Goals of Tutoring

Contributed by:
Sharp Tutor
Goals are general statements of desired long-range outcomes. The goals of tutoring indicate what tutors do. If you stay focused on these goals of tutoring, then you will be within your role as a tutor.
1. Six Goals of Tutoring
Goals are general statements of desired long range outcomes.
The goals of tutoring indicate what tutors do. If you stay focused
in on these goals of tutoring, then you will be within your role as
a tutor. The six goals are to:
1. Promote Independence Learning: a tutor helps students
in ways that make students better able to help themselves and
in ways that reduce their need for continual help.
2. Personalize Instruction: Help students improve their
learning strategies is the most direct route to promoting
independence and empowerment.
3. Facilitate Tutee Insights into Learning & Learning
Processes: Work with students in a way that they discover
answers, “Well, how would you start?”
4. Provide a Student Perspective on Learning and School
Success: Your rapport derives from the fact that, like your
tutees, you are a student. From the tutees’ perspective, this
makes one of us (students) not one of them (instructors,
supervisors, or corrections officer).
5. Respect Individual Differences: You are likely to be
working with students whose backgrounds are different than
yours. Maintain respect and remember that they may not show
the motivation as you think they should and still be having
real success at a meaningful task.
2. 6. Follow Your Job Description: See posted job descriptions.
Ask your supervisor for an explanation if necessary.
Above all, remember that there is an advantage to allowing a
tutee’s understanding to unfold. It is a great temptation to tell
someone what something means. Learning is much more
powerful and satisfying if it is a cognitive process. Your
greatest tool may be the quiet pause that allows the tutee to
think, and learn.
Options for Tutor Talk
Initiate: an initiation intends to cause a response.
 Old fashioned question: “is this homework difficult?”
 Prompt: “the first thing we should do is (pause)…?”
 Command: “Please tell me the process again.”
 Problem statement: “I don’t understand, When I was
watching you I got confused on the order.”(Student re-
states) “So in other words shat you are saying is…” (allow
the student to finish)
Reply: A reply is a response to an initiation.
 Thorough explanations help make the tutee more
dependent, not independent.
 Avoid explaining too much…If you launch into a long
reply…you are preventing the tutee from working out the
parts of the answer…you are training the tutee to be
3. Evaluate: An evaluation option judges information, processes,
relationship, or people.
 Positive evaluations are most effective when they are tied
to specific aspects of a student’s work and are used
sparingly for real accomplishments (directly related to
something specific that the student did).
 Negative evaluations should never be given.
 Break it down into smaller steps. Ask a question about
the first step, and then the second and so on until the
issue is identified enabling the student to produce their
 Focus on progress. Identify what was right and
reinforce that. Ask them how they got the incorrect
answer. Reword the question if they are wrong to
indicate it is not right yet, then, if they are still
struggling, take a break and go over the information
Explain: Explanations are statements that a tutor or tutee gives
though they weren’t directly requested.
 Within the context of tutoring, explanations provide an
opportunity for tutors and tutees to learn from each other,
to build ideas collaboratively, and to offer alternative
 Explanations serve at least eight functions I tutorials:
1. Background: Explanations can provide useful
background information.
2. Summarize: Explanations can summarize what’s
been said.
4. 3. Mirror: Explanations can act as a mirror, in
which a tutor can help a tutee understand
messages a tutor is sending.
4. Extend: Explanations can build on what has been
said, like a cooperative brainstorming session.
5. Missing Piece: sometimes an explanation
provides a valuable bit of new information that
helps the tutee fit disparate parts together into a
complete idea.
6. Comparisons: sometimes metaphors, similes,
analogies can help us better understand an idea.
7. Devil’s Advocate: Sometimes it’s useful to
present opposing points of view in tutoring.
8. Alternatives: Hearing other ideas, perspectives,
approaches, or experiences can introduce tutees
to other approaches to learning.
Active Listening: A marker is a one-to-two-word turn at talk
which signals active listening.
 Provide opportunities.
 Effective active listening:
a) Fits into the flow of the other’s talk without talking
over the other.
b) Occurs often enough to show interest and not so often
as to be a distraction.
c) Demonstrates sincerity.
 Trust your instincts.
Quiet: While it may seem that being quiet is doing nothing,
when you are quiet you are actually giving the tutee the
opportunity to do something. Quiet is instrumental in the
5. learning process. If it is not given to them, there is no chance to
the student to work out their own question.