One-to-one and small group tuition can be extremely effective areas of additional support for students. Dedicated time on learning core skills can help students gain confidence, and make progress in a number of areas. However, not all classroom strategies are effective when it comes to smaller sessions.
Protocol Education can provide its registered candidates with free access to the Tutor Toolkit, a series of training courses created by Best Practice Network to give tutors the skills to deliver truly impactful tuition sessions and is mandatory part of working as an NTP tutor. Find out more about the training here, and if you are not already registered with Protocol Education, you can register here.
Getting Started - The Five Tuition Strategies that Really Work
If you’re new to small group and individual tuition, it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to planning. To help you out, here are 5 strategies that are proven to work when it comes to helping students learn outside of the usual classroom setting.
1 - Think Carefully About Logistics
In a classroom of 30 students, the teacher will often stand at the whiteboard or sit at the front of the class for the majority of the lesson. In a small group or 1:1 setting, this teacher/student positioning is unlikely to be effective. For small group tuition to work, create a more collaborative setting by sitting together around a table. For 1:1 lessons, try a mixture of sitting opposite the student, and beside them, depending on the activities you’re doing. You could also break up the lesson, and help to improve focus and concentration, by moving around the room and working in different areas.
2 - Give Specific and Actionable Feedback
As a teacher, small group tuition gives you far more time with each student to provide specific feedback on their work. Take advantage of not having to feedback to 30 students at once, and start each session by providing clear feedback on their homework or the work they did in the previous lesson. Once each student understands how to improve their work, give them time to put this into practice. Before you start the rest of the lesson, be sure to check your student has understood what you told them and praise them on their progress to get the session off to a positive start.
2 - Use Visual Materials
Visual materials are a great classroom aid, but particularly in small group situations. When working as a group or 1:1 any image resources can be handled, passed around, and even annotated. This opens up a much wider range of lesson activities that can be used when planning, helping you to create engaging and effective lessons.
4 - Tailor Activities to the Student(s)
As you spend more time with the students you tutor in small groups or individually, you will naturally build up more of a rapport with them. Use these relationships to build activities around their specific hobbies or interests. Maybe they play football for the local team every weekend, or perhaps they’re learning to code in their free time. The more you can link the session activities to areas they’re naturally interested in, the more you’re likely to engage your students and see progress.
5 - Don’t Be Afraid of Silence
While silence in a classroom of 30 students can be a blessing, silence in a classroom of 1 student can feel very different. Remember, all learners need space and thinking time. If a silence occurs while they’re working on an activity, resist the urge to fill it by talking as you will only distract them. More importantly, however, don’t answer for them if you ask them a question and they don’t answer straight away. Not only do you need to give them the time to work out an answer for themselves, but they also need to know that you won’t answer for them if they just fall silent every time.