or required to use the
    calculator in another.
  • They may need to handwrite an essay instead of
    word processing.
  • They may need to use specific resources for their
  • Ask the student what is required they usually
    know or they may have an assignment description
    that could help.

5. Creativity Helps, too
  • Use mnemonic devices, such as repetition,
    alliteration, and rhyming words Dont go
    overboard, but it does help to find creative ways
    to help students learn.

6. Be Supportive of the Instructor
  • Students often complain about their instructors.
    Be professional and do not share their

7. Keep the Student Organized
  • Set up problems or questions in the same way,
    show all work, and circle the answer.
  • Have them title their notes and assignments and
    include the date.
  • Encourage students to be neat and organized. Help
    them keep their materials in a folder.
  • Have them record what needs to be done next.

8. Help Them See the Big Picture
  • Remind them where theyve been and where they are
    going (in the workbook, textbook, or assignment)
  • Summarize methods and steps put them on a note
    card if that is helpful.
  • Show the connection to material they already know.

Special Tips for Tutoring Mathematics
Five Basic Steps for Assisting Math Students
  • Always look at the problem in the book. Never
    trust that a student has set it up correctly. 
  • Ask student to explain the procedure s/he is
    using to solve the problem. You can troubleshoot
    and listen for erroneous logic or incorrect
    procedures at that time. 
  • Reinforce any correct procedures (e.g. "This part
    is done correctly", or "You are on target here".)
    Then identify incorrect logic and ask the student
    to consider what else s/he might try. You can
    provide a hint, but avoid explanations until
    after the student has attempted a guess. (E.g.
    "When you evaluate an integral, what do you
    evaluate first, the upper or lower part?")
  • To check for understanding have the student
    re-explain the procedure to you. Avoid asking
    questions like, "Does that make sense to you?"
    and "Do you understand now?" 
  • Encourage the student to work the next problem on
    his/her own, but let him/her know you will check
    back.  Do not get drawn into working the next
    problem with an insecure student.  S/he needs to
    develop the ability to apply what s/he is
    learning without your supervision.

Three Important Tips for Tutoring Math
  • Guide the Student
  • A math tutor should guide a student through the
    solution process by asking leading questions that
    direct the student towards the correct steps. 
  • Avoid doing problems for the student. 
  • If the student cannot get the correct answer and
    asks for help, the tutor should look at what the
    student has done and try to locate the error. 
    Then have the student work a similar problem to
    make sure he/she has the idea. 
  • Address Math Anxiety
  • Tutors deal with students with varying degrees of
    math anxiety. Avoid using phrases such as, "this
    is easy."  Such phrases intimidate the student.
  • Don't Confuse the Student!
  • If the tutor is unsure of a mathematical
    procedure or concept, check with a math

Tips for Tutoring English Learners
When Tutoring English Learners . . .
  • Watch your language.
  • Speak simply and clearly. Use short, complete
    sentences in a normal tone of voice.
  • Use actions and illustrations to reinforce oral
  • Use visual aids, prompts, and facial expressions
    to help convey meaning.
  • Avoid using slang or figures of speech they
    often confuse learners.
  • Model correct usage, but respect that English
    language learners are trying to apply what they
    know about their first language to English.
  • Value the culture of the learner. Ask your
    students to teach you about the language and
    customs of their country of origin. Then try
    learning a few words in their language.
  • Ask for help. The number of languages spoken in
    the United States is astounding. You may be able
    to find someone who can give you more information
    about the culture and language of the students
    you tutor.
  • Encourage conversation. Have them read the
    problem or question and then tell you what it
    means in their own words.

Lets Hear from a Tutor and a Tutee!
  • Check out the following story of Mayda and Ashley
  • http//www.educ.uidaho.edu/bestpractices/peer_stor

Activity 1 Ask a Tutor
  • Interview someone who has been a tutor or who has
    been tutored. Ask the following questions
  • If you are interviewing a tutor
  • What strategies did you use that were successful?
  • What did you like best about tutoring?
  • If you are interviewing someone who has been
  • How was the tutoring session helpful?
  • What do you think is important for a tutor to do?
  • In your Blue Book, summarize what you learned
    about being a tutor.

Activity 2 Reflect on Learning
  • This presentation focused on
  • how to be an effective tutor.
  • In your blue book, please describe what you will
    do to be an effective tutor. Include 3-4
    strategies you will use with your students.
  • Identify two concerns or questions you have about
    tutoring You may wish to discuss these with your
    Future Teacher Advisor.

Activity 3 Find Out More
  • Review two of the resources on following pages.
  • In your Blue Book, identify at least new three
    tutoring strategies youve learned.

Sources and Additional Information
  • Tutoring Tips K-2
  • http//scs.student.virginia.edu/madison/migrantai
  • Tutoring Tips Grades 3-5
  • http//scs.student.virginia.edu/madison/migrantai
  • Tips on Tutoring, San Francisco
  • http//www.sfsv.org/tutor.htmltopics
  • School Volunteers
  • http//www.sfsv.org/tutor.htmltopics
  • Tutoring Tips, Fresno Reads
  • http//www.csufresno.edu/scs/reads/tutortips.html
  • Effective Math Tutoring Tips, Boise State
  • http//www.educ.uidaho.edu/bestpractices/peer_trai
  • Tutoring Techniques
  • http//www.trcc.commnet.edu/ed_resources/tasc/Trai
  • Tutoring Tips
  • http//www.stolaf.edu/stulife/sa/readscounts/media
  • Tips for Working With English Language Learners
  • http//www.sa.utah.edu/bennion/americareads/PDF/wo

Sources and Additional Information
  • Open the Door to Reading
  • http//www.sfsv.org/tutor3.html
  • Eight Tutoring Techniques
  • http//www.trcc.commnet.edu/ed_resources/tasc/Trai
  • Common Computational Errors Made by High School
  • http//www.mathandchess.citymaker.com/f/Article_-_
  • Math Tutoring Tips from America Counts
  • http//www.ed.gov/inits/Math/roadmap/5/tips.html
  • Tips for Tutoring Middle School Math
  • http//www.designastudy.com/teaching/tips-0802.htm
  • Tips for Tutoring Reading
  • http//www.stolaf.edu/stulife/sa/readscounts/media
  • Peer and Cross-Age Tutoring
  • http//www.nwrel.org/scpd/sirs/9/c018.html - this
    is a research article on the merits of peer-age
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