Tutoring Strategies

When planning your session, think about your overall tutoring strategy. A strategy may be thought of as a "game plan" for a tutoring session. Following are some common tutoring strategies. You will probably use all of them at some point, and you may even use more than one in any given session. You may also discover other methods that work for you. (If so, please share them with other tutors.)

QUESTIONING:  The purpose of questioning is to get students actively involved in their learning by eliciting responses from them instead of giving them information. When planning your session, you might consider key questions that you think are important.

Give your students sufficient time to consider your questions. If they say they don't understand, rephrase the question, but don't assume that silence means they don't understand: Students may want to take time to think about and formulate their answers; this should be encouraged.

THE SOCRATIC METHOD:  This form of instruction is sometimes called the inquiry method. It is based upon a student's current level of understanding of a subject. Questions start with what the student knows, and progress towards new ideas that the tutor guides the student toward with directed questioning.

DRILLS:  Drills are series of questions with a controlled response and only one right answer. This might be an effective strategy for a subject which requires a lot of memorization.

ALTERNATION:  You and your student could alternate roles: Let your student tutor you. This is especially useful for a class that features essay exams, where a student will need to explain things in a thorough, coherent manner.

APPLICATION:  Make sure the student you tutor can apply what they have learned. For example, if you have been going over math problems, let your student do a problem or two on their own.