Tutor Advice to get you Through Easter - Mar '17

By Harry Cobb MTA

As we run up to the busiest time of the year, we thought some tuition revision tips might prove useful:

Plan - Having clear aims and objectives allows the tutorial to be well structured and thus more productive.
- Use students’ interests to inform planning, where possible.
- With GCSE and A level students, try sending over a couple of exam questions for them to have a go at and send back to you before you arrive – this shows prior planning and means you can hit the ground running having seen some work from them before the first session.

Communication - Tell the tutee what you aim to achieve in the tutorial. This acts as a motivational tool for the tutee so they know what they can expect. It will make the tutorial go quicker and gives the tutee clear expectations.
- Communicate with the parents. Let them know well in advance if you are going on holiday and communicate with any relevant third party.

Timed exercises – Put a clock or watch on the table in front of you as a motivational tool to encourage the tutee to work towards goals and complete tasks quickly.

Positive praise - Build your students’ confidence as much as possible. Comment on their success and encourage them to learn from their mistakes, rather than dwell on them.
- Encouraging students to show their work to a parent or devising your own reward system (including stickers for the younger ones) can be an effective way of developing a sense of pride in their own achievements.

Support – If you are having difficulty planning or finding resources, among the professional network of The Tutors’ Association there are a wealth of talented and experienced tutors who will.

Exam preparation – GCSE and A level students are looking for ideas on how to achieve and improve on their target grades.
- Research the exam boards and prepare activities which are relevant to what the examiners will be looking for when marking: use the mark scheme and print off past papers.
- They won’t just need content revision, they will need help brushing up their exam technique.

Pitch - Judge your tutee’s level if you are having the first session with them and work towards an obtainable target. If they are a D grade student, don't push for A* answers. They may well have the capacity to improve their grades but don’t over-push them.
As mentioned in Plan, ask if you can send through a short worksheet or exam question prior to the first session.

Relationship - Form an understanding where the tutee respects you and wants to learn from you. Pupils often do better in subjects from teachers that they respect. The relationship will come when there is evidence of planning, taking an interest in the pupil's wider interests and coming up with engaging ideas.

Assessment for Learning - This is a vital element of planning. Ask them their thoughts before you tell them how it is. Check understanding after every activity by employing a quick game or carefully thought-out questioning.

Don't feel you have to dump all your degree-level knowledge on them. You should only really be speaking for a max 20 minutes per hour. Let them do the work!

House Keeping

Communicating with new clients - Please double check your diary and with new clients, it is good practice to call them within 24 hours.

CV – Please keep your CV updated with all the tuition you have done before. Include case studies and note all subjects at all levels you are able to teach.

No answering of mobile phones in a lesson!

Reports – Fill out any lesson reports before the end of the month and add the first session with a new student as soon as possible after the first session.

Punctuality – Ensure you arrive early to all tutorials. As you know turning up late leaves a very bad impression and gets you off on the wrong foot. Please don't build your timetable where you have to rush off to your next lesson.

Harry Cobb is a tutor and Tuition Director at Bonas MacFarlane.

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