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How to Maintain Positive Tutoring Relationships to Adolescents

Before starting a tutoring program, it is a good idea to talk to your tutee either personally or through phone. Construct a tutoring schedule and explain how much time you are supposed to tutor given your program requirements. You must report to your mentor teacher about the strengths and weaknesses of your new student and assess how you can offer help and achieve goals on developing his or her literacy. Then ask your mentor teacher to introduce you to your new student/s formally.
When you are in the classroom, explain your purpose and ask the students to call you not with your first name. In that way, students will realize that you are a professional rather than a peer. Make notes of your observations in your tutee's class but be sure that you keep your notes to yourself.

According to Cathy Roller, "there are two general principles of effective tutoring: (1) establishing a warm, supportive environment, and (2) scaffolding children's learning. Roller recommends tutors to:

1.) Get to know the learner like his or her interests, strengths, and needs.

2.) Give specific praise as this will increase his or her confidence.

3.) Keep the session moving. Don't focus too long on one activity as it will bore your tutee and make it less that he will want to work with you.

4.) Be a model. Model your own enjoyment of reading and writing. if you demonstrate your engagement with literacy, you let your tutee realize the advantages of improving his or her skills.

You must keep in mind that your tutee has a number of other important activities and commitments in addition to tutoring. You must be aware of, and sensitive to, these activities and commitments. Be yourself and don't try to be a peer to your tutee. See yourself as a professional and not a pal, in that way, you will make more progress and gain positive results.

Gather information about the existing literacy program for your tutee. Examine materials from classes and ask him to explain what is going on in class. His explanation can provide considerable insights on how he perceives both the work he is being asked to do and his own skill levels as a literacy learners. You can also ask his teachers some additional information on what the classroom program looks like and how you could support it. You are better equipped as a tutor if you can understand your tutee's school approach to literacy. In this way, you can incorporate and reinforce learning better rather than distract the existing school literacy instruction of your tutee.

It is very important that when you are doing your first interview to your tutee that you try to know something about your student's hobbies, musical tastes, friendships, sports, family, favorite books, school performance, and career aspirations. In this way, your tutee may come to trust you more quickly. Sometimes it's hard to get young people to open up so you must develop ingenious ways to trade information.

Listen carefully when your tutee is answering your questions. Don't insert your own words and push too hard in eliciting information. Talk about topics your tutee is willing to discuss and then move on. You will learn more over time. Some adolescents need to develop a long-term relationship before they are willing to share too much. Start each session day by asking how is she? But don't spend the entire session discussing personal matters.

Remember, that you and your tutees relationship is basically for learning and literacy and not for counseling.


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