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Tutoring should be a fulfilling experience for your scholar and for yourself. It should not be something that will be dreaded by your scholar and it should be something that is different from how your scholar learns at school.
With that being said, there can sometimes be a tug-of-war between trying to keep the tutoring sessions serious to complete the task at hand and making the sessions enjoyable. Creating a balance between the two is key, and once you are able to achieve that, you will find yourself looking forward to the tutoring sessions with your scholar and they will run more smoothly and effectively.
One thing to keep in mind is to maintain your structure in terms of the content you intend to teach and the goals you have for those sessions, but be flexible in how you deliver the content and also how you interact with your scholar. Here are a few ideas you can use to keep your tutoring sessions energetic and effective.
Your first one-to-one tutoring session can be nerve-wracking for both you and your scholar. One of the ways to combat this feeling is to create or implement session icebreakers. This is a good way to get both of you comfortable and a good way to get to know a bit more about each other beyond the formalities of tutor and scholar. These icebreakers can simply be a 5-minute discussion about general topics outside of the planned content. These discussions can also help you to find the best ways to make the sessions most effective for your scholar.
Personalise your sessions
It is one thing to tutor someone, and another to tutor them effectively and produce the best results. It is important to find out more about your scholar and what they are looking to get out of your sessions and also what they want to personally achieve at school and beyond. Once you can establish a general outline for the first few sessions, you can personalise the sessions in a way which works well for both you and your scholar.
Providing your scholar with support during each of your one-to-one sessions can greatly improve the way in which you interact with one another and it helps to boost their confidence. You need to be encouraging and to show them that the tutoring sessions are a safe space for them to be open about the areas or topics they struggle in. This will allow them to feel more comfortable and confident in how they approach the content you are tutoring, as well as establishing a respectful and comfortable relationship with you as their tutor.
Encourage independent thinking
Tutoring is also important for encouraging your scholar to think independently. The idea behind this is to foster a growth mindset within your scholar so that they are able to tackle tasks independently and build their self-confidence. One way to do this is to help them to stand on their own feet and to think beyond the assistance you provide. During your tutoring sessions, you can create a short quiz or other mentally stimulating techniques that will help your scholar to build confidence in the subject and to not be dependent on your teachings alone. This will shift their perspective on how they approach topics, and it will promote their ability to think critically.
Engage your scholar
Another way to make your one-to-one tutoring sessions more productive and fun for both you and your scholar is to keep them engaged. During the session, you can get your scholar to actively participate by asking questions as the session progresses. If you only wait to ask questions at the end, you might lose their attention during the session. Keeping them engaged also creates room for them to ask any questions they may have regarding a particular topic and it allows them to better understand the topics being presented.
Rather than sticking to the conventional methods of tutoring, you should use different methods to relay the information to your scholar. There are tons of learning tools available for you to use such as online videos, presentations, and other content. Introducing different learning tools makes the sessions less monotonous and more engaging, and it creates different ways for your scholar to learn and retain information. You can also get your scholar to participate by getting them to create short presentations to go over the content and pose any questions they may have for you at the end of their presentation. Furthermore, you can also incorporate the use of funny gifs or memes to get a particular point across. Just as long as it does not take away from the effectiveness of your tuition and their ability to learn, you should always explore new ways to teach your scholar.
Get their feedback
It takes two to tango, and feedback should not only be for you to give but also for you to receive from your scholar. Allow them to express and share their thoughts through feedback sessions, and be open to any constructive criticism. This feedback can then be used to learn how best to work with and for each other through your sessions.
For many scholars, learning can seem like such a task. However, your tutoring sessions should shed a different light on learning and stimulate their desire to learn. So don’t be afraid to try something new in your sessions and give you and your scholar something to always look forward to.
GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. Our after-school tutoring, mentoring and enrichment programme is designed to help young people aged 11-18 achieve their academic and career aspirations. Visit our website if you’d like to know more about the GT Scholars Programme and how you can make a significant difference in young people’s lives.