Tutoring Tips

Tutoring Tips

1.      Be a "Math Role Model":

  • Talk to your student about your career or former career.  How is math used in your job?  Is it an important part of your day?  
  • Encourage students to keep their career options open.  Success in Algebra is important for passing standardized exams, SATs, and ultimately for college.   

2.      Prior to the tutoring session PREPARE:

  • With a new student, review the student’s areas of difficulty prior to the tutoring session. 
  • Look up the approach to the student’s difficulty presented in the textbook.  This will help re-enforce the lesson.
  • Check out any specific reference material available on the topic: Pearson’s homework video tutors and Khan Academy videos are available in the reference page of MyFreeTutor.org.

3.       During the tutoring session BE PATIENT:

  • Ask the student to explain, in his/her own words, the specific area of difficulty. Listen carefully.
  • Have the electronic version of the Algebra 1 textbook available during the tutoring session. 
  • Algebra can be very abstract sometimes.  Explain how this specific lesson or topic fits in the overall “scheme of things."  “This is important because…”, or “Once you know how to do this, you will be able to…”
  • To establish whether reading comprehension is the issue, have the student describe the problem and the question to be solved.
  • When the student gets stuck on a particular step of the solution, ask him/her to tell you the “conversation” going on with her/his brain.  This can be helpful in understanding the next step in the tutoring session.
  • If one approach fails to clarify the student’s problem, try a different method.   There is more than one way to solve most problems.
  • Sometimes you will need to go backwards (review material) before you can move the student forward.  Be patient.  Everyone learns at a different pace.   
  • When you feel the student has grasped the problem, encourage the student to explain each step of the solution (if he can explain it to others, he understands it.)

4.       Have FUN!