Skip to main content

Peer Tutor Guide

Characteristics of Successful Tutors

Characteristics of Successful Tutors

Successful tutors:

  • Have fun!
  • Are on time and prepared.
  • Are friendly and acknowledge students (by name if possible) when they arrive.
  • Encourage the student to develop good examples/discover examples provided in the text.
  • Let the tutee do the work.
  • Ask leading questions to help students learn and understand the material.
  • Are patient and provide appropriate “think” time.
  • Provide encouragement.
  • Are aware of their nonverbal communication.
  • Check the tutee’s learning by having the student summarize information at the end of the session.
  • Are aware of and acknowledge cultural differences while treating tutees consistently and with respect.
  • Relate successful study strategies to the tutee.
  • Use questioning rather than answering strategies.
  • Pay attention and are sensitive to the self-esteem issues of each tutee.
  • Are able to explain concepts from several different angles.
  • Focus the session on the process of learning rather than on the correctness of the answer.
  • Rotate around the room spending time evenly with students.
  • Conduct themselves in a professional manner.
  • Provide a safe learning environment.
  • Help to maintain the cleanliness of the Learning Commons.

Successful tutors DO NOT:

  • Teach magic tricks.
  • Go too fast.
  • Make off-color jokes or suggestive comments to students.
  • Waste the student’s time talking about themselves.
  • Over socialize with other tutors or students when not tutoring. When students think you’re busy talking they’ll be discouraged from asking questions because they don’t want to interrupt you.
  • Expect the student to hear and remember everything they’ve said.
  • Say, “This is easy” or use any other phrase that might imply the student is not smart.
  • Put down or criticize the student or their abilities.
  • Solve the problem or give the answer. The student should be holding the pencil.
  • Assist with any quizzes or exams, unless a student is working on an open note quiz or exams. For open note quizzes or exams, tutors are allowed to help students identify resources that may assist them (Google, the book, class notes), but they cannot answer quiz or exam questions directly.
  • Discuss tutees, the work they completed, or the student’s use of the tutoring services with anyone other than the Director, Educational Resource Specialist, Instructional/Technical Specialist, or another tutor who is working with the student.
  • Discuss what a student may receive as a grade on an assignment, or discuss if the correct grade was or was not given
  • Criticize a teacher or the assignment.