8 Terrific Teaching Tips for Peer Tutors

Ginger Abbot

Mar 6, 2020

Being a peer tutor is a rewarding role — in addition to helping your peers, you can also use the experience to improve their own communication skills and confidence. But what’s the best way to teach others, and how can you be sure they improve their performance?

Take a look at these tutoring tips and tricks for effective peer instruction.

1. Listen to Your Student

If you’re wondering how to be a good tutor, the key is to
listen to your students as carefully as possible. When you understand
where their problems lie, you can create effective lessons. Ask them as many
questions as necessary to determine how to approach each session. If you still
don’t quite get it, have them do a few practice problems and see where they
went wrong. The solution may be simpler than you initially thought.

2. Use a Variety of Tools

Remember that each person studies differently than the next. For instance, some students may be visual learners, picking up concepts best through graphics, diagrams, films and more. Others may prefer listening to lectures and are auditory learners. You’ll want to adapt your tutoring style accordingly and consider a variety of teaching tools. The better your students can retain the information, the more likely they’ll succeed.

3. Let Them Do the Work

It’s easy to jump in and solve problems for your students. If you do that, however, how will they learn? Have them work through each assignment, then review and show them how to find the right answer. Not only will this help your students in the long run, but it’ll also allow them to be more self-sufficient. This assurance will translate directly to the classroom, and before you know it, they’ll be able to tackle even the toughest exams.

Being a good peer tutor means letting your students do the work themselves — you’re here to help them understand.

4. Build Strong Relationships

Some tutors feel they’re above their students because they understand certain information better. Yet that’s not the case whatsoever. Everyone has unique strengths and weaknesses — yourself included. This fact doesn’t make any one person more intelligent than the next. Strive to build a personal connection with your students, such as by talking about life outside of school. 

5. Stick to What You Know

While you know a lot about your preferred subject, you aren’t an expert — and that’s completely fine. Take each session as a learning opportunity. In other words, how can you and your student navigate each situation together? When they ask you a question and you don’t have the answer, own up to it and do the research collectively. Even the most skilled professionals continue to grow every day. 

6. Acknowledge Their Feelings

Sometimes your students will get frustrated — be there for them.

Sometimes, you may notice that a student feels down. It’s never easy to learn a new subject, so be as empathetic and non-judgemental as possible. Maybe you learned the basics of chemistry in three days — but not every student understands every subject intrinsically. Show patience to ensure your students can learn in a relaxed and beneficial environment. Don’t rush them or think their frustration makes them less intelligent. 

7. Encourage Independence

When each session comes to a close, encourage your students to
try on their own. Assign homework or readings so that they can continue to
learn when you’re not there. Provide study and note-taking tips to help them
thrive in class. Remember, independence is essential. After all, it’s your job
to make sure they can tackle this subject without any assistance. 

Tutoring well means providing strategies and encouraging your students to stand on their own.

8. Show Your Passion

When your tutor others, there’s no better time to show your
genuine passion for a topic. Students prefer to learn from instructors that
love what they teach. These emotions will motivate your
 and allow them to find a sense of appreciation. Maybe they
can’t stand calculus, but you find it to be an enjoyable challenge. Let that
shine through, and your students will open themselves up to new opportunities.

Learn How to Peer Tutor With Confidence

Tutor confidently!

Wondering how to be the best peer tutor? Take these tips into consideration. In this role, you’re able to provide helpful resources and experiences to your students and inspire them to learn. Before you know it, your learners will be ready to take on the world — or the next exam.

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