Conducting a Successful Session
  • Guide the student to the correct answer – don’t just give it! As you work through the material, ask questions and offer clues about the right answer rather than just giving the student the answer.
  • When the student gives an incorrect answer, ask questions. Find out why he/she didn’t get the answer right – is it a misunderstanding of the material or just a misreading of the question? Is it a surface-level concern that’s easily remedied, or does the student lack a fundamental understanding of the material?
  • Explain everything. As you move through the session, periodically ask, “Does that make sense?” whenever you give an answer explanation. If the student says yes but looks confused, pause and encourage him/her to verbalize whatever questions he/she might have. If he/she seems unwilling, make a mental note and move on.
  • Make sure the student is meeting the assignment’s expectations. If you are working on a specific assignment, ensure the student is clear on what he/she needs to do and as you work, refer back to the assignment sheet periodically. If the student strays from the task, redirect as needed.
  • Offer praise and encouragement (but don’t go overboard). Many of the students with whom you will work have not engaged with standard education successfully; they often lack confidence when it comes to academic work, so a little praise can go a long way. Heaping excessive praises on a student can be counterproductive, however – the student may end up distrusting your judgment or becoming too confident in an area where he/she still needs to do some work.
  • If you’re working on math, encourage independence. Once the student has grasped a concept, ask him/her to teach you how to do the same kind of problem.
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