Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Guidelines for Online Tutors-Ask Questions

A technique critical to a successful tutoring session is the ability to ask the right question.

  • Ask questions that encourage students to state what they know about the material
  • There are many types of questions that a tutor can use in a tutoring session. Good questioning techniques are essential to a successful tutoring session.
  • It is important to use the right words. Try asking "What do you understand?" If you ask the learners what they don't understand, they will be clueless.

While explaining linear functions, a teacher intends to correlate a linear functions with a live example of bungee jump using a doll and rubber bands. The distance to which the doll will fall is directly proportional to the number of rubber bands, so this context is used to examine linear functions.

He can get the learner’s interest instantly by asking, "Do you think the length of the cord and the size of the person matters when bungee jumping? Would it be smart to lie about your height or weight?"

Another important aspect of asking questions is waiting for an answer.

  • Many tutors are too quick to answer their own questions.
  • Give students an opportunity to reflect on the question before they volunteer a response.
  • Always wait at least 20 seconds for the student to answer your question. This "wait time" might be uncomfortable at first, but it can greatly improve the tutoring session.

Remember to ask leading questions.

  • Questions that can be answered with yes/no have less value that those that ask the student to demonstrate understanding.
  • "What if" questions and analogies are excellent strategies for expanding student understanding.

Become familiar with the Socratic Method of teaching.

  • In Socratic teaching we focus on giving students questions, not answers.
  • It is the oldest, but still the most powerful teaching tactic for fostering critical thinking.

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