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Tips for Tutors

Successful tutoring, like teaching, is not an exact science; it is based on thorough planning and good communication between student and tutor. With continued effort by both, little daily frustrations are usually outweighed by noticeable growth in the student’s mathematical competencies.

The following tips are from Guidelines for the Tutor of Mathematics, 2nd Edition.

Summary Checklist

Planning and Conducting the Early Sessions

  1. Arrange a conference with the student’s instructor to determine objectives for the student to master.
  2. Find a quiet place where you will have room to work and will be comfortable talking to the student.
  3. Learn why the student sought a tutor.
  4. Get acquainted with the student’s interests.
  5. Diagnose the student’s difficulties.
  6. Develop a positive atmosphere with the student.

Planning for the Session

  1. Determine objectives for the session that are based on the student’s progress and the instructor’s guidelines. Refer to your tutoring log.
  2. Review the objectives you plan to teach.
  3. Consult the instructor to locate resource materials and supplemental exercises.
  4. Construct a review activity to check on objectives that have been previously taught.
  5. Construct an instructional lesson for the objective(s) on the basis of suggestions from the resource material and the instructor.
  6. Construct an appropriate, well-selected set of exercises for the student to complete prior to the next tutoring session.
  7. Arrange for a tutoring location—one without distractions.

Conducting the Session

  1. Be prompt.
  2. Develop a positive atmosphere.
  3. Sit beside the student.
  4. Start with a review of the objectives previously taught.
  5. Discuss the objective(s) for the session with the student.
  6. Briefly explain the new process to be introduced.
  7. Involve the student as soon as possible.
  8. When checking work, let the student make the corrections with your guidance. Avoid picking up the pencil unnecessarily.
  9. Listen carefully to the student’s explanations and responses.
  10. Keep your student informed about his or her progress during the session.
  11. Assign an appropriate set of exercises for the student to complete prior to the next tutoring session.
  12. End the tutoring session on a positive note—a successful experience.

Following Up on the Session

  1. Reflect on the tutoring session by asking yourself questions about the student’s progress and your reactions to the student.
  2. Enter information on your student’s progress and learning difficulties in your tutoring log.
  3. Report progress and evaluation to the student’s instructor.

From Guidelines for the Tutor of Mathematics, 2nd Edition. Copyright© 1977, 2001 The National Council of Teacher of Mathematics, Inc. www.nctm.org. All rights reserved. This material may not be distributed electronically without written permission from NCTM.

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