It is important to ensure that your physical environment allows for face-to-face contact. Non-verbals (gestures, facial expressions, etc) are often just as important as the spoken voice in the delivery and comprehension of people’s ideas.
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 involves:
Structuring your tutorial well
- Always start with an introduction (10% of tutorial time), then
- Move to the body of information you want to cover (80% of tutorial time)
- Always have a strong conclusion (10% of tutorial time)
- 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)
- Regularly make eye contact and focus on each person 3-5 seconds
- 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
- Do not cut off the ends of words, such as "ing"
- Avoid 'uh', 'um', 'you know'
- 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 (what you are studying, where you are working)
- Along with telling your students your name, write it clearly on the board
- Call students by their first name
- Provide students with your office hours and contact details (work phone number, office number)
- Establish ground-rules which you will follow as well as students
- Talk to the group about your expectations of the group
- Don’t forget to make sure students know where the nearest fire exits are and where they should gather if there is a fire alarm
Conducting the tutorial well
- It's important to ask questions skillfully and frequently, to promote discussion and clarify understanding. See Bloom's levels of thinking (pdf) as a basis for questioning and setting small group tasks
- Repeat questions to make sure everyone has heard the question.
- Answer questions carefully
- Encourage discussion
- Make sure you include all students, ask non-participators for their views
- Let students know your expectations, the process you want them to adopt and exactly how long they have to do a task
- Provide clear instructions on how to solve a problem step-by-step
- Show students how to approach a problem – use a series of questions to progressively reveal the solution to a problem
- Provide assistance for student presentations
Ending the tutorial well
- Summarise the key points that arose in the tutorial
- Go around the group and ask students for one thing they learned from the tutorial
- Tell students what you expect them to do next
- 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.
Presenting and facilitating section
- Explain the problem being explored in their presentation
- Explain the process that will be used to solve the problem
- Clearly structure their presentation
- Clearly deliver their presentation.
Students need feedback on the content of their presentation as well as their presentation style.
Be sure to:
- Be encouraging when providing feedback
- Always include some positive feedback
- Provide any criticism in a constructive manner (e.g.'Jack you might find it helpful to keep your hands by your side. It would help people focus on the message you're delivering').
Try not to interrupt a presentation. If you need to do so:
- Excuse yourself
- Make your point
- Invite comment
- Then say 'please carry on'.
Pyramiding or “Think, Pair, Share”
Start this process by asking students to think about their ideas or response to a question, topic, or problem on their own, then after a couple of minutes, turn to their partner and share their response.
Each pair then joins with another pair and this group of 4 shares their responses and negotiates a common set of ideas.
After a few minutes ask one member of each group to report back to the whole class.
Students discuss ideas in pairs or small groups of 3 or 4, and one student acts as reporter and/or scribe. Groups then report on their discussion.
Group generated points can be summarised by students or teacher on an OHT or whiteboard or the teacher can provide their own solution or summary of important points.
Divide students into groups that represent particular points of view on a controversial topic. Each group works to develop an argument to support its allocated point of view.
- Restate the question to check your understanding and ensure that all have heard
- Listen carefully to the question
- Always let the questioner finish
- Repeat question to ensure your understanding is correct
- Ask the questioner to clarify if you are not sure what they mean
- Sound interested and sincere
- Establish eye contact with the questioner
- Respond to questioner and broader audience
- Be concise and honest
- If you don’t know the answer to a question, throw the question back to the rest of the group
- NEVER bluff or lie if you don’t know the answer
- If no-one knows, tell them you will find out and get back to them via email.
Did you notice …?
What happened when …?
How many …?
What did you find …?
Have you seen …?
What causes …?
What do we already know about …?
Questions to help a student see relationships between things:
What is the difference between … and …?
How are … and … similar?
Compare … and … with respect to?
How does … relate to what we learned before about …?
What are the strengths and weaknesses of …?
How does … affect …?
Questions that encourage application of knowledge:
What is a new example of …?
How would you use … to …?
What are some possible solutions for …?
Explain why …?
Explain how …?
Why is … important?
What is the meaning of …?
What is the best … and why is it the best?
Questions to promote reflection and speculation:
What might happen if …?
If we wanted to do … instead, how could … be used?
Can you find a way to …?
If … was altered, what do you predict would happen?
[Adapted from Chalmers & Fuller (1995); Kauffman (1997)]
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.
Getting students to generate ground rules helps establish rules that are more likely to be kept by the group.
Review the ground-rules during the semester, to see how things are going, change rules that aren’t working and add any rules that are needed.
Ground rule examples include:
- No mobile phones on in class
- Respecting other peoples opinions
- Don’t speak over others
- Be on time to class.
- Break information into logical components – an introduction, body, conclusion
- Less is more
- People can read, it’s your commentary that adds value
- Use horizontal layout
- Have 6 dot points max per slide
- Use 20 pt font size minimum
- Don’t overuse effects
- Use dark text on a pale background
- Break complex concepts down and build these over two or three slides
- Use diagrams/tables to add value.