Basic Group Tutoring Guidelines

Group Tutoring is far more challenging than individual tutoring; however, it can also produce more robust learning environments and be very rewarding personally for tutors. The group setting, while manageable, can be limiting in the amount of individual attention which can be provided to students. The trick to tutoring a group is to think of yourself as a coach or conductor who manages your various players.

The primary advantage of group tutoring is the potential for the sharing of a variety of views and information. Groups also demonstrate cooperative learning and work skills.

Group students together to maximize interaction and visibility
Remind students to prepare some questions ahead of time
Open-ended questions should be asked to encourage participation
Understand the differences or needs of each student and then group them accordingly
Patience is a virtue

Team building: have more accelerated students help those with more questions.
Utilize instructional materials: textbooks, manuals, old tests, the internet, opposing views, etc.
Time is your ally. Keep the session on topic & moving at an appropriate pace.
Observe body language and look for frustrated faces, those too intimidated to ask a question, etc.
Remember to have students work on the board and talk to the rest of the group
Integrate academic and study skills into tutorial sessions.
Never assume the role of the instructor: guide conversation, listen and ask questions. Share the marker!
Goal setting: set goals for the session and for the semester in general with your students.

Group Tutoring Do’s and Don’ts

  • Learn names of those in your group.
  • Control dominant students by putting them to task or having them help others.
  • Stand where all can see and hear you.
  • Check for understanding often.
  • Allow ample wait time for well-developed answers and high-level thinking to take place.
  • Provide closure. Ask students what they learned during the session, what they still need clarification on, or what they would like to cover in the next session.

  • Don’t interrupt students.
  • Don’t allow for students to feel dumb, unwelcome or discouraged.
  • Don’t let students pressure you into doing more than you can or want to do.
  • Don’t worry about having all of the answers… Use your resources!
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for help.

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