TIPS FOR TUTORING UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
Following a set of guidelines when tutoring university students is always helpful. However, as most experienced tutors have observed, there are unwritten rules that help a tutor understand the difference between what a student wants and what a student needs.
Being a great tutor is to be a great learner. There are many reasons why the most effective tutors are university students. They are enthusiastic, motivated, and with contemporary skills, they understand modern problems require modern solutions. These traits are present with experienced tutors who outclass those who follow rigid rules and are un-collaborative with their students.
In addition to the above traits, here are a few important tips on how to become a great tutor.
Prepare - Preparation and organization are vital. It is the tutor's responsibility to help guide the student through their schedules, courses, and prioritize their work. Being prepared sets an example of self-discipline. "By failing to prepare, you prepare to fail"
Collaborate - Always plan in partnership with the student regarding the material you will cover during your future sessions. Collaborating with your student encourages creativity and productivity as the student is engaged in problem-solving and decision making.
Communicate - A professional understanding should be maintained with your student. Courteous verbal and non-verbal communication are encouraged. Your posture and body language are as important as your verbal communication. Always be engaged and enthusiastic as your behavior not only sets an example but also motivates and encourages your student.
Ask the right questions - Avoid Yes/No questions. Asking effective questions should generate a better response from the student. This helps you determine how much the student knows and helps the student determine the correct response. Not taking an answer at face value and examining the answer in detail helps tutors understand why some students struggle. Asking a student what their ideas are on a particular topic is a good way to know what your student already understands.
Be relatable and friendly - Developing an approachable relationship with your student creates opportunities and positive interactions. A relatable tutor can inspire a student to do their best.
Self-reliance - To help strengthen a student's confidence, motivate them to be independent. Empower your students to make their own choices, solve problems and make decisions on their own. In addition to the subject you teach, self-reliance helps the student develop life skills such as; communication and interpersonal skills, creative and critical thinking, self-awareness, decision making, and problem-solving, resilience, assertiveness, and self-control.
Review and assess a tutoring session – As important as being prepared for a new session, always access what you and your student has accomplished. Collaborate and discuss with your student and make arrangements for the next session.
For whatever reasons you might have chosen to become a tutor, it is a noble one. To be there for a student is a commitment few people take. You need to help guide them as an educator and to go the extra mile for their personal and professional development is in itself an honorable and principled one.