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Training Math Tutors To Tutor Developmental Math Students

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Presentation on theme: "Training Math Tutors To Tutor Developmental Math Students"— Presentation transcript:

1 Training Math Tutors To Tutor Developmental Math Students
Pinder Naidu Kennesaw State University Association Tutoring Professional On-Line Workshop Jan 14 to Feb 12, 2006

2 Training Tutors 101 Training tutors to deal with developmental math students requires a little more of the following: Listening Questioning Compassion Caring and Encouragement Why is it so much more important for these students?

3 Training Tutors 101 Because for many of them this is the first college class they have taken in long time. For others it is their chance to review material they didn’t get in a previous life, in a prior setting. For most math is the one thing that has stopped them from moving forward. A few feel as if they have math anxiety or they have had a bad experience in a math class which makes them anxious.

4 Tutor Training Tip #1: Smile
Why? Developmental level students lack self confidence and for them to come and ask a tutor for help is a BIG DEAL. They want help and will ask for it if the tutor smiles. Smiling conveys trustworthiness. They need to TRUST someone. A smile also motivates, encourages, conveys integrity and sincerity.

5 Tutor Training Tip #1: Smile
A smile says many things "Welcome"  "We're glad you're here. We know that you have other choices."  "I may not know everything, but if I don't, I will try to find out for you."

6 Tutor Training Tip #1: Smiling Contd
Conveying the importance of smiling 1) Have tutors watch a math video and ask what was it about the lecturer they enjoyed? Students usually enjoy someone who cares about them. How do they know the instructor cares? They’re smiling! That smile is inviting, it means the instructor is approachable, open to questions. The above are the same qualities that students look for in a tutor. They view the tutor in the same light! Scary isn’t it, to be thought of so highly.

7 Tutor Training Tip #1: Smiling Contd
2) Role Play. Ask one tutor to be the student and another to be the tutor who doesn’t smile. Add smiling. Discuss reactions as a group. Again, it is important for the tutors to understand how they appear to students is a factor in their being asked for help. Are you Grumpy or Happy? Who wants to ask someone for help if they look like they don’t want to help you? SMILE!

8 Tutor Training Tip #1: Smiling Contd
3) Tape your tutors tutoring and watch the video. Ask them who would they ask for help? Taping tutors is a great way of being reflective. This helps the tutors see how they look to students walking in the lab. Reflection is a great teacher and viewing one’s behaviors can lead to change. Sometimes a tutor may have a pressing issue and doesn’t realize that he/she is sharing it to the world via the look on their face.

9 Tutor Training Tip #2: Listening
Listening is an art and skill, which means it has to be practiced. Tutors that listen first are more effective because they will hear what the student really needs, than what they think the student needs. Plus, one knows that the student will really try to get the tutor to do the work for them.

10 Tutor Training Tip #2: Listening Contd
A favorite training idea is playing the ‘telephone” game. Remember that one? Break up the tutors into groups of 4 or 5. Send the groups out, except for one person.

11 Tutor Training Tip #2: Listening Contd
Give the first tutor a story to tell to the next tutor that walks in the room. The next tutor has to repeat the story to the next one in the group and so on At the end of the groups ask the last tutor to repeat the story. There are lots of laughs as the story gets re-told. Were they really listening? It’s not as easy as one might think!

12 Tutor Training Tip #2: Listening Contd
Ask the tutor if they are listening to the student or are they already to jump in and do the problem? On a more serious note Role Playing is great. Give the tutor a situation where a student walks in and asks a question, such as “How do I do this question (say solving an equation for a specific variable)?”

13 Tutor Training Tip #2: Listening Contd
9 times out of 10 tutors are already formulating an answer without really listening to the question. Get tutors to repeat the question to the students. “You want to solve this equation for this variable?” This shows the students that the tutor is listening and wants to help. It also clarifies the “want”. Which off course leads us to the next important training tip. QUESTIONING!

14 Tutor Training Tip #3: Questioning
Why is questioning so important? Developmental students are not always sure of the question. Probing helps to determine the exact nature and understanding of the problem. Questioning takes practice. Tutors want to solve problems, so……..

15 Tutor Training Tip #3: Questioning
Have tutors practice with each other answering with a question. For example: Student, “I want to solve this equation for X” Tutor, “ What do you think we should first?” Wait for the response! It takes time for some developmental students to process. Also, the tutor will soon know IF the student knows what to do next OR needs further questioning. Make no assumptions about their math knowledge.

16 Tutor Training Tip #3: Questioning
Let’s see how far this could go…. You play the part of the student Student: I’m not sure what to do next? Tutor: Let’s look at your notes. What did your instructor do? Student: I’m not sure. I think I’m solving for ‘X’ Tutor: Ok, can you explain your notes to me? Student: It looks like I have to get this number over here? Tutor: Yes, very good! Now what? ……

17 Tutor Training Tip #3: Questioning
Student: Then all the terms with ‘X’ disappeared. Tutor: What did she do with them? What is that called? Student: I don’t know. Tutor: She combined like terms. So, where did the 18X come from? Student: Oh, I see, she added them together. Tutor: Very good. Now let’s look at your problem again and you try to do the same thing. Off course your tutors will want to do the problem and move on! BUT notice the questioning and praise!

18 Tutor Training Tip #3: Questioning Contd
Let the student lead. Ask to see the instructors notes. Developmental students need to do problems in a similar manner as their instructors. Remember the majority are learning this for the first time. They will get confused by many methods. Check for understanding by asking them to re-explain the problem back to you. Re-explaining is KEY because one can access whether or not the student gets it! Above all be PATIENT!

19 Tutor Training Tip #3: Summarizing Questioning
Let’s go over this one more time. What have we learned? When developmental math students ask for help they may not know what to ask. The tutor’s job is to employ questioning to find out if the student don’t know process or if they don’t understand the concept. Sometimes it can take a lot of questions before the tutor can identify the underlying cause.

20 Tutor Training Tip #3: Summarizing Questioning
Be sure to always follow the instructor’s methodologies. Don’t say “Oh this way is easier”. Not to the developmental student it’s not! Tutor’s can adapt to methodologies much faster than the student can. Finally, let the student lead you, the tutor. Remember to smile and the world smiles with you!

21 Tutor Training Tip #4: Practicing Compassion and Empathy
Developmental students do not need to feel stupid. Tutors should NOT say “Here, this is really easy” Tutors should not criticize The instructor. The Book To use or not use the calculator So, can we know what it feels like to feel inadequate at a task? Read on…………….

22 Tutor Training Tip #4: Practicing Compassion and Empathy
Training for empathy. This is a fun activity Pair tutors up. Have the blindfolded tutor complete a task, relying solely on directions from someone else. Most math tutors are experts at math, which makes tutoring developmental math students a little more challenging! Right?! So, how does it feel to ask for help. Are you floundering yet?

23 Tutor Training Tip #4: Practicing Compassion and Empathy
Ok, so everyone was floundering. We can discuss how it feels to rely on someone. Did it make the tutors feel stupid? Usually the need to lean on someone causes anxiety. It is the loss of control. Most developmental students are adults who are used to giving themselves and others directions and are not comfortable in asking for help.

24 Tutor Training Tip #5: Encouragement and Caring
How many directions did you need to complete your task? What else was going on? Was there cheering and encouragement? I bet there was! Developmental students need their own cheering squad. Being blindfold helps to indicate the importance of encouragement and caring too, since the tutors will be yelling encouragement, as well as directions, at the same time. Remember, these students need praise for the successful completion of a problem/task.

25 Tutoring things to think about.
Success is the only genuine motivator and must be experienced, especially by developmental math students. Basics must be mastered in order to think about the material. The pencil should remain in the students hands. The real sign of learning is not that students make mistakes, but that they can find and correct them alone.

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