Student feedback suggests that a ‘good’ tutor is one who:
- Is enthusiastic, confident, and well prepared
- Is approachable and accessible for consultation
- Is encouraging and supportive
- Is knowledgeable of the relevant course topics, course details, organizational issues
- Uses a variety of teaching and learning methods to engage students
- Manages the group well
- Uses the knowledge and experiences of the group to facilitate learning
- Treats students equitably and fairly
- Reflects on their own performance as a teacher
- Seeks to continually improve.
Effective presentation and facilitation of tutorials involves:
Structuring your tutorial well
- Always start with an introduction, then
- Move to the body of information you want to cover
- Always have a strong conclusion
- If you are going to use PowerPoint, use it well
Using your body effectively
- Dress appropriately
- Establish eye contact before speaking (eye contact portrays confidence and involves the audience)
- Use gestures to draw attention to your message
- Keep gestures inoffensive, and open (e.g. open palms, hands up and out)
Speaking with confidence and authority
- Speak with enthusiasm, with and not at the audience
- Pronounce your words correctly and clearly
- Avoid words that create doubt, such as - kind of, sort of, I hope, I guess, perhaps
Starting your tutorial effectively
- Introduce yourself and tell your students a bit about yourself (eg if and what you are studying, your qualifications and/or research expertise etc working)
- Along with telling your students your name, write it clearly on the board as well as your UQ email address for contact.
- Call students by their first name
- Provide students with contact details. NB. These are usually a UQ email address and face to face consultation by appointment.
- Establish ground rules on emails. Managing email can be time consuming. It is advisable to set expectations for how you will be available at the start of each course, including when and how you will reply to email. Some general tips are:
- Only reply to emails in official business hours.
- At the beginning of teaching suggest to students that they look at the ECP and Blackboard site for an answer to their query before they consider emailing you or the Course Coordinator.
- Problems can arise with students because of unclear expectations about your role as a tutor and about their role as a student. Establishing expectations or ground-rules at the beginning of semester helps maintain good working relationships. Other ground rules might be:
- Any compulsory attendance requirements
- No mobile phones in class
- Only use media devices in class when necessary
- Respect other people’s opinions
- Don’t speak over others
- Be on time to class.
Conducting the tutorial well
- It's important to ask questions skillfully and frequently, to promote discussion and clarify understanding. See Bloom's Taxonomy as a basis for questioning and setting small group tasks
- Repeat questions to make sure everyone has heard the question.
- Encourage discussion
- Make sure you try to include all students, ask non-participators for their views
- Show students how to approach a problem – you can use a series of questions to progressively reveal the solution to a problem
- Provide assistance for student presentations
- Consider using group work to help facilitate engagement and learning
- Summarise the key points that arose in the tutorial.
- Ask if there are any further questions or concerns?
- If necessary, tell students what you expect them outside of tutorial hours.
- Tell students what will be covered in the next tutorial so that they can prepare.
Don’t forget to reflect on your first tutorial session, work out what went well, what didn’t and how to prevent that happening next time.