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As a new tutor, facing the prospect of group tutoring may be
somewhat daunting. Often, however, tutors find that group
tutoring offers many advantages over one-on-one tutoring.
Students' own work, memory and understanding is validated and
reinforced when they are able to help others. At some times,
group tutoring may become a necessity, as things often get
extremely busy here in TASC.
You should start your experience with group tutoring with a very small group if possible - no more than two or three students. It is best if the students are actually taking the same class together and have already worked with each other before. If not, make sure that everyone introduces themselves before you get started.
Another concern when starting is where the session will take place. Most all small group sessions can take place at any of the tables throughout TASC. If you anticipate using the large portable whiteboard, make sure that the location you choose will not cause an obstruction to others in the center. Another option is to use the front office (the tutor work/break room) for the session.
If you have a large group, it may become necessary to move the session to one of the Learning Resource Center (Library) group study rooms. If you decide that taking that course of action is necessary, first get approval from a professional staff member and then let the receptionist know where you will be. Additionally, if your session does take place outside of TASC, make sure that you end the session at least five minutes earlier than usual to allow time for you to return before your next appointment time slot. This is important, even if you did not have an appointment scheduled in that next slot when you left TASC - someone may very well have booked that slot while you were in the group session.
Also, remember to keep track of everyone who attends a group session and make sure that the information is entered in the Tutor Scheduling System.
Getting the Most Out of Your Session
Here are some suggestions to help group sessions go smoothly:
- Arrange seating and notes in a way that encourages interaction and visibility.
- Be respectful of all involved students.
- Provide direction, not dictatorship.
- Guide the conversation, but remember to limit how much you talk.
- Encourage participation by all tutees in the group.
- Control dominant tutees.
- Consciously, but slowly, draw shy tutees into the flow of conversation.
- Stress confidentiality.
- Summarize the ideas presented in sessions.
- Encourage interaction by having tutees answer each other's questions.
- Take a vote instead of giving a blanket yes or no response.
- Ask open-ended questions.
- Rephrase questions if they do not yield comments. Do not always clarify with an explanation.
- Use eye contact.
The more you experience tutoring, the easier it will become to
facilitate group tutoring effectively. Remember, we do not expect
you to know every answer to every possible question. We understand
that tutoring may be new to you and thus, we expect an adjustment
period. The first few group sessions may be a little rocky. If you
need any help in finding better ways to facilitate groups, or find
that you are more comfortable one-on-one or with just a couple of
people at a time, please let the TASC staff know. We are here to
Tutor Training Links:
Beginning a Session
Setting the Agenda
Tutoring Scenarios and Potential Problems
Policies and Procedures
Diversity and Confidentiality
Five Steps to Being an Effective Tutor
Our thanks to Owensboro Community College for sharing much of the content contained in the New Tutor Training section!
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