Making the Most of a Tutoring Session: Ready, Set, Go!
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When completing assignments, students sometimes need help moving down the track. It could be near the finish line or even before the starting line. Luckily, a second pair of eyes and some extra insight are often all it takes to move forward successfully. Tutors at the Purdue Global (PG) Academic Success Center (ASC) have that covered. They are no further away than just a few clicks of the mouse. Meeting with a tutor during live tutoring hours allows students to ask questions about assignments and connect with helpful resources. Still, making the most of your time matters. Following a few steps before, during, and after a tutoring session can help you make the most of PG’s tutoring service.
Getting the most out of anything, including a tutoring session, begins with preparation. Consider the example of a runner mentally and physically preparing before heading down the track. Runners pay close attention to their training habits and environments. They always warm up ahead of time. To improve and stay motivated, they also set performance goals. Before meeting with a tutor, keep these practices in mind. Prepare your learning environment, warm up your mental muscles, and build motivation by following the tips below.
- Set aside adequate time (tutoring sessions last about 20 minutes).
- Learn what to expect by reviewing the Student Use Policy for ASC Tutoring.
- Arrange a quiet, comfortable learning environment, free of interruption.
- Know the course number and decide which Center (Math, Science, Technology, Learning for Success, Business, or Writing) best suits your needs.
- Read the assignment instructions, rubric, and any instructor feedback. Keep those pages open on your PC/laptop so the tutor can review them.
- If you’re working on a draft, open it beforehand.
- Envision an achievable goal. Be ready to explain the goal, need, or concern to the tutor.
Communicating a goal at the outset of a tutoring meeting lets you take ownership of the experience. It helps a tutor provide the information, feedback, or resources you need to move ahead. It also makes the best use of time by focusing on fixing obstacles instead of dwelling on them. If a tutor assesses unexpected needs (or gaps in understanding), it’s best to think flexibly and stay open to feedback. Research shows a positive outlook is the strongest guarantee of a successful tutoring session (Exposito-Lopez et al., 2023). It’s beneficial to reduce negative self-talk, embrace mistakes as opportunities for growth, and commit to positive change. For help along the track, here’s some added guidance:
- Remember that tutors were once students, too. They understand the difficulties of academic learning and are rooting for you to succeed.
- Nevertheless, your success is up to you. No one else can do the work for you. Tutoring aims to get you back on track independently.
- Toward that end, tutors may not focus on every error (McPherson & Nunes, 2013). Instead, they prioritize solutions that promise the most significant impact on progress.
- Supporting your progress means taking part actively. Don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions, repeat what you hear, or request examples. Taking notes and bookmarking any links a tutor shares is also wise.
- Finally, before the meeting ends, confer with the tutor to define your next steps. With a brief action plan, you’ll know which direction to head next.
The learning process doesn’t end with a tutoring session. What happens afterward is crucial. Consulting notes, following links, and putting information into practice make all the difference in winning the race. As you circle the track with increased confidence, momentum, and direction, remember that the learning process is a cycle. Ideas and concepts build on one another. Use your new skills to hurdle the next challenge. If you forget anything, you can review session recordings on PG’s tutoring platform, Cranium Café. Just look for “archives” under “Settings & Documents.” Lastly, if you need help again, return to live tutoring. PG Tutors are standing by to cheer you to the finish line.
Expósito-López, J., Chacón-Cuberos, R., Zahara-Rakdani, F., & Serrano-García, J. (2023). Attitudes and components of mentoring and tutoring and their influence on improving academic performance. RELIEVE– Revista Electrónica de Investigación y Evaluación Educativa, 29(1), 1–15. https://revistaseug.ugr.es/index.php/RELIEVE/article/view/27360/26003
McPherson, M. and Nunes, M.B. (2013). The role of tutors as a fundamental component of online learning support. In U. Bernath, A. Szücs, A. Tait & M. Vidal (Eds.), Distance and E-Learning in Transition (pp. 235-246). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.