If you love helping people learn and have a good understanding of the content in your course, you can become a Peer Tutor. There are many advantages to tutoring, including:
- Earning money while studying
- Developing coaching skills for your resume
- Reinforcing your own learning by teaching someone else, and
- Meeting new people
Peer Tutoring isn’t complicated! Tutoring sessions can be held right on campus at a time that is convenient for you and the other student. During the session, you answer questions, explain material or demonstrate how to solve problems. You can also share ideas about how you study or prepare for tests.
If you become a Peer Tutor, you will receive orientation information, as well as tips and training that help you develop your skills in working with another student.
Interested? Please ask your instructor to fill out the online Peer Tutor Recommendation Form. The instructor you choose should be one that can verify your ability to tutor the course content. After you’ve spoken to your instructor please contact the Tutoring Supervisor at 204.632.2251 and we will get you started!
Peer Tutor FAQs
What does a tutor do?
At the most basic level, tutors use content knowledge and familiarity with course materials to help peers better understand and apply course content. Additionally, tutors use advanced communication skills to clearly explain and assist in the development of a tutee’s (the student you tutor) learning.
You teach, tutor, educate, whatever word you choose, you are helping the student to improve their knowledge, understanding and skills. The ultimate goal is to create the result of improved grades. While that is the result, it is not the objective in the tutoring session.
What is the goal, or objective, of a Tutor?
Understanding. You want the student to understand, have the light bulb go off, or have that “Ah-ha!” moment where the tutee finally grasps the concept. Keep in mind that instructors teach the material, and the tutor’s role is complementary to that. You are supplementing what a student has already learned, by clarifying and filling in missing knowledge.
What should I be helping the student (tutee) with?
Practice work, concepts, assigned questions, anything not worth marks is exactly the thing you should be helping with.
What if a student shows up with a question I don’t know?
This happens. There are 2 parts to this answer.
Take a look at the textbook and provided materials, and let the student know that though you are familiar with the concept, you need a moment to see if you can work through the issue. Then, if you can’t seem to get what you need, simply tell your tutee. Teachers and instructors do this all the time. Tell your tutee that you don’t know, but that you’ll get back to them.
You can also of course tell them to check with their instructor!
Tutees are often very understanding, knowing that you are a student just like them, and that you do not have all the answers.
What are a few key tips for peer tutors?
- Get to Know Your Tutee. Create a safe environment. Relax and be the one to engage the student with questions to start. Ask how their day is going, what their plans are for the weekend, and show empathy when discussing school!
- Be Patient. Don’t be discouraged! You are helping the tutee learn the content and process, but you must also give them space to learn at their own pace.
- Give Specific Praise. When students do well, tell them. But be specific about the praise. Good job working though that equation, I can see you really understand how it works now.
- Listen and Engage. Give your full attention to the students. Avoid yes/no questions. Practice active listening by checking their knowledge and asking further questions. Why do you think that… or Can you give me an example of…
- Use Students’ Experience. When explaining concepts and ideas, use context the student understands, and ask them! Try a few different examples and ways in which to explain – don’t just use the same material and explanations that were used in class.
- Set goals. To stay focused on task, it is a good idea for the tutee to set goals for each session. I want to cover… or By the time I write the final exam I want to know…
- Turn Questions Back. When they ask What does MSRP mean? You ask them instead, What do you think MSRP means?
- Start With Easy Questions. Give you tutee time to think through questions or problems, and once they begin to understand the concepts, withdraw your help more and more, asking them more difficult questions.
- Be Excited! Enjoy the challenge of finding the best ways to teach a student, and be excited when you and the tutee are successful! Your excitement is infectious and will motivate the tutee!
- Support Your Tutee. You could be the difference between a pass and a fail for the tutee, but more than that, you will form a relationship with them. Encourage them through the learning process, being honest with them, and be amazed at what your tutee can accomplish.
Adapted from Iowa State University’s Academic Success Centre
Peer Tutoring is funded in part through the RRC Student’s Association.