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Tutoring Cycle Self-Assessment

The Tutoring Cycle-Observation Form

(Adapted from Ross MacDonald, Tutor Evaluation and Self-Assessment Tool)

The goal of tutoring is to help tutees increase their confidence and learn how to learn independently, eventually reducing their dependence on tutoring. By following these steps, tutors can help tutees become more independent learners. This cycle can be adapted for all subjects, and for group, individual, and drop-in tutoring. Use this guide to monitor your own tutoring sessions.

Step 1: Greeting

__1a. Greet student(s) by name.

__1b. Display friendliness--smile, gesture, small talk, etc.

__1c Provide efficient seating arrangements (next to, not across from each other.)

For more on setting up the physical environment for productive tutoring, see and

__1d. Encourage tutee(s) to initiate the first task: to open books and notes, etc.

For more on greeting your tutees, see:

Step 2: Identifying Task

__2a. Provide opportunity for tutee(s) to take control and determine focus of session

__2b. Use questions to clarify tutees’ immediate concerns. ("What is the hardest part for you?")

__2c. Restate tutees’ problems to help tutee understand what was needed and to focus activities for session. If you need to refocus session, explain why.

__2d. Use empathetic statements to help tutee(s) define the problem ("That part can be hard.")

Step 3: Setting Agenda

For more on agendas and goals intutoring sessions, see:

__3a. Involve tutee(s) in setting the agenda (i.e. "We have ___ minutes today. How should we use them?" "What should we work on today?")

__3b. Require tutee(s) to state agenda explicitly to help him/her play active role in allocating time on each task. Jot down an informal plan for the session.

__3c. Readjust agenda when necessary, keep track of time.

Step 4: Breaking Task into Parts

__4a. Ask tutee(s) to break task or problems into steps. ("Show me how you did this in class;" "How do you begin?"

__4b. Restate steps mentioned. Have the tutee take notes, if appropriate.

__4c. Ask tutee(s) to explain the steps to confirm understanding ("OK, so now you tell me what we have to do for this kind of problem")

Step 5: Identifying Thought Process Involved in Task

__5a. Ask the tutee(s) to explain the general approach learned in class for this type of problem/concept/thought process.

__5b. Help tutee(s) understand the textbook/lecture notes and how these resources were used to understand the process. Encourage using resources (text and class notes) next time around.

__5c. Help tutee understand other sources of information (i.e. notes, handouts, workbooks, classmates, etc.) for solving problems. Tutor should not be only source of information.

__5d. Ask tutee(s) to explain the approach learned to ensure tutees’ understanding for doing similar tasks when studying alone.

Step 6 : Addressing Task

__6a. Encourage tutee(s) to address task without overly directing him/her (i.e. "Where should we begin? What do we do next?")

__6b. Respond appropriately, but do not interrupt tutees’ thinking. Show attention without taking over. Pencil and paper should remain in front of tutee, not tutor.

__6c. Encourage tutee(s) to do most of the talking/learning. Did not over explain or take control.

__6d. Allow sufficient "wait time" ("10 Second Rule") for tutee to do act, speak, or learn before you take over and explain.

Step 7: Tutee Summary of Content

__7a. Encourage tutee(s) to summarize what has just been learned (i.e. "OK, let's review for a minute. Show me what we just talked about.")

__7b. Wait for tutee’s explanation to run its course without interrupting or correcting. Give tutee opportunity to self-correct by asking questions, then waiting.

__7c. Use tutees’ explanations to determine if he or she really understands.

__7d. If understanding is incomplete, return to addressing the task.

Step 8: Tutee Summary of Process

__8a. Have tutee(s) summarize process for addressing the task ("So, how do you do this again?")

__8b. Wait for tutee summary to run its course.

__8c. Determine if tutees’ understanding would allow the completion of similar task independent of tutoring.

__8d. If understanding is incomplete, return to addressing the task.

Step 9: Confirming and Reinforcing Confidence

For more on ending tutoring sessions, see:

__9a. After tutee(s) explains content and process, offer positive reinforcement, and confirm that tutee really did understand or improve.

__9b. Congratulate tutee(s) for working hard and not giving up.

__9c. Reassure tutee(s) that he/she can now do similar tasks independently.

Step 10: Looking Ahead

__10a Help tutee(s) anticipate what he/she will learn next that might connect to current task.

__10b. Help tutee(s) understand how information from class, tutoring, and resources is connected.

__10c. Ask future-oriented questions like "What is the next concept you will learn in class? How will what we did today help you?"

Step 11: Planning next session

__11a. Look at class schedule together. Allow tutee(s) to make decision about whether to return for another session and what to do during the session (i.e. "Should we meet next week? What should we do? What will you have done to prepare before the session?")

__11b. Confirm time and date of next session. Be sure tutee(s) knows who to call to cancel.

Step 12: Evaluating Session/Closing

__12a Evaluate progress on agenda (i.e. "We got a lot done," or "We got off track.") Ask what helped most and what could be improved

__12b. Thank tutee(s)for contributions (i.e. "You really came prepared. That helped.") If necessary, make suggestions for next time ("Be sure to come prepared, bring your books, read the chapter, and do your homework for the next session!")

__12c. End session on a positive note ("You made a lot of progress!" or "Even though we got off track, we learned what to do for next time.")

 Updated Wednesday, April 30, 2003 at 1:38:11 PM by Diana Alves De Lima -
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