“The most profound education that students can receive in tutoring
is not about a specific subject but about understanding how to
learn, and about their personal role in that process.”
- Annette Gourgey
“Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to
fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime” - Chinese proverb
This often quoted proverb can be appropriately applied to tutoring.
Keeping in mind that an important goal of tutoring is to work
towards your tutee becoming an independent learner, it’s most
important that s/he acquire the skills to do so.
Since tutors are all successful students, it is assumed you have
good study skills. Do you? Complete this simple
Study Skills Checklist to determine the quality of your study
skills. You probably already know your strengths and weaknesses;
however, this test will remind you of possible areas that could be
While tutors are successful students, it does not necessarily follow
that you have utilized traditional study techniques. Certainly some
of the methods you employ as a student are useful, and you should
share these with your tutees. But, you should also be familiar with
study skills commonly taught at colleges around the country.
As a tutor, it is your responsibility to communicate the principles
of effective learning to your students. A majority of the students
who seek tutoring do not have strong study skills. The tutoring
environment allows you a golden opportunity to model effective study
techniques. Tutors should show students how to apply learning
strategies to their assignments. If these students took a course on
study skills, it would probably cover a broad spectrum of subjects
including goal setting, time management, memory techniques, test
taking, listening, and note taking skills, how to read a textbook,
and learning styles.
Encouraging students to develop good study skills requires you to
assess the areas where students need help. Usually, students will
not be able to accurately identify the areas where they need help.
For instance, students who are always late for a tutoring
appointment might need some
time management techniques. You might want to help them design a
weekly study schedule that takes into consideration their jobs,
their classes, and the many aspects of their personal lives.
Some students have never learned how to take notes in class. You
might ask the students you tutor if you can look at their notes. If
you see that they do not know how to take notes, you can recommend
that they look over the different
note taking systems. Or, you can ask them to tell you how they
prepare to take notes for a lecture class. If they are lacking
positive note taking skills, you might share with them some ideas on
how to take
Many students do not realize that there are techniques for taking a
test, and ways of
Reducing Test Taking Anxiety. You can review good test taking
strategies by going over the
Test Taking Checklist with your tutees. As a tutor, it is always
helpful to go over returned tests with your students. You can share
with the students the benefits of looking at a
returned test .
As a tutor, you are a resource for your students. Tutors can
also teach students how to use
memorization techniques. Improved reading skills and improved
memorization skills can be a big step toward being a successful
Tutors are in a very unique and special position to help students.
Teachers usually don’t have the opportunity to diagnose the study
habits of all their students. But in the one-on-one and small-group
situation a tutor can conduct an informal diagnosis of a student’s
needs. By looking at their papers and notes and textbooks, and by
asking a few questions, a tutor can determine what study skill areas
Look at these wonderful sites for valuable information on how to
improve your study skills.
Skills Help Page: Strategies for Success
100 Self-Help & Study Skills for Students with ADD