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Resources for Tutors

Links, handouts, and other resources are available for students, tutors, and faculty and staff.

  1. Have a genuine interest in helping fellow students.

  2. Know your schedule daily, be at work when scheduled, be prompt, and be prepared.

  3. Know and follow ASC policies and procedures related to your work, and communicate to your tutees any policies and procedures that relate to your work with them.

  4. Understand the ASC’s general philosophy of helping tutees develop toward independence, and do your best to work toward this goal.

  5. Take advantage of the formal and informal training opportunities suggested and available to become a better tutor.

  6. Seek out and try new tutoring methods and strategies as they might be helpful.

  7. Ask for help when you need it or want it.

  8. Take responsibility and initiative for avoiding or resolving conflict if any of these expectations become hard for you to meet.

As a tutor, your role is never to give tutees answers but to help your tutees learn to find answers for themselves. Tutors, of course, do answer some questions directly, but in doing so, they model the appropriate thinking and language behavior for the particular subject.

Students who come for tutoring are struggling with a problem that they cannot solve. Sometimes the problem is vague ("I read this chapter, but I don't know what it means") or sometimes very specific ("I have worked all of the problems at the end of this chapter, and I can get the answer in the back of the book except for this one factoring problem").

Your responsibility is to help the tutee learn how to learn on his/her own. You are not responsible for just providing an answer; rather you should provide the process that the student can learn to find his/her own answers. Tutors as " model students" should be helping tutees become "master students." Tutors also help provide an open environment in which learning can take place. Tutors determine the level at which a student is struggling. Does this student understand the basic concepts? Does this student understand the vocabulary of the subject? Tutors recognize the fact that they have to work on the student's level of understanding hoping to help the student reach the tutor's level of understanding. If the student needs to understand basic concepts before going further, the tutor will spend time on the basics.

Tutors must understand that learning is a process of comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Part of the reason that peer tutoring has been so successful is that students can often relate better to each other than to their instructors.

Successful peer tutors possess the following qualities:

  1. They welcome students and are friendly to all.
  2. They prepare for sessions and show up on time.
  3. They encourage their tutees to develop good examples and/or discover examples provided by the text.
  4. They show patience and provide appropriate "thinking" time for their tutees.
  5. They encourage their tutees.
  6. They routinely check their tutee's learning by having them summarize information at the end of a session.
  7. They are sensitive to any cultural differences among their tutees.
  8. They relate successful study strategies to their tutees, even during content-based tutoring.
  9. They use questioning rather than an answering strategy.
  10. They pay attention to the uniqueness of each tutee, and they are aware of any self-esteem issues for students who are struggling.

The Do's and Don'ts of Peer Tutoring is a six minute video that offers some common scenarios of effective (and not so effective) tutoring.

  1. Start wherever the student is. Set objectives, then work toward them.

  2. Do not do the actual work for the student! Help him think for himself and to do his own work. He may reveal misunderstandings or weaknesses while working, which indicate need for further work.

  3. Be sure that the student understands the underlying ideas or principles of the subject being tutored. Memorization or exercises done without understanding is often the source of academic difficulties.

  4. If one method or approach isn’t working, try others. Be creative and innovative.

  5. A tutor isn’t a teacher; your job is to help students.

  6. Make use of the student’s interests whenever possible.

  7. Center your attention and efforts on the student and avoid talking about yourself too much.

  8. Drop the authoritative teacher role. Be an interested human being.

  9. Ask questions that can’t be answered with “yes” or “no”.

  10. Don’t interrupt when the student is talking. This communicates that what he has to say is not important. However, if he digresses from the subject, focus him back onto the subject.

  11. Give him silence to think. Don’t jump in with the answer to your own question before he has had a chance to think about the answer.

  12. Be alert to non-verbal as well as verbal clues that you aren’t “getting thru” to the student.

  13. Be aware that the student you are tutoring probably doesn’t share the liking you have for your subject. This may affect his work in the subject.

  14. Always come to the sessions prepared. Think about the content that is being covered in the subject you are tutoring. What might students find difficult? What examples will clear up the difficulties?

  15. Don’t forget the benefits of positive reinforcement.

  16. Ask questions or give directions that allow the student to do the task with minimal assistance.

  17. Small steps taken one at a time are more effective than a giant intellectual leap. (See page 2- “Analysis of Tutoring Techniques”)

  18. Review what has been accomplished at the end of the session to impress upon the student important ideas and facts.

Tutors should ask questions that require a variety of levels of thinking. Among other things, this may be a good way to work with a group of students whose ability levels differ. Being aware of different levels of thinking is also important for tutors because students are often required to think at a variety of levels in class--on an exam, for instance. Being unaware of this requirement, students may study at only the memory level and, therefore, fail to prepare themselves for the higher-level thinking required in an exam.

Tutors can facilitate this higher-level thinking in students by asking questions that require such skills. The following is a description of the seven levels of thinking discussed by B.S. Bloom in Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. This summary comes from Chapter One of Norris M. Sanders’ Classroom Questions: What Kinds?.

  1. Memory: The student recalls or recognizes information

  2. Translation: The student changes information into a different symbolic form or language.

  3. Interpretations: The student discovers relationships among facts, generalizations, definitions, values and skills.

  4. Application: The student solves a lifelike problem that requires the identification of the issue and the selection and use of appropriate generalizations and skills.

  5. Analysis: The student solves a problem in the light of conscious knowledge of the parts and forms of thinking.

  6. Synthesis: The student solves the problem that requires original, creative thinking.

  7. Evaluation: The student makes a judgment of good or bad, right or wrong, according to standards he designates.

Students can be led to think in each category through the use of such questions as these:

Memory: What is meant by “gerrymandering?” (The student is asked to recall the definition presented to him earlier.)

Translation: The Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences defines “gerrymander” in this way:

Gerrymander is a term used to describe the abuse of power whereby the political party dominant at the time in a legislature arranges constituencies unequally so that its voting strength may count for as much as possible at elections and that of the other party or parties for as little as possible.

Restate this definition in your own words.

Interpretation: Each county in the diagram of the mythical state has about the same population and is dominated by the designated political party “A” or “B”. The state must be divided into five voting districts of about equal population. Each district must contain three counties.


What is the greatest number of districts that Party A could control is it is in charge of the redistricting and chooses to gerrymander? What is the greatest number of districts that Party B could control if it is in charge of the redistricting and chooses to gerrymander? (The students have previously been given a definition of gerrymandering.)

Application: The mayor recently appointed a committee to study the fairness of the boundaries of the election districts in our community. Gather information about the present districts and the population in each. Determine whether the present city election districts are adequate. (The student is expected to apply principles of democracy studied in class to this new problem.)

Analysis: Analyze the reasoning in this quotation: “Human beings lack the ability to be fair when their own interests are involved. Party X controls the legislature and now it has taken upon itself the responsibility of redrawing the boundaries of the legislative election districts. We know in advance that our party will suffer.

Synthesis: (This question must follow the application question given above.) If current election districts in our community are inadequate, suggest how they might be redrawn.

Evaluation: Would you favor having your political party engage in gerrymandering if it had the opportunity?

Earlier it was suggested that memory questions excessively dominate education. This allegation can now be defined with greater precision. As a result of overusing the memory category, many teachers tend to offer students too few questions requiring translation, interpretation, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.

Web Links for Spanish Students and Tutors

Please contact your supervisor if you find bad links.

Reference Sites
Verb Conjugation Training/Practice Sites
Verb Conjugation Charts and Verb Phrases
General Grammar Practice
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