8 Helpful Tutoring Tips for Peer Tutors

Ginger Abbot

Mar 6, 2020
helpful peer tutoring tips

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Being a peer tutor is a rewarding role — in addition to helping your peers, you can also use the experience to improve your 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 best tutoring tip 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 in college

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. You might even make new friends through peer tutoring.

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

best peer tutoring tips

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. 

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 students 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.

Peer Tutor Confidently With These Tutoring Tips

confident tutoring tips for peer tutors

Wondering how to be the best peer tutor? Take these tutoring 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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