What makes an effective tutoring session?
If you hire a tutor, it means you want to get something out of him or her. You want your grade to improve, you want to pass certain test, or probably you just want to make sure you don’t fail a class. However, many times students can’t get what they want even with tutoring. Why is that? Is the tutor a fraud or there’s something wrong with you?
Before jumping to conclusion and blame either your tutor or yourself, take a reflection on your previous tutoring session. Did you enjoy the session and the company? Did you prepare yourself to receive tutoring or just simply let the flow go? Did you actually learn something from a session and were you disciplined enough to review it again later?
To avoid getting unsatisfying result from tutoring, you must ensure that the whole session is actually productive and effective. You only receive tutoring once or twice a week, for around two hours each. Those are short time, and if you want to get the best out of them, you need to consider doing these list to improve the quality of your tutoring session.
1. Think of a goal
A lot of students hire a tutor because they think they need one, but never really think specifically why. In fact, there are a lot of whys that can cause them to need one. For example, the teacher or lecturer in the class cannot explain the lesson in a way that the students can understand easily. Another example, due to illness or accident or some other unfortunate circumstance, you are currently left behind your friends in term of academic progress. Understanding why you need to hire a tutor and the goal you want to accomplish will help you to commit on the tutoring session itself. You will remember that the stakes are high if you don’t take the tutoring seriously.
2. Let your tutor knows your academic history
To make your tutor understand you better, you should be open about yourself, in term of academic history, especially at the first encounter. Bring your transcript, lecture notes, and graded assignment. Your tutor can notice what you need in academic learning and will tailor the tutoring strategy to meet them. For example, your tutor may notice that tend to perform weakly on essay question even if you actually perform stellar in multiple choice. Then, he or she will focus on improving your writing and elaborating skill. Without these information provided, they may end up creating generic tutoring plan that you don’t actually need.
3. Meet on a place you’re most comfortable at
The quality of your study place actually affect your concentration. That’s why you do your homework in your room at home, or in the library, instead of on a theme park or shopping mall. Pick a place that you are most comfortable at. Some of you may feel more comfortable at your own house, where you don’t have to worry about other people around you. Some other people prefer to work in coffee shop or library, because they find the white noise from those location help them concentrate better than the quietness of their house.
4. Don’t be afraid to lead the session
Tutor is there to help you, so don’t be afraid to lead the session on your pace. If the tutor is explaining things too fast, don’t be afraid to ask him or her to slow down, and vice versa. If there is something you don’t understand, clarify it until you thoroughly satisfied. If you think the tutor focus too much on something you actually already understand, you can communicate it as well so the tutoring session can really focus on addressing your weakness instead of reviewing over and over again concept that you already understand and problem you already know how to focus.
5. Don’t ask the tutor to do your homework
If you are under the impression that tutor is there to do your homework, then you are wrong. The goal of every tutor is to help you overcome your learning difficulty so you can solve the problem in your textbook on your own. Sure, in the very short time, you can feel like you’re improving because your homework gets finished on time, and with correct answer as well. In the long run, however, it won’t help you with anything. You can finish your tutoring period but still don’t have a clue about how to solve that problem on your own.
6. Don’t be late
You may think that because you are the only one learning here, you can afford to be a bit late. That’s not true. First, even if you have extra time, your tutor usually doesn’t. Being a tutor is not easy, and many of them have back-to-back tight schedule, so they can’t give you extra time as compensation for you getting late. If this happen, who got the most disadvantage? It’s you, because you pay the same rate for shorter study time. Moreover, tutoring sessions are usually only once or twice a week. If you can’t use this week session effectively, you still have to wait for one more week to catch up, and during that time your lesson in class may have advanced even further.
7. Keep studying on your own
Some of you may think that you don’t need to study on your own anymore, the tutor has covered them all. But again, tutoring has limited session, and no matter how effective it is, it’s not enough to boost your grade all of a sudden without effort on your own. In fact, use tutoring as one of the study tools. Use it to improve your understanding of a concept or to fix your weakness on one of the aspect of the study, but ultimately, you have to retain all of those that you have learned in tutoring by reviewing the materials on your own. What makes many tutoring program fail is because students rely too much on the tutor and forget the tutoring, ultimately, is about themselves.