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Tutoring – Pitch and Pace

Ludo: On that note, are there any really key tips maybe that you’ve taken from the work you’ve done in teaching into your tutoring?

Daniel: 

The most important thing that I’ve learned is that tutoring is all about a relationship. And if you haven’t got a relationship with the pupils, your tutees, you just can’t progress..

Take time.

The biggest mistake would be to try and force the relationship, to try and impose yourself at the beginning. So to build confidence, you have to build trust with your student. This means respecting them at all times, whatever their age and creating that environment where they’re comfortable to make mistakes in front of you.

The second point I’d like to make is that some people like to have the attitude of clear roles, in the definition of roles. So I am the teacher, you are the pupil, and that’s fine because it does help to create a professional boundary, which is important.

But I think it’s really important to also be able to model yourself as a learner too, as well as a tutor, as well as a teacher. The idea that you’re both going on a journey to learn something together is much better than, “Right, I am teaching you this. You are going to learn this”.

It is so much more empowering for the student and it helps to build and develop their self-esteem.

If I can pitch in with a third point, it would also be to make sure that the work is really pitched at the right level.

So, too easy, there’s no challenge. Too difficult and it’s demoralising, so it’s really always been attention.

Make sure that the focus is not always on you. You have to learn when to consolidate the work and learn. When is it time to move on? How much practice is really necessary? Or should you be moving on and trying to develop other skills?

All these things I found, whether I’m tutoring or whether I’m in the classroom, these are very much transferrable skills.

Ludo Millar
Ludo has been writing for years but, in penning his thoughts around tutoring and learning, he's found a break from note-taking and essay-writing ... thank goodness! Ludo believes it's about time tutors' voices are heard and an open blog with numerous contributors is the best way to make this possible. To write a blog for Qualified Tutor, email him at ludo@qualifiedtutor.org.

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