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Goal of Tutoring The goal of the tutoring is to help students overcome academic challenges and lead them to autonomous or independent learning. It is a special kind of teaching that is different from the teaching performed by teachers, friends, and parents. You offer students one-on-one attention, individualized explanation, and a chance to ask as many question as they like (some of which they may not ask people they know) in a nonjudgmental atmosphere. But remember, the goal of overcoming academic challenges must be realized by promoting academic independence in the tutee and not dependence on the tutor. An academic problem a student faces may be a very particular challenge, as specific as a spelling or math question. A teacher who is asked a spelling or math question may respond by saying to look up the word in a dictionary or the problem in a math book, because they do not have the time to give the student one-on-one attention. It is likely not be a response which will overcome the student’s problem or lead to independent learning Independent learning involves learning how learn. It involves empowering a student to overcome their own academic problems autonomously. A parent or friend may respond to the same spelling or math question by spelling out the word or solving the problem for the student. But such a response makes the student less confident and more dependent on the parent or friend. It overcomes an academic challenge but does not lead to independent learning. Tutoring always tries to liberate students by help them become academically autonomous and not to entrap students by making them academically dependent. B. Tutoring context and relationships. The goal of helping students overcome academic challenges and lead them to independent learning can only be realized is a particular social context and tutor-tutee relationships. The social context of tutoring refers to the social norms in the setting. Social norms are the rules in a particular context for what is appropriate behavior. For example people may say and do Goals A. To appreciate the goal of tutoring. B. To understand the relationship a tutor has with a student and with the student’s subject matter teacher. C. To recognize the importance of diagnosing students’ academic problems D. To understand tutoring techniques and strategies. E. Troubleshooting Problems and Evaluating Tutoring. different things when sitting in church than in a classroom. Questions and comments appropriate for one setting may be inappropriate in another. To some extent you as a tutor create the norms for your tutoring sessions. The norms you create should allow for open, honest, and respectful communication about academic matters and for casual social and personal dialogue. But you are not the students’ “friends” so you will need to create boundaries between the academic and the personal. If crossed, the boundary can be reinstated gently but firmly redirecting the conversation back to the academic topic. However, as will be discussed later, if conversations arise of a legal or ethical issue, you will have to address them head on with the proper authorities. As a tutor you have an implicit relationship with the classroom teacher. You need to know what the teacher expects of your student. The teacher may have a particular way to teach topics, solve problems, or manage students’ behavior. Knowledge of such expectations is typically inferred from what your students say about their teacher. You need listen very carefully to these comments and if you are unclear, feel free to ask the teacher about these issues. Perhaps the most important relationship which you have to manage is the one between a student and his or her classroom teacher. Students have relationships with teachers which you must be protected and respected. Try to promote trust and respect between the student and teacher, but stay out of their relationship just as you would in any other relationships between people you do not know so well. But encourage students to talk to the classroom teacher about confusions or concerns they may share with you. Finally, the tutor-student relationship is key one for a tutor to manage in order to be effective. To form an effective relationship, the tutor should promote an open, honest, and respectful communication which supports the emotional well being of students. C. Diagnosing Academic Problems One of the most important jobs you have is to diagnose your students’ academic problem. Think of an academic problem as the tip of an iceberg. The specific math or English problem your student is facing is likely a symptom of a deeper misunderstanding. Think of treating the academic problem as the short-term goal and treating the deeper misunderstanding as the longterm goal. By overcoming these misunderstandings, you would be promoting independent learning – the students will learn to help themselves with their academic problems. We offer 3 steps in diagnosing such academic problems. 1. Listening for students’ misunderstanding of the academic material: Listen carefully to students’ own characterization of their academic problems as it may hold the key to their deeper misunderstandings. Consider this as data for a diagnosis of the broader academic problem which is undermining the students’ ability to solve a particular problem. Sometimes the problems will be clear, but other times students may not know why they are confused. To provide you with more clarification, ask students to perform a variety of related tasks while explaining their thinking in solving the problem. Use this as an opprotunity to see whether they reliably go wrong. Listen carefully without interrupting, supporting them to do their best. It will be important to respect cultural

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