Great Ideas For One-to-One Tutoring Sessions

Great Ideas For One-to-One Tutoring Sessions

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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.

Use icebreakers
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. 

Be supportive
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. 

Switch gears
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.

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An Interview with a Parent: “I find that the GT Scholars approach supports the parents and the child as well”

Our Impact Parent Spotlight What's new?

As part of the scholar spotlight series, we interviewed a parent of one of the scholars on the Bright Ambitions programme. Please listen to the audio clip above for the full interview. You can also find the transcript below. 

How did you find out about GT Scholars?
We found out about GT Scholars because we were looking for originally a tutoring programme for my daughter. We saw GT Scholars advertised, I asked around, no one had heard about it and on a day trip to Croydon, we saw some signs and some posters. It looked fabulous. I went to contact the Head of the programme, had a long discussion about it, just to discover their ethos and their mindset about tutoring and enhancing children’s capabilities, and I really liked the programme. We went for an interview, it was a nice interview and not only did they interview us, we interviewed them actually and we were quite pleased and that is how we started. And that was about 4 years ago we have come up to.

Why did you choose GT Scholars over any other programmes that you could have gone for?
I looked around quite widely and I decided to go with GT Scholars for a few main reasons.  Firstly I like the ethos. It has a holistic approach to developing a child, not just focused on the academic grades, just building confidence and resilience. And also, I was quite concerned about the mental challenges and the mental aspects of learning today. The way GT Scholars approach learning and developing is quite a nice approach and it’s an approach I really welcomed.

What difference have you seen in your daughter after she joined the programme?
The impact of the programme I’ve seen on my child is that prior to the programme, I think stress was beginning to manifest itself in just delivering grades, grades, grades, and obviously I as a parent was trying to tell my child that it’s just not about the grades even though the grades are really important, it’s about developing everything. Obviously, the children of today don’t really want to listen to just the parents only.

During the programme, basically, you just hear the same messages that each parent is trying to instil in their child coming from a variety of different voices. So you have the tutor saying the same thing, you have the mentor, you the enrichment, they say the same thing and actually slowly but surely, it started to sink in.

How it manifested itself or the impact it gave on my child was that I could see confidence building. Slowly but surely she was actually replaying the same messages that she was hearing from all of these various areas back to me. Her grades were improving, slowly but surely she was looking forward to her sessions, where I at the beginning definitely saw fear but now it was, it was sort of excitement. And she looked forward to the enrichment days because I always went with her, I hung around outside, I attended some enrichment days. And towards the end, she was hoping, actually, that I didn’t sit in with her. That was also a positive sign.

What has your experience been with the organisation as a whole?
So I feel as a parent I also get support from the GT Scholars programme. There’s the official feedback sessions you have at the end of the term, which you can, a member of the GT Scholars will phone you and have a discussion with you or you can write your feedback in. I think that’s really worthwhile and that just gives you the sort of official line to see whether your child is progressing.

In between that, you also have administrative help from the GT Scholars team, actually probably every fortnight I hear from a member of the GT Scholars team, who will ask you how the program is going, is there anything you need to do, what are you looking for, have your goals been achieved or have they been met, would you like to attend the next term, again what your goals, so I feel that it’s more of a family, again, a holistic approach to developing my child which I am really supportive of. I wouldn’t like to attend a tutoring programme where they just took my money and said right we’ve given you, we’ve taught your child academically, thank you very much, get on with it. I find that the GT Scholars approach supports the parents and the child as well.

What would you say to a parent thinking of signing up for a GT Scholars programme?
To a parent who is thinking of signing up to GT Scholars, I would say, please just do it. It’s really beneficial. The mentoring, tutoring, the support you get is second to none and you’re not going to get that anywhere else. I have researched extensively. It helps your child‘s development at any stage. Near exams, you can focus on the exams itself. Pre-exams you can just help develop your child. It’s beneficial, you have nothing to lose really by joining GT Scholars programme.

Do you have any final thoughts that you would like to include?
I’ve looked into tutoring, all of the aspects of tutoring, tutoring itself is really expensive, mentoring is expensive, enrichment days, are for me, extortionately expensive. GT Scholars is a much more cost-effective way of developing your child and that’s why I would thoroughly recommend the programme.

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. We run after-school and weekend programmes that help young people achieve their academic and career aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-18. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.