One-to-one tutoring is a powerful tool that can be used to help students achieve their goals. As with all learning, tutoring is a process implemented most effectively over an extended period of time. During the beginning phase, here’s what to expect from your first tutoring sessions:
Scheduling. One of the most appealing aspects of one-to-one tutoring is sheer convenience. It’s not always easy to coordinate after school programs or learning center time slots – with a private tutor, schedules can be set based on what is ideal for you and your family. Tutoring is best with consistent practice and review, so planning a convenient schedule that works for everyone is high on the priority list!
Building rapport. At Tutor Doctor, we work hard to ensure students and tutors are matched based on their personalities, learning styles, and other factors. Even still, tutors will need to spend time getting to know the student in person as lessons begin. Students tend to become more engaging (asking more questions, for instance) as they become more comfortable with the instructor. During the initial sessions, our tutors work to develop a learning plan that is compatible with the student’s personality and individual academic needs.
Identifying strengths. Tutors will need to get a general baseline of a student’s abilities, especially their strengths. Using a student’s strengths to their advantage can be a powerful tool, especially with younger students. For example – a younger student is a visual learner, highly artistic, and struggling with fractions. Visual examples (i.e. slices of a pizza) can help demonstrate these concepts in a way that makes sense to the student when arithmetic isn’t clear. During these first tutoring sessions, our tutors work to identify areas in which the student already excels so that these strengths can be used to further aid the learning process.
Discussing areas that need improvement. As it turns out, many students are able to identify the areas that they need help. However, it’s not always as simple as saying “math” or “geometry.” As tutors, it’s our job to identify potential gaps in a student’s learning. One of the main benefits of private tutoring is having the ability to go back and revisit topics and concepts that were unclear. A student may be struggling with geometry not because they don’t comprehend the proofs and theorems, but because they never fully understood the unit on angles and measurements from their previous algebra class the year prior. As we always say, learning is based on building blocks – and as tutors, we have the ability to go back and “fill the gaps” in a student’s academic foundations.
Goal setting. We want to have clearly defined goals set for our students. Tutors often use these initial sessions to help discuss and refine these goals. It’s not uncommon for students to have a goal in mind (“get better grades”), but tutors can help break down the steps needed to get there. We want our students to have goals that are measurable, tangible, and most importantly – reasonable. The first tutoring sessions are an ideal time to outline these goals with the student, and then start to develop a plan to achieve those goals. With an organized outline of their progress and incremental checkpoints to work towards, students are often amazed at what they are able to accomplish in a short time period!