Learn how to connect with students in tutoring sessions from long-term educator John Wilton Kelley.
TORONTO, ONTARIO – Tutoring provides a unique opportunity to focus deeply on a specific subject matter with a student and assist them with educational breakthroughs. Successful tutors like former educator and member of the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT), John Wilton Kelley can also help a student develop the framework for future success by providing them with the tools necessary for learning how to learn.
Five Paths to Tutoring Success
A tutor always needs to practice understanding and compassion with a student, particularly when starting out. For many, seeking additional assistance comes at the end of a period of struggling, and it can often be an extended time period. Students may be vulnerable or jaded in this phase and require a bit more leeway and explanations about the “why” of their efforts to succeed.
Instill Problem-Solving Skills
While tutoring is about the end goal of establishing proficiency in a given subject, professionals like John Wilton Kelley realize students need to be provided with the problem-solving skills necessary to work through future problems independently. For example, a student who struggles with math may benefit from help with specific problems and also learning techniques like working backward from a solution to verify accuracy and other tricks to help solidify key concepts. Show them how to locate information instead of always telling them what the information is.
With tutoring, the more focused time spent with a student is a real asset for reaching them and fostering educational breakthroughs. It can be a more informal setting, but it’s important to retain standard boundaries with the student by avoiding too much chit-chat about private lives or being too accessible outside a session. If it’s OK for a student to text or email while completing homework, clear this with their guardian and make sure it’s understood help is limited to specific situations.
Relate Personal Challenges
Professional boundaries are necessary for any tutoring contract, John Wilton Kelley, advises, but that doesn’t mean removing all personal anecdotes. Sometimes sharing personal struggle points or relating how a problem or analysis can be confusing helps a student feel more confident. It lets the pupil know they are not alone in needing a helping hand to move forward and reinforces that it is OK to ask for assistance.
Embrace Additional Resources
Tutors have a unique opportunity to bring in additional resources to reach a student that may not work in a classroom setting. From unique “hacks” for solving problems and checking work to introducing YouTube videos and “old-fashioned” tips, there are many opportunities to connect and help solidify concepts without repeating information. For some students, hearing the same information presented differently is all it takes for a previously tricky area to click, so do a little research and be OK sharing different techniques — as long as they are permitted in the classroom — when tutoring.