7 Questions Tutors Should Ask Their Students
Each tutoring business has its own guidelines for how tutors should structure lessons, but often leave the finer details of teaching up to individual tutors. In this article we’ll discuss 7 questions tutors should ask their students during lessons, and why your business should encourage tutors to ask these questions to improve lesson outcomes.
Questions give tutors the opportunity to understand their students, and will allow students to express themselves in their own words. Not only will this build stronger relationships between your tutors and their students, but it will also grant tutors insight into a student’s abilities, skills, and struggles.
Below are 7 questions tutors should ask their students, and how tutors, students, and ultimately your business will benefit from tutors making it a point to ask them.
Am I Moving Too Quickly?
Having tutors ask students whether they’re moving too quickly will ensure that students are able to follow the tutor’s pace while they’re teaching or demonstrating how to do something.
This question is particularly useful because not all students are willing to speak up on their own to ask a tutor to slow down. By having your tutors ask this question throughout their lessons your tutors will establish rapport with students, and make sure they’re teaching at a pace that will ensure students are fully absorbing the information they’re being taught.
Phrasing the question this way will also encourage students to be honest if tutors are moving too quickly, since it emphasizes that it’s the tutor who needs to slow down, and not the student’s fault for falling behind.
Is There Anything You Want to Focus on Today?
This question is best asked right at the beginning of a lesson, and can be directed at a child student’s parents (i.e. for younger children) or at the student, if they’re old enough to be setting their own goals for lessons.
This question is important because it empowers the student to set the agenda for the lesson, presumably to focus on specific areas they need help with. It will also serve as a gateway for tutors to learn more about a student’s recent progress, upcoming tests, or any other information that’s relevant to goal setting for lessons.
How Do You Feel About The Material We Covered Last Session?
This question is also best asked right at the beginning of a lesson, since it gives tutors and students an opportunity to settle into their current lesson by reflecting on topics they’ve already covered together.
At this point students are presented with an opportunity to ask for further clarification if they don’t understand something that was covered in their last lesson. Tutors can also use this opportunity to ask questions to check for comprehension before moving forward and covering more material.
Can You Tell Me More About That?
This question is perfect for encouraging students to elaborate on an answer they’ve given to a question. Tutors can use this question anytime a student provides an answer but doesn’t seem like they have a firm grasp of the content covered in their reply.
For example, a tutor asks a student to define ribosomes and their purpose. After the student gives a response the tutor can ask the student to tell them more about their answer, as a means of encouraging the student to further detail what they know about ribosomes and their functions. This exercise can gives insight into a student’s level of comprehension, and gives tutors insight into whether a student has any gaps in their knowledge.
How Did You Get This Answer?
Tutors can use this question to get a student to walk them through the steps they’ve followed to reach a certain conclusion, whether the student’s conclusion was right or wrong.
Having students explain their thought process will give the student an opportunity to reinforce their learning by explaining each step in detail.
Tutors will also have an opportunity to understand how the student processes information, and will have the opportunity to identify the exact step that is causing a student to produce an incorrect answer (e.g. while solving a math equation). The tutor can then provide more specified feedback about specific steps and how to correct them.
Would You Like Me to Repeat Anything I’ve Said?
Some students will have a hard time absorbing a lot of information, especially if it’s delivered in a short period of time. Worse, not all students will ask a tutor to repeat themselves if they didn’t understand specific points.
Asking students if they would like anything repeated has a positive impact on tutor/student relationships, since it demonstrates to students that their tutors care if they understand.
This question is particularly effective after new concepts are introduced, since tutors are able to verify at every step that students have a firm grasp of what they’ve been taught and can apply what they’ve learned on their own.
Why Did You Choose That Answer?
Asking why a student chose a particular answer is ideal when a tutor needs a student to clarify why they’ve reached their conclusion.
This question is particularly useful when a student has reached the wrong conclusion, since it gives students the chance to work through their response again on their own. This mental exercise also helps develop a student’s ability to justify and defend their responses, especially when making argumentative statements in subjects like english and history.
Making These Questions More Effective With Teachworks
Teachworks tutor management software can increase the impact these questions have by giving tutors the opportunity to reflect on a student’s answers while they’re entering lesson notes after each session.
Reflecting on a student’s answers, and including the information in internal and/or shared lesson notes (which can be sent to students/families), will help tutors improve outcomes for future lessons by providing students and/or families with a deeper understanding of how students learn and process information.
If tutors keep track of student progress they can also attach progress reports and other detailed notes to student profiles using the Profile Attachments Add-On.
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