A tutor is not the same as a professor; many professors run on limited time and they have a schedule to follow through with for their courses, meaning the students cannot ask all the questions they want during class, or complete their assignments.
This is where you, the tutor, comes in!
You should never just sit down with a student, show them the answer to a problem, and end the session. What if even more problems like that show up? You aren’t going to be there on exam day either.
The tutor is there to help the student learn and eventually become self-sufficient. Problems that were once difficult for your students eventually become simpler where they remember steps, not answers.
You might feel like for some classes, you can’t really help tutor concepts for students, such as CGS1060 when they ask you about a specific step in their project. But there is more to that than just pointing out where a tool is in such cases.
Take the opportunity to teach students strategies! For you it may be as simple as memorization but put yourself in their shoes! What if you had no idea what tabs were, or that you could hover your mouse over a tool to see what it does?
Giving your students such tips and tricks are extremely helpful, especially when they have to take their exams.
Next time you are tutoring for something that seems simple to you, think about showing the student what you would do if:
One of the hardest parts of EnTec related courses is not coding or completing problems but brainstorming different solutions and finding the most efficient way to complete a task/assignment.
Teaching students early on to create such algorithms and develop their problem-solving skills is very important and can be implemented into your tutoring session by no one else but the tutor themselves.
The student just got out of a classroom lecture. Do they really want to go into a second one that may leave them even more confused or have the same question they came in with? Don’t just start lecturing:
You have tools to help the student learn. Grab a whiteboard or somewhere you and your student can work together to have an interactive session.
Want to check if your student understands what you just taught? Give them the whiteboard and have them teach you instead! If they can explain the concept, they have a pretty good understanding of it.
Not every student can be tutored the same way. Each person that walks in will have two different qualities:
This leads to the next section: Examples of some students you may encounter and examples on how to tutor them.
Get use to them and develop your own way of tutoring them efficiently. Identify their strengths to help them overcome their weaknesses. Of course, this doesn’t mean this will apply to all students! Just adapt to who you are working with.
Uses a lot of drawings and illustrations to understand what is going on
Probably enjoys algorithms and flowcharts
Too much writing will make it harder for them to understand concepts
Coding and syntax might be a bigger issue for them than the brainstorming
Suggestion: Use visuals to make connections between a programming language and the concept. If they have problems with syntax, write out the piece of code and show a visual of what that piece does.
Enjoys working alone and often has some work done already when calling the tutor over
Reviews their own work to try and catch their own mistakes first
Might prefer one on one tutoring sessions instead of group sessions
Might not ask for help when needed
Suggestion: Don’t force this student to work with a group session you may have; they may feel uncomfortable. Go to the student and check in on them every now and then. Remind them you are available to them even if you have other students.
Likes attempting something to learn from it
Enjoys examples in order to try it themselves
Likes practice problems over other learning methods
Visuals, explanations, and text might not help this student learn as much
Regular lectures in classroom might have already made the student feel lost or confused
Suggestion: Have the student work with you during the session. Have them do something as much as possible, such as write on the whiteboard with you, or code an example you want to show them.
They have a lot of the work done already (even if it might not be correct)
Extremely difficult to find why the code is not working
Student might not even know where to look for their errors
Suggestion: Show the student how to comment out and test their code piece by piece. Show strategies for finding the issue and how to debug and common problems they might have.
Code is too difficult to read and understand
Even the student might get confused as to what they did
At least they did something
Suggestion: Show the student how to organize their code and the general format for proper indentation, braces, etc. for future projects, and how to fix up their current one for readability.