Even though group tutoring is less common
in our center than individual tutoring, some tutors prefer small group
situations. Group tutoring is far more challenging; however, it can be
very rewarding. The group setting, while manageable by a skilled tutor,
is quite limiting in terms of the amount of individual attention that
can be provided; this potential problem grows in relation to the size of
the group being tutored. Some of the differences are outlined as
- Time allows the individual student to
ask many questions.
- Student is instructed at his/ her
level and pace.
- Student must actively participate in
the session. Content is tailor-made to individual student needs.
- Time per student is restricted.
- Multiple abilities and background of
students complicate level and pace of instruction.
- Non-participation by some students can
- Content covered must be suitable for
the general needs of the group.
As you can see, individual tutoring has
many natural benefits, while group tutoring requires a more conscious
leadership role on the part of the tutor. The primary advantage of group
tutoring (and disadvantage of individual tutoring) is the potential for
the sharing of a variety of views and information. Groups also
demonstrate cooperative attitudes and work skills in contrast to
individual tutoring, which is more self-centered by nature.
following are some basic group tutoring guidelines that enhance group
learning. Remember that these guidelines (and skills) require conscious
leadership on the tutor's part.
- Keep in mind, as a group tutor, you
are a resource for students and their learning. Your role is to
facilitate their learning process.
- Stand or sit where all can see and
hear you. Arrange seating so it encourages interaction and visibility.
- Waiting for students to volunteer a
well-developed answer allows high-level thinking to take place. If
you are uncomfortable waiting for 30 seconds, join students in
looking through notes or text. If students are unable to answer the
question, refer to the source of information.
- Respect all questions or responses
offered by students, no matter how basic.
- Remember to use probing
- Don't allow individuals to dominate
participation or discussion. Try to involve everyone in the learning
activity; non-participants must be drawn into the activity.
- Please don't interrupt student
answers. Group tutors should provide a comfortable environment for
practicing. To check for understanding, ask another student to
describe the same concept in his or her own words.
- Ask open-ended questions, and rephrase
questions if they do not yield comments.
- Remember to include
in the group session.
- Keep the session on topic and moving at the appropriate pace for the group's abilities.
- Maintain productivity of the session
by preventing irrelevant arguing or repetition.
- As the session comes to a close,
provide closure. You can do this by asking the students what they
learned during the session, what they still need clarification on,
or what they would like to cover in the next session. You might also
ask them to come to the next session with a few predictions of test
questions. Summarize the ideas presented in the session.
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