Review - Guidelines for tutoring success

What? How? Why?
Learn about your tutee’s background
  • Learn and remember your tutee's name and use it correctly.
  • Find out their interests and needs, language proficiency, and goals.
  • Involve tutee in finding out what they need and want to learn.
The tutee will know that you care about him/her.
Keep a regular schedule
  • Set up regular tutoring sessions.
  • Be consistent, dependable, and reliable. If you need to miss a session, let your tutee know and re-schedule the session.
  • Contact students when they miss sessions.
  • Set up rules for what will happen if the tutor or tutee does not show up and doesn't contact the other.
The tutee will develop trust and confidence in the tutor.
Find an appropriate tutoring location
  • Tutor in a public place such as a library or school or on the Internet.
  • Create a positive learning environment.
Do this for safety and security reasons.
Plan ahead and be flexible
  • Help tutees set and keep realistic goals and deadlines. Plan lessons around students' goals. Be flexible and know that things will not always go as planned. Make sure lessons match tutee's needs.
  • Be prepared with materials and resources.
  • Change activities if the tutee gets bored. Always have a backup plan.
  • Begin tutoring sessions with something you feel sure your tutee can do. Gradually teach more difficult concepts.
  • Attend training sessions when available.
  • Each lesson should include all four skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) as often as possible.
  • Be realistic. Allow your student to work at his/her own pace.
  • Occasionally let the student teach you something.
  • Know where to find the most common linguistic errors for specific languages.

You will be ready for anything.
You will not get discouraged when you don’t finish your whole lesson plan.
Your tutee will see that you are prepared and trust you more.

You can help tutees better if you know about their language background.
Maintain a professional manner
  • Show genuine interest in the tutee by listening to what he/she says. Be respectful and courteous. Accept tutees as they are. Be friendly, reliable, compassionate, enthusiastic, and honest in all activities. Support and help your tutee as much as possible.
  • Don't be afraid to make mistakes or to say "I don't know".
  • Ask others in higher positions if you need help.
  • Keep confidential matters private. (Do not gossip about tutees, their homes, or sessions.)
  • Avoid criticizing tutees, teachers, school programs, or administrators.
  • Communicate with tutee's teachers if applicable.
  • Let tutees know about online resources for continued study.

Continually improving lets your tutee know you are human.
Tutees will keep coming back if you show them the respect they deserve. Your enthusiasm will spread to your tutee and keep them interested.

Give feedback and assess your tutees
  • Feedback can be from tutor to student and vice versa.
  • Explain directions and objectives clearly.
  • Help tutees improve skills. Keep track of progress. Be patient; progress takes time.
  • Help tutees ask good questions. Ask open-ended questions rather than yes/no questions (ex. What is the main idea of that paragraph? Instead of "Did you read that paragraph?).
  • Give praise or congratulations on good work. Always end tutoring sessions with praise or some kind of reward.
  • Make sure evaluations state facts and don't make tutees feel judged or incompetent.
  • Build your tutee's self-confidence. Have faith in your tutee's ability to achieve. Let them know you expect them to do well. Help your tutees succeed.
  • Give indirect feedback (Ex. Instead of pointing out mistakes you can just repeat things correctly until the tutee self-corrects). Remember that smiling is a form of feedback.
  • Give direct feedback (Ex. Give praise freely when tutees deserve it. Point out specific areas in which they have improved).
  • Assessment is ongoing. Keep good records of sessions and contact with tutees, note their strengths, weaknesses, limitations, and progress.
  • Periodically submit reports on tutees to them and administrators where applicable. Obtain reports and make changes according to feedback from tutees and other tutors.
  • Have alternative ways of testing comprehension. (Ex. Spoken and written)

Letting tutees know how they are doing helps them know what they are doing right, know what they need to improve, and have motivation to keep working.

You can learn things from your tutees, and realize what helps them most.

If tutees know you expect them to do well, they will usually do better.

When tutees succeed they will feel good about themselves. 

Tutees need to learn something new each session to know they are making progress.