Checklist of Tutoring Skills
- I show that I am interested in what the student is saying.
- I give my full attention to what the student is saying.
- I avoid interrupting, even for the purposes of clarification, until the student has finished speaking.
- I allow a period of calm silence after a student has apparently finished talking.
- I briefly paraphrase the student’s ideas in my own words.
- I encourage a student to answer their own questions, or at least to try to answer them.
- I ask questions in a manner that stimulates thinking and reveals a student’s strengths and weaknesses.
- I give short explanations with appropriate examples.
- In addition to giving my own examples, I ask students to provide examples after they have understood my explanation.
- Although I sometimes share my own experiences with the student, I am cautious about insisting on approaches based on my own experience.
- I try to find ways to measure the student’s grasp of a concept or skill rather than assuming the student’s level of understanding from their paper.
- I observe the student’s learning habits and structure my approach to the student’s needs.
- Whenever possible I model a useful behavior rather than give an explanation.
- I delay my correction of a “wrong answer” so that I can first question my own preconceptions.
- I help the student identify problems in their writing rather than solving the problems myself.
- I help the student identify and understand the strengths in their writing rather than focusing entirely on the weaknesses.
- I periodically reflect on the work that the student has done during the session so that the student sees not just the final product but the process.
- I periodically check in with the student to make sure they are comfortable with the way the session is going.
- I try to make each tutoring session a joint effort with at least 50 percent of the work coming from the student.
- I try to make sure the student has as much or even more access to the paper we are discussing, and I avoid using a pen or pencil at any time.
- I find out what the student already knows, I discover what the student needs to know, and then I show the student how to learn what they need to know in a way that best suits their individual learning style.
- I try to concentrate on real learning and self-improvement, not just on earning better grades.
Based on a checklist by Thom Hawkins qtd. in Clark, Beverly Lyon. Talking About Writing: A Guide for Tutor and Teacher Conferences. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1985. 157-160.