How to Tutor: What makes effective tutoring?

Our approach for Tutoring Toronto:

Emotional and Mental state of the student matters. When we are overly stressed, we do things improperly. When too relaxed, we don’t want to do things in general. It is all about the balance in between. As part of the assessment in Tutoring Toronto, we make sure to bring students to the optimal state necessary for success in both academia and life.

Whether you believe you can or you can’t, you are right”. It is very hard to succeed with a negative mentality, whether it be math, sciences or languages. Convincing yourself that you can do it sets you up with the right mindset to ace that math homework/assignment/test/exam. The question however is the following:

How do you make yourself believe that you can ace that assignment?

The answer is (drum roll, please) – by willing to fail – by being ok with getting that answer wrong so that you can get it right the next time.

Let me demonstrate a case study for you. I met a student who was really struggling with that annoying & overwhelming math question. Upon reading the question, I noticed the way he was lost or didn’t have the desire to proceed. In 40 seconds, I hear him say “I don’t know what to do”. When I asked him why he did not write anything on his notebook, he said “I don’t even know where to start from”.

The key to gaining confidence is being okay with not knowing where to start BUT TO START REGARDLESS.  When I asked the student just to put something on that paper, I realized that he had the knowledge and with a little bit of guidance he was able to get the hang of a very difficult math question.

At Tutoring Toronto, it is our duty to tell our students to take educated guesses about challenging questions even if they have no idea how to tackle the question. Our brains work on building solutions by executing action on small bits and pieces that are readily available.

1. Do one thing at a time

Doing one thing at a time applies to every area in life. You have probably heard your child say “I have so many things to do – the math test is on Tuesday, the bio project is coming up ….”. This is exactly when your child needs the most support. At Tutoring Toronto, our expert Math, Science and English tutors take charge of the situation and persuade their students to do ONE TASK AT A TIME. Chunking down a big task into small bits makes everything easily attainable. Our tutors possess very good organization skills and are always ready to teach your child how to manage multitasking in a way that reduces stress and increases performance.

2. Use your strengths to overcome your weaknesses

Tutoring Toronto delivers exceptional knowledge to students when it comes to improving weaknesses. By making pupils compare and contrast different types of questions, we guarantee success in the long run. Let’s see how this works:

A student can do Q1 but lacks the ability to identify Q2 as being similar to Q1. In other words, the student is unable to (or maybe lazy) make the right connections among concepts and questions when either words or variables are switched around. Our expert tutors are very familiar with this type of scenarios and possess the right tactics to show your child how to solve slightly different problems by duplicating the same strategy they used in solving other problems. Students tend to believe that every new question they face is substantially different from the ones they have completed before. This is a misconception and can easily be overcome by …

3. Importance of methods

There is no one correct method when it comes to solving Math, Chemistry or Physics problems. School teachers may or may not show their students the flexibility of using any method they would like. When students realize that they can use several methods to solve the same question and still arrive at the same answer, they feel very smart.

Our Highly Motivated tutors take the time to explain the challenging problems by using various methods and telling students the possibility of using any method they desire.

4. Motivation.

Why students should do schoolwork when they can spend their time playing video-games?

At TutorOne, we break down this concept into what motivates students internally and what they tend to do during their after-school time. We ask our students what they love doing and what they would spend more time on if they did not have any school responsibilities. We then assure them that if they do good in school, they would waste less time stressing and more time on doing things they enjoy the most. This method is very powerful because now students are internally motivated to finish schoolwork, because deep inside they know that it will lead to making them happy and the parents proud.

On top of this, Our tutors also emphasize on why it matters. Some science problems appear to be irrelevant to real life problems. By telling the student the big picture of why things are done, we help anchor a sense of pride/accomplishment in their minds. (work on this part)

4 effective ‘How to tutor’ private tutoring tips

As a private tutor in Toronto, It is your job to keep the following 4 effective ‘How to tutor’ private tutoring tips, and be sure to act them out during any private, in-home or online tutoring session. Here we go!

1. Patience

It is probably the most fundamental property of effective tutoring. If you lack the ability to carefully listen to your students’ needs and worries, how could there be a progress?

You may be a very solution-oriented person/tutor, but you have to make sure that you let your students talk (their teachers do not do this). You should make your students feel significant. Take your time to use analogies. Analogies are the most powerful learning tool.

In one of Alan Watt’s lectures, I was listening to him explain Electricity by using flowing water as electrons (current), and any obstacles along the way as resistance. Do this when you explain the any new concept to your students.

2. Confidence

From a personal experience, students feel very comfortable when they know that the tutor has the expertise, tools & techniques to help with a particular problem. Once, I had a student who was working on grade 12 trigonometric identities and my own lack of confidence made it seem like I don’t know the material. I became very nervous and this caused more discomfort as the session went by. Consequently, I never received a call from that student anymore.

Confidence does not come easy. Here are several ways you can boost your confidence:

1)    Before seeing your student, ask them EXACTLY what they need help with. There is nothing wrong with this. I typically ask students or their parents to send me a picture of any worksheet, assignment, homework they have.

2)    You don’t have the obligation to teach the student as soon as you see them. Make them feel responsible by asking them questions like “Can you show me your notes?”, “Can you tell me where exactly you are stuck”?

You will quickly realize that your students will start pinpointing the problem. Seeing their notes also helps with knowing how their teacher taught them in class and what additions you can make as a tutor.

3)    Take it easy and make students feel like it is no big deal and they will learn everything by the end of the session. If the tutor is stressed out to begin with, it will make students feel like things have really gone out of hand.

 3. Resourcefulness

Students don’t learn the material by just dry talking. In fact, that is what their teachers do in school – lots of boring talks, lack of technology and inability to mention the real life applications of something.

Imagine you are teaching a grade 10 student how to draw mirror diagrams. You can certainly take a piece of paper and explain everything in great detail. However, using animations to further foster student’s learning is a different story.

Simbucket.com, desmos.com, wolfram math to solve equations

Don’t let students think that math  is not applicable to life

A good tutor would convince students that trigonometry, for example, does have great real life implications as exemplified by the work of ancient Greek scholars, such as Erathastonese, who used a stick and his knowledge of trigonometry to measure the diameter of the Earth.

4. Teach them as you would teach a friend and cheer them up…

Students typically feel safer when they try to foster what they already know, as opposed to learning something completely new. Hence, a good tutor would first guide their student through a particular problem, identify where a student needs help (tell the student to complete the square)

Imagine instructing your grade 10 student to complete the square:

-1/4x2 – 4x + 15

1)    Factor our -1/4 from the first two terms and leave the third untouched

-1/4 (x2 – 4x) + 15

Right away, you notice that the student has failed to properly factor the second term, AND the negative sign was put there incorrectly. AHA! You now have a clue as to where to fill in the gaps. From here, the tutor would assign simple factorization problems with an emphasis on signs.

Most students, especially lower grades, are not excited about learning something new. An effective tutor makes everything look significant, gives some career advice, listens to students’ other problems and offers them emotional support.

Want to work as our tutor-partner at TutorOne? Contact us via submitting a form on the main page.

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