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Level III Tutor Training Manual


  • pg 1
									             1st Edition
            August 2009

  The Ohio State University
Central Ohio Technical College
         at Newark

           LEVEL III

                         TABLE OF CONTENTS

3.1 Review of Levels 1 and 2                 pg.   3
3.2 Reading Strategies                       pg.   7
3.3 Group Management                         pg. 10
3.4 Structuring the Learning Experience      pg. 14
3.5 Organizational Skills                    pg. 17
3.6 Supervising and Evaluating Tutors        pg. 19
Appendix: Requirements                       pg. 29

Level III, Module 1
                                             Module 3.1
                                Review of Levels I and II Training
      Reinforce Level I and II training.
      Create connections between old material and new.
      Provide clarification of topics from previous training modules.
      Share personal experiences with fellow tutors.
Tutoring Center Overview
      Students who seek tutoring may do so for a variety of reasons.
      Peer tutors should serve as mentors guiding students to knowledge in a supportive and
       comfortable environment.
      Students who may need special accommodations should be referred to appropriate offices.
Beginning a Tutoring Session
      Open-ended questions about student’s background will open dialogue between tutors/tutees.
      Returning students should be greeted briefly at the beginning of every session.
During a Tutoring Session
      Establish long-term goals as well as short term.
      Encourage independence.
Ending a Tutoring Session
      Summarize after each session.
      End the session on a positive note.
What a Tutor Should Do
      Listen & ask questions
      Discuss material & give examples
      Help correct errors in work
      Model
      Give honest and supportive feedback
      Show students how to utilize resources
      Encourage students to take responsibility for their work

Scheduled Sessions vs. Walk-ins
       Walk-ins/Fill-ins
            o   Make sure you check progress reports
            o   Leave detailed polite notes
       Scheduled sessions
            o   Break material into small chunks
            o   Make connections between old material and new
            o   Model
            o   Summarize and set goals for next session
       Use positive reinforcement and specific praise.
       International students
            o   Cultural and language barriers should be dealt with in a polite and friendly manner.
       Persons with disabilities
            o   “Person first designation.”
            o   Ask before you help.
Elements of Good Communication
       Good rapport
       Active listening
       Communicating with instructors
       Socratic method
Active Communication
       Verbal and non-verbal cues are important to watch and listen for.
       Tutor and tutee both must actively listen in order to have a successful learning session.
Study Skills
       time management
       note taking
       test prep/ test taking
       reading rate/comprehension
Ethical Integrity
       Tutors should focus on being role models and helping students become better learners.
       Avoid and discourage Academic Dishonesty & Plagiarism.

Importance of Questioning
      Evaluate what the tutee knows
      Help the tutee learn new material
      Check for comprehension
Learning Styles
      CAPSOL testing
      Styles of Learning
           o   Auditory/Kinesthetic/Visual
           o   Individual/Group
           o   Global/Sequential
           o   Oral/Written
International Students
      Tutors should be aware of personal biases and work to reduce prejudice.
      Understand the unique needs of international students with speech, writing, and reading
      Emphasize similarities versus differences.
      Speak clearly and avoid slang.
      Use repetition to explain concepts.
      Watch for the fake-light bulb effect.
Bloom’s Taxonomy
      Knowledge-memorization
      Comprehension-understanding enough to paraphrase
      Application- using knowledge for problem solving
      Analysis-breaking a big idea into small parts
      Synthesis-putting all the pieces together
      Evaluation-judging the quality and the value of information
Tutoring Online Students
      Know your software!
      Time management is important for the student.
      Self-discipline is key.
      Encourage students to contact instructors.

Suggestions for the Online Student
       Students paraphrase lecture notes to retain and understand the lesson.
       Review all correspondence before sending it and encourage students to do the same.
       Tutors should watch out for the online burn-out.
Importance of Test Proctoring
       Tutors may be asked to proctor for the Testing Center.
       Once a tutor agrees, further training will be required from the Testing Center staff before the tutor
        can actually proctor.
       There are three basic services.
            o    Extended time, readers, and scribes.
       Remember proctors can leave the testing room, but take the test with you and notify a staff
       Document any unusual events that occurred during the test.
Test Proctoring Procedures
       Arrive early
       No gum
       Read the test before administering it
       Ask any questions you have
       Make sure your paperwork is filled out properly
       Only answer questions regarding instructions
       Do not prompt the test taker
       Read only what is on the paper
       Write down word for word what is said by the test taker

Level III, Module 2
                                            Module 3.2
                           Reading Strategies for the College Student
      Learn the differences between kinds of textbooks.
      Learn ways to help students focus their reading and manage multiple or very large
       reading assignments.
      Discover why note taking is important while reading.
   One of the greatest challenges college students face is trying to read multiple books in a
single quarter. For students in multiple classes, they could be required to read anywhere from
three to twelve books in a ten week period, depending on which classes they have scheduled.
Even the strongest readers have difficulty managing such a load, and students with poor reading
skills may feel completely overwhelmed. There is hope, however, for all of these students. In this
Module, tutors will be given the techniques necessary to help every student get the most out of
every textbook, no matter what the class.
Different Kinds of Textbooks
       Most students and tutors both realize that there is a significant difference between a math
class and a literature class. However, many students do not alter their approach to reading
textbooks for these classes. Tutors must show their tutees that science books are not like novels
or newspapers, and thus, a different approach is needed when using such texts.
Science Textbooks
       Since most physical sciences are based on mathematics and theoretical concepts, the
books used in these classes are full of pictures, graphs, tables, and other interesting graphics.
These texts are also full of new terminology that students are often required to memorize and
       Physical science textbooks are not meant to be read from beginning to end. Instead,
students should think of these texts as a type of encyclopedia for the class lecture. If a student is
having difficulty with a particular topic as discussed in class, they can look up the information in
the textbook to find illustrations, examples, and possibly different explanations for the subject. If
students must read the chapters, they should read the introduction, summary, and review
questions first to focus their reading on the important topics. This way, tutees will get the most

out of their books rather than wasting time reading every word and forgetting it all the moment
they close the text.
Social Sciences
        Social science textbooks vary in the amount of illustrations presented. However, most
include some form of review questions, as well as summaries and introductions. Students should
use these resources to focus their reading, just as they did with the physical science textbooks.
However, social science textbooks should actually be read, since many social science instructors
use their lecture as a supplement for the text.
        If a textbook does not include tools within the chapter to help the student read actively,
then the tutor must present a new strategy. When headings are present, they should be turned into
questions which tutees then read to answer. Tutees can also read the introduction and summary,
if present, and then read only the first sentence of each paragraph. This will help students
understand the basic organization of the text and allow them to pick out the most important
details in the chapter.
        Students should also pay close attention to author biases. Often, an author will tend to
favor one theory or idea, and most of the text will focus on this idea rather than present an equal
amount of information about all viewpoints. If tutors or tutees see this kind of bias, it is
important to rely on lecture notes to fill in any gaps in the information presented in the book.
After all, instructors are the test-makers, and their opinions outweigh those of any textbook
author when it comes to studying.
        Perhaps the hardest books to wade through for most students are the novels presented in
literature classes. There are no review questions, no headings, and no introductions or summaries
to direct readers to the most important ideas. However, there are still a few tricks to help students
get through these heavy reading loads as well.
        First, students should try to take notes on the text as they read. Writing down information
about setting, characters, theme, plot, and any underlying purpose presented in the novel will
help students decide what information to study later. Lecture notes will also be valuable tools
when reading, especially if the students attend a class discussion before reading the text. While
most instructors discourage such behavior, the strong readers in the class typically lead the
discussions while those with poor reading skills simply give up long before they make it to the

lecture. If students absolutely cannot seem to keep up with the readings, encourage them to listen
to their classmates before they try reading.
       Students can also focus mostly on dialogue, rather than trying to read every word. Plot
tends to be advanced mostly through the speech of the characters, making the dialogue one of the
most important things for students to focus on while reading. If a student becomes lost or does
not understand what the characters are saying, they can simply go back a few paragraphs to
figure it out. Or, if reading just dialogue does not seem to be working, suggest that the student
read the first sentence of each paragraph as well. This will help fill in the gaps and give students
a basic idea of what is happening in the story.
       Finally, students can use extra materials, such as Spark notes or other internet resources
to find plot synopses, character summaries, and important ideas for most novels. This serves the
same purpose as reading the introduction and summary first in a social science textbook,
focusing the reader’s attention on the key points as they read.
Note taking
       Students often try to highlight textbooks as they read, thinking that this will make future
studying easier. As long as students are reading the introduction, summary, and review questions
first, highlighting is an acceptable method for annotating a text. However, tutors should
encourage students to take notes, either in the book or on another sheet of paper, as well as
highlight. This allows students to put ideas into their own words, find examples to focus on later,
and make connections between what they already know and what they are reading.
       While college reading can often be overwhelming for students, either because of the
amount required or the complexity, there is still hope for any student who is willing to learn the
proper techniques. Tutors should help students find methods for reading textbooks that meet both
the requirements of the class and the needs of the individual. Many of the ideas presented can
help even excellent readers decrease the amount of time spent reading textbooks and help later
when it is time to study for an exam.
This material was taken and adapted from Sue Opeka, Learning Skills Specialist, OSUN/COTC.

Level III, Module 3
                                                 Module 3.3
                                             Group Management
              Understand the value of learning in groups.
              Discover what the role of the tutor is during group sessions.
              Learn how to manage groups effectively.
         Due to the overwhelming demand for tutors, especially in math and science classes, many
tutors find themselves faced with the challenge of managing multiple students in the same
session. These group sessions can be quite demanding, especially for those who have never faced
such a situation before. The following module contains some information that will help tutors
learn to work with groups and ensure that the maximum amount of learning takes place for all
the tutees.
The First Session
     One of the most important meetings when trying to work with a group is the very first
session. Here, the tutor must set the foundations for a functional relationship amongst all
members that will carry through to the rest of the sessions. Group members need to:
            Know what is going to happen.
            Feel they are in a safe environment.
            Trust everyone in the group.
            Accept the role of the tutor as facilitator.
            Agree to follow the ground rules.
            Actively engage in the group’s discussions.

   The first meeting between all group members should include a few moments to allow
everyone to get to know each other. Students will feel more comfortable sharing ideas and asking
questions if they are familiar with those around them, especially once they realize that everyone
is there for similar reasons. Tutors can help encourage this socialization by:
      Introducing everyone.
      Sharing some information about oneself, such as major or hobbies.
      Asking questions about each member’s background and interests.
      Being friendly and courteous to create a light, open atmosphere.
Setting Ground Rules
       Ground rules are important in any group situation. They promote effective group
interactions, create a respectful and safe environment for learning, and keep the group on task.
After introductions are made, the next few minutes of the initial tutoring session should be spent
establishing these rules that will guide future meetings.
       As facilitators, tutors are expected to contribute some general rules. However, it is also
important to let group members add their own ideas based on previous experiences to reinforce
the democratic nature of the group. Participants are more likely to agree to the set of rules and
follow them if they have played a part in the formation of these guidelines.
       If a ground rule is broken, it is up to the facilitator as well as other group members to
remind the individual of the rules. One way to ensure that these rules remain fresh in tutees’
minds is to post a copy of the rules somewhere nearby, or to bring a copy to each session. This
way, the behavioral agreement that was established at the first session can be quickly and easily
referenced to avoid conflict.
       Be sure to make the ground rules for group sessions simple and easy to enforce. For
example, do not tell tutees that they must bring homework to every session or the will be forced
to stand in the corner, since enforcing such a rule with adults would be nearly impossible and
would only lead to feelings of distrust and frustration amongst group members. It should also be
noted that these rules can be altered as the meetings progress, giving tutees the ability to adapt
the rules to meet their changing needs.
       These examples of ground rules may help tutors get started, but they should not be
considered mandatory for group sessions. Tutors should select the rules that seem most
applicable and that the rest of the group can agree upon.

For Group Members:
        Let members speak without interruption.
        Questions are welcome as long as they are not presented while another is expressing an
         idea or asking a question.
        Do not criticize group members.
        Only one subject can be discussed at a time.
For Facilitators:
        Ensure the physical comfort of all members. If the group is very large, choose an area
         with plenty of room for everyone.
        Check with group members to ensure they all understand the rules of working in a group
        Communicate with everyone. Do not let one person dominate the session.
        Avoid giving personal opinions about subjects. Stick to the relevant information.
        Maintain a positive atmosphere.
        Give everyone time to answer questions or complete practice problems.
        Check for understanding in every member after practice.
Group Conflict
         Despite a facilitator’s best efforts, conflict within groups does occasionally become a
concern. If the group seems to be arguing frequently at the expense of their learning, the tutor
must find a way to prevent such problems before they begin. The first step is to check the group
         Groups are made up of individuals, who can have very different ideas or opinions. When
the backgrounds of these individuals are so different that they can no longer work with others as
a team, then it is up to the tutor to find an alternative that will benefit all parties. Often, a tutor
can suggest breaking up the group, or moving some members into other groups that may have
similar beliefs to reduce the conflict between individuals.
         Another source of conflict within a group is the atmosphere of the group. If the group has
a defensive climate, then members may feel they are being judged or criticized by those around
them. One member may be dominating the sessions, making the others feel their questions and
ideas are unimportant. If members feel the facilitator is not addressing their concerns, they may

begin to demonstrate a lack of commitment to learning, making the tutor’s job that much more
        Therefore, it is crucial that the tutor try to create a supportive atmosphere for the group.
All members should be allowed to express themselves openly and honestly without fear of
ridicule. The group’s attention should remain focused on the task at hand. But most importantly,
the facilitator should ask for members to share their thoughts and participate, listening carefully
to everyone and providing a climate conducive to learning.
        Groups can be difficult to manage, but by helping members get to know each other,
setting firm rules at the first session, and taking the necessary steps to reduce conflict amongst
group members, tutors will find that group sessions can be extremely beneficial to the tutees.
Research has shown that adult learners retain more knowledge from working in groups than by
working individually, and using the strategies presented above, tutors can use this information to
their advantage.
This material was taken and adapted from: Borchers, T. (2004). Group Meetings.

Level III, Module 4
                                           Module 3.4
                              Structuring the Learning Experience

         Understand the value of structured learning.
         Discover what the role of the tutor is in developing knowledge structures.
         Learn techniques to improve students’ knowledge structures.
The Importance of Structure
         What makes structure such an important part of the learning process? How can tutors
help students use structured learning to their advantage during a session? These are very
important questions for both tutors and tutees, since research has proven that certain learning
formats and practices make it easier to retain and recall information at appropriate times. This
module will present information on how memory works and what tutors can do to help students
take advantage of this knowledge.
         Researchers refer to the interconnected networks that store information in a person’s
long-term memory as knowledge structures. The size of a person’s knowledge structures, the
number and strength of connections between these structures, and the organization of
relationships all have an impact on one’s ability to process information and solve problems.
         By organizing information and connecting it to prior knowledge in a variety of ways, it
becomes easier to retrieve the information and use it to solve unfamiliar problems. If a student
encounters a science problem that involves using a particular formula, such as finding the
amount of work done on an object given a force and distance, the student is more likely to
remember that formula if they have formed a strong connection between the definition of work
and its mathematical representation. Likewise, if a student can remember that work is measured
in Joules, and the definition of a Joule is easy to recall, then the formula will be more meaningful
to the student and easier to remember.
         One of the most important things to remember as a tutor is that more and stronger
connections between pieces of information make it possible for a student to use one piece of the
network to retrieve the entire pattern. Helping students reinforce the connections in their
knowledge networks and form new connections for new information will make it easier to recall

the entire network. It can also prove useful in freeing up space in the student’s working memory.
This means that they will be able to use their knowledge to reflect on the new information and
use it to solve problems.
       Remember, the biggest difference between a novice and an expert in any field is the
individual’s knowledge structures. Experts tend to have large, well organized networks with
many strong connections between a variety of items stored in their long-term memories.
Therefore, experts are more adept at finding patterns and using them in new situations. The goal
of the tutor should be to help students move from their status as novice to expert in a subject
simply by developing these more sophisticated knowledge structures.
The Basics of Structure
       There are three simple ways that tutors can greatly enhance a tutee’s knowledge
structures in a specific area. These basic techniques will help increase the number of pieces of
information located in the student’s long term memory, organize the information, and increase
both the strength and number of connections between the pieces.
       First, tutors should help students develop their background knowledge in the subject. The
best way to do this is to give the tutee plenty of reading material. This will add to the number of
pieces of knowledge the student has in short term memory. To move the information into long
term memory, tutors should review old materials often, practice using the knowledge to solve
problems, and discuss the new information thoroughly. These practices will also ensure that the
connections between pieces of information are strong and help students link the new pieces to
the old in a variety of ways.
       Second, tutors should help students organize new information. Often, students find it
difficult to sort through pieces of information presented to them by another source, such as a
lecture or textbook. The job of the tutor is to help the tutees learn to use a variety of methods to
help organize their knowledge. Such methods include graphic organizers, outlining, and
summarizing information.
       Finally, tutors should provide tutees with a chance to review what they have learned. By
asking students to summarize what they have read, put information into their own words,
compare and contrast specific information, and apply old ideas to new situations, tutors are
strengthening old connections and creating new ones within their knowledge structures.

Other Tips to Improve Student Learning
         In studying teachers, researchers have discovered that the effective teachers all share
some specific techniques in their class structures. Those techniques have been adapted here for
tutors to use as well.
Tips for Structuring a Session:
        Begin with a short review of old material.
        Present new material in small steps and provide an opportunity for the student to practice
         after each step.
        Give clear and detailed explanations and instructions.
        Ask lots of questions and allow the student sufficient time to answer each one.
        Guide the student during the initial practice.
        Give frequent constructive feedback.
     Remember that it is important to give tutees frequent opportunities to answer questions and
explain the material in their own words. This gives tutors a chance to correct any misconceptions
the student may have before those ideas are stored in long term memory. Therefore, tutors should
present material in small steps, checking for understanding after each one.
     The development of meaningful knowledge structures is the key to storing material that is
easy to recall and applying that information to new situations. Tutors should encourage students
to use all available resources to help organize their knowledge, create connections between old
and new information, and strengthen connections that already exist. By helping students learn the
techniques listed above, tutors will not only help tutees succeed in specific classes, but also make
it possible for tutees to overall become better students.

Material adapted from: Chapter 10 in J.W. Lloyd, E.J. Kameanui, and D. Chard (Eds.) (1997)
Issues in educating students with disabilities. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum: Pp. 197-221.

Level III, Module 5
                                              Module 3.5
                                          Organizational Skills
           Understand the value of organization in the learning process.
           Discover what the role of the tutor is in developing organizational skills.
           Learn techniques to improve students’ organizational skills.

           The world is an increasingly complex place, and students often find their lives becoming
more demanding with each passing day. Students may find themselves feeling anxious,
depressed, or just overwhelmed because they cannot keep up with deadlines or meet specific
goals. One of the most effective tools for dealing with the demands of school and other
obligations is organization. However, tutors who are also students may find that they cannot help
students organize their lives because they themselves are not organized. The following
information is intended to help tutors structure their lives as well as to provide tips for tutors to
pass along to tutees.
Tips for Getting Organized
           Organization may seem challenging, especially when the chaos of busy schedules,
homework, and exams becomes overwhelming. These tips may help students sort through the
mess and make some sense out of their busy lives.
For Specific Classes:
          List all the assignments for the class and their due dates, based on the syllabus.
          Estimate the time needed to finish each assignment. Use information gathered from
           previous students or personal experience, and be realistic.
          Set up a detailed schedule for each day at least one week in advance. Be sure to include
           study times, class times, and any other commitments.
          Create a list of goals for the week and try to meet all those goals before the next Monday.

At Home:
        Use a large Master Calendar to write down appointments, deadlines, and other major
        Establish daily routines.
        Put important materials in one place.
        Set aside a time each week to sort out clutter.
        Eat, sleep, and exercise regularly.
        Be flexible.
         Tutors should model organizational skills for others and help tutees find ways of reducing
clutter and stress in their educational endeavors. Using these ideas will help students meet goals
and deadlines, thus improving their self esteem and reducing stress.

Material adapted from: Organizational Skills to Save Your Semester. (2004).

Level III, Module 6
                                            Module 3.6
                             Supervising and Training Other Tutors
       Understand the role of the Master Tutor as a supervisor in the Tutoring Center.
       Learn ways to communicate effectively with other tutors and Tutoring Center staff.
       Discover why feedback is important for all employees.
       Learn to evaluate the performance of other tutors and provide constructive criticism to
        improve their tutoring skills.
       Find ways to manage conflict in a positive way.
Supervising and Evaluating Tutors
        At the Tutoring Center, Master Level tutors are considered “supervisors” of the lab. This
means that they have the experience and background necessary to handle difficult situations, as
well as provide support to other tutors and the Tutoring Center staff. Whenever tutors with less
experience encounter a situation that requires solutions beyond their knowledge, Master Tutors
are expected to provide the encouragement necessary to resolve the problem and help the novice
tutors learn new skills to help the tutee succeed. Master Tutors are also required to perform
evaluations of the other tutors in the lab, providing constructive criticism to improve the quality
of tutoring in the Tutoring Center. However, Master Tutors will not be given the task of
constantly monitoring a specific group of tutors, nor will they be expected to hold team meetings
or use team management skills to complete projects as most supervisors are. Rather, the Master
Tutor’s supervision is more of a mentoring position in which both Master and novice tutors learn
from one another and discover new paths to learning through cooperation.
        Content knowledge is an essential attribute of a tutor; however to be truly effective, a
tutor must combine knowledge with many other characteristics. According to managerial
research, 15% of the reason a job is retained is determined by the holder’s technical knowledge,
skills, and expertise. The other 85% of the reason people advance in their careers is related to
their knowledge of people and their people skills. All tutors must use effective communication,
but this is especially important to supervising tutors. It is also critical that supervising tutors
understand how to give feedback to other tutors and how to resolve conflicts that might arise in
the Tutoring Center.

        According to The National Crime Prevention Council, approximately 75 percent of a
supervisor’s time is spent either talking or listening (1; ch.1). This is true for Master level tutors,
as they are given the task of supervising other less experienced tutors. To become a good
supervisor requires three basic communication skills: Active Listening, Providing Feedback, and
Conflict Management. Once these three areas are mastered, the supervising tutors will be able to
not only communicate effectively with other tutors, they will also have the ability to manage
larger groups in general and establish a functional relationship with other office staff.
Active listening: As we have previously discussed, active listening is a way of proving to a
speaker that their ideas are being heard and understood through the use of body language, facial
expressions, and paraphrasing. Tutors must be careful that the words they use hold the same
meaning for the person with whom they are communicating. Often the meaning is interpreted as
much from how something is said as it is from what is being said. Therefore, eye contact and
body language are crucial to communication. Send a consistent message by making words, tone
of voice, facial expressions, and gestures match the message. Stay focused on the present.
Listening Blocks: There are many things that can interfere with listening. The following list of
examples was adapted from the National Crime Prevention Council’s resource guide entitled,
“Becoming a Better Supervisor.” It describes many things that can hinder a supervising tutor’s
ability to listen and manage other tutors effectively. (National Crime Prevention Council)
Comparing               Saying “I have more information or experience...”
Mind Reading            Saying “I know what you’re really thinking...” or “I know exactly how you
Rehearsing              Preparing what you will say before the other is done
Filtering               Selective listening
Judging                 Jumping to a quick decision, labeling
Dreaming                Getting lost in your own private associations
Identifying             Confusing the other’s need with your own
Advising                Immediately suggesting a course of action, without being asked
Sparring                Disagreeing: “Yes, but”—also known as playing the devil’s advocate
Being Right             Maintaining an unshakable point of view
Derailing               Changing the subject
Placating               Pretending to agree
Criticizing             Explaining how the person is wrong
Threatening             Talking about negative consequences

       Although tutors do not need to have a degree in education to be effective, it is important
that they have a strong background in communication skills, study skills, relational skills, and
learning principles. Effective communication is not only needed between tutor and tutee but can
enhance tutor cooperation, the quality of decision making by the coordinator, and the level of
commitment to the Tutoring Center by the campus administration.
Providing Feedback: Evaluating Tutors
       The goal in developing a model for evaluating the performance of the tutors in the
Tutoring Center is to assure that all tutors not only have adequate knowledge of the discipline in
which they tutor, but also practice many learner-centered principles to facilitate individualized
structured tutoring experiences. Tutoring Center evaluations are a comparison of what occurred
during an actual tutoring session with a list of assessment criteria based on the areas of emphasis
in our tutor training program. The purposes of tutor evaluations are to:
    provide a formal and consistent method for documenting tutoring standards
    facilitate communication between tutors and between tutors and the Tutoring Center
    promote and maintain job efficiency
    determine training needs
    Tutor evaluations are based on numerous criteria. Some areas of interest include:
    What is the tutor’s record of attendance and punctuality?
    Is the tutor dependable?
    Is the tutor consistently organized and prepared for the tutoring session?
    Does the tutor display patience toward the tutee and enthusiasm toward the subject area?
    Does the tutor communicate well with the tutee as well as other staff members?
    Is the tutor knowledgeable, a good resource, and able to guide the tutee?
    Is the level of explanation provided too elementary, too advanced, or appropriate to the
       needs of the tutee?
    Does the tutor display concern for the tutee?
    Is the tutor’s attitude encouraging, respectful, and supportive?
    Does the tutor give positive reinforcement to assist the tutee in becoming more confident
       in his/her own abilities?

      Is the tutee made to feel welcome?
      Does the tutor shown creativity and innovation?
      Does the tutor use alternate methods of explaining content and give examples that may
        help the tutee better understand?
      Does the tutor use probing questions to encourage the tutee to actively participate in the
      Does the tutor cooperate with staff and faculty as needed?
      Does the tutor illustrate good record keeping skills in the preparation of progress reports?

        Following the observation of a representative tutoring session, it is recommended that the
evaluator meet with the tutor being evaluated. When meeting with tutors to discuss their
performance, be sure to follow some basic guidelines:
      Be prepared.
      Go over the evaluation form point by point.
      Whenever possible, describe and demonstrate how something is to be done.
      Give and allow feedback.
      Provide specific, supporting comments.
      Be respectful and professional.
      Do not get personal.
      Comment on the performance, not the person.
      Critique the behavior exhibited in the tutoring session and not the personality
        characteristics of the tutor.
      Ask the tutor if he/she agrees with the assessment.
      How does the tutor see any weaknesses?
      Ask the tutor for his/her views and opinions.
      Use open-ended questions.
      Really listen.
      Do not allow emotion to get in the way of real communication.

       Providing feedback to other tutors can be a delicate task. Often, there are behaviors that
need to be corrected in order to enhance the learning that occurs during tutoring sessions. To
help in providing corrective feedback, we recommend the DESC Model.
DESC Model:
Describe the problem behavior.
Express why that behavior is a problem.
Specify what should be done instead, allowing the tutor to add ideas or make suggestions.
Clarify the consequences for changing or failing to change the behavior.
       Remember that when evaluating a tutor, the focus should not just be the things that were
done poorly, but also the things that were exceptional. Give praise for a job well done when it is
deserved, and try to use those positive comments to soften the impact of the corrective feedback.
(National Crime Prevention Council)
       Feedback is clearly an important component of supervising tutors. After the initial
observation, the supervising tutor should sit down and discuss the results in a friendly manner.
This conversation should be the beginning of an ongoing dialogue about improving tutoring. An
evaluator can become a coach or mentor to a tutor. Most tutors want to do their best and have a
genuine interest in helping their tutees. Evaluators can provide positive reinforcement of good
work or corrective feedback in a positive manner when improvement is needed. The evaluator
and the tutor can set future goals together to continue to improve tutoring. Together, tutors can
determine what changes need to be made so that the Tutoring Center not only survives but
actually thrives.
Conflict Management
       No matter how good a supervisor is, conflict is inevitable when working with diverse
populations. When a conflict arises, it is because the goals, methods, values, needs, or ideas of
two or more people clash in some manner. To resolve these conflicts, use Active Listening and
the DESC Model to help both sides of the argument understand one another and ease the tension
that exists. Statements beginning with “I” are preferred to the more accusatory “you” statements.
By using sensitive language and making sure that everyone understands the root of the conflict,
the supervising tutor will be able to manage the situation in a calm and productive way.

The steps to resolving conflict are:
     1. Use Active Listening to calm emotions.
     2. Be aware that people respond to conflict differently (Thomas-Kilmann Model).
     3. Ask questions to begin negotiations.
            a. What has the other side done or not done that bothers you? (Collecting many
                details about the conflict will make it easier to determine what steps must be taken
                to correct behaviors.)
            b. How do you feel about that? (This may be very obvious!)
            c. Why is this so important?
            d. What do you want the other side to do or not do instead?
            e. What are the consequences if the other side does or does not make the necessary
                changes? (Determining consequences may not be the supervising tutor’s
                responsibility, depending on the situation.)
     4. Use the answers to the above questions to begin creating solutions that are beneficial to
        both sides.
     5. Help both sides agree upon a plan of actions with clearly defined tasks, responsibilities,
        and deadlines.
     The Thomas-Kilmann Model of conflict management styles can also help supervising tutors
understand how they manage conflict. By knowing what style of conflict management is typical
for an individual, supervising tutors can adapt just as they adapt teaching styles to a student’s
learning style. The Thomas-Kilmann Model is explained in Appendix B. (National Crime
Prevention Council)
Common Mistakes of New Supervisors
        New supervisors often have good intentions but they have not yet acquired the
knowledge or developed the skills needed to supervise effectively. Awareness of some common
mistakes and their potential negative effects can be eye-opening and hopefully keep tutor trainers
from starting out on the wrong foot.

Mistake #1: Hoarding Power
       One error that new supervisors often make is hoarding their new power. Rather than
making all decisions, supervisors can empower others by allowing them to make the practical
decisions needed to accomplish the job. It is a poor idea to require tutors to produce results
without allowing them the freedom to develop the strategies that best employ their own strengths
and styles. Demanding a result without allowing the tutor to help decide the path that will
achieve the result is frustrating for the tutor and very inefficient. The supervisor might assist in
the development of teams or interest groups to tackle problems as they arise. Also, the
supervisor may be able to remove stumbling blocks or hurdles that stand in the way of
accomplishing the task at hand.
Mistake #2: Failure to Set and Reinforce Clear Expectations
       Describing the desired behavior in a given situation clearly and concisely should be done
the moment a tutor joins the Tutoring Center team. The Tutoring Center Coordinator and Master
tutors have compiled a list of performance and behavioral expectations for new tutors to review
called the Tutor Responsibility Form. This may include the way tutors should deal with the
office staff, tutees, the Tutoring Center Coordinator, and other tutor training supervisors. This
list is explained to new tutors during their initial interview. However, as new issues emerge, the
list of expectations is updated. This new policy form is distributed to all tutors at the beginning
of the quarter in which the policy change goes into effect. Any questions or concerns about these
changes should be brought to the attention of the Tutoring Center Coordinator immediately.
Mistake #3: Allowing Problems to Continue and Escalate
       Do not assume people are self-correcting. Letting problems go unaddressed will not
make them go away. Instead, by delaying the confrontation, the supervising tutor makes the
problem more complicated. The more a behavior is repeated, the more difficult it becomes to
correct. Waiting also makes the details of the events or behavior in question less clear. As time
goes by, it becomes more difficult to recall specific details for both parties.
       However, a supervising tutor must be careful not to overreact to situations. Choose your
battles wisely. Develop your ability to distinguish between what is a problem and what is not.
When in doubt, ask for someone else’s advice or perspective. This allows the supervising tutor to
correct problem behaviors effectively without alienating the other Tutoring Center employees.

Mistake #4: Failure to Communicate with Difficult People
          Fight the urge to avoid difficult people. When mistakes are made by tutors, a private
conversation should be used to discuss the issues. No one likes to be corrected in front of an
audience. An isolated location or safe place and a quiet tone of voice should be used to discuss
the areas which need improvement. It is demeaning to broadcast an individual’s evaluation to
          If the problem is a personality clash, supervisors should consult other Tutoring Center
Staff before confronting the individual. Often times, supervising tutors will discover that what
they consider a problem behavior is only a problem for them. In these situations, try to change
the way you react to the individual’s behavior. If a tutor has a habit of becoming very defensive
in almost any situation, try to take a less aggressive approach to discussions. Remember, it is
nearly impossible to change another person’s behavior; changing one’s own attitude and
approach is much more realistic.
Mistake #5: Taking the Matter Personally
          Sometimes supervisors personalize a matter and become upset, disappointed, or angry
with a tutor when something goes wrong. If a tutor is not behaving in an appropriate manner, the
supervising tutor’s job is to bring this to the individual’s attention
          The tutor should have the opportunity to hear what the supervisor believes is
unacceptable behavior. Guidance should be offered regarding the acceptable behavior in the
situation. The tutor should be given the opportunity to demonstrate that they can perform the
acceptable behavior. Once a problem has been identified for a tutor, it is theirs to address and
Mistake #6: Burning Bridges
          On the other hand, we should not act as if “familiarity breeds contempt.” A promotion to
a supervisory role should not demand the destruction of valuable relationships that have taken
time and energy to build. Whereas new supervisors sometimes think their new role requires
distance from those being supervised, this attitude can be interpreted as arrogance, aloofness, or
          It is often difficult to make the switch from one being supervised to one doing the
supervision. Those being observed may be friends with whom the supervisors empathize. In this
case, the new supervisor may side with those being supervised and blame others with more

power for problems or lack of support. In contrast, other new supervisors may do the opposite
and separate themselves from former associates by complaining of their lack of work ethic,
drive, and determination. Remember to always treat others as you would want to be treated. Do
not “bark” commands but rather discuss suggestions. Often employees see the supervisor from
below as representing the organization, while, from above, the same person is held accountable
for the development of the team. The challenge for the supervisors is to balance the needs of the
Tutoring Center with those of individual tutors.
Mistake #7: Failure to Seek Feedback
        New supervisors often fail to ask for feedback on their performance in their new job.
Perhaps it is a feeling of insecurity that inhibits their request for an evaluation of their
performance. It is better to know where one’s weaknesses lie so that those areas can be
strengthened. It is with this in mind that the evaluations of tutors include not only new tutors, but
also those moving up in training levels and Master tutors who have completed all levels of
Mistake #8: Engaging in Illegal Activities
        A major mistake that some supervisors make is to follow poor examples of behavior
sometimes observed in the workplace. Whenever one performs an unethical or questionable
practice, one is risking personal sanctions as well as institutional sanctions for the Tutoring
Center. As an example, sexual harassment will not be tolerated in the Tutoring Center.
According to COTC’s Harassment Policy, “Conduct whether verbal, non-verbal, or physical
constitutes harassment if it creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or academic
environment that unreasonably interferes with work or academic performance or negatively
affects an individual’s employment or academic opportunities.” (Central Ohio Technical
College) Sexual harassment, then is listed as including unwelcome sexual advances, requests for
sexual favors, and other physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature that is either made a
condition for employment and/or academic status or interferes with the victim’s performance at
work and/or school by creating a hostile, offensive, or intimidating environment. (Central Ohio
Technical College)
        One basic type of harassment would be where a supervisor makes job-related decisions
such as who is promoted or gets a particularly desirable assignment based on who will perform
sexual favors. A second type of sexual harassment is where a co-worker engages in sexual

behavior that makes another person feel uncomfortable. If Fred approaches Jane and tells a dirty
joke that makes Jane feel uncomfortable, Fred could be guilty of sexual harassment. To avoid
sexually harassing a co-worker, a supervisor should not engage in any relationship with co-
workers that is not a professional one. Do not use offensive language or tell dirty jokes on
campus. Do not bring sexually related items like pornographic magazines, lingerie, or gag gifts
to school. Handshakes are usually regarded as acceptable behavior but please be aware of any
cultural differences that might make such contact unwanted. Any other physical contact could be
considered harassment.
       As a second example of behavior to avoid, consider the ramifications of the Privacy Act.
This law limits the ability to discuss personal information about an employee to only those that
need to know. If you have a negative feeling about a person, do not discuss that feeling in casual
conversation or thoughtless emails. Remember that confidentiality is crucial to the integrity of
the Tutoring Center.
       It is important to realize that there is no one best way to supervise tutors. New
supervisors often equate different methods of supervision with showing favoritism and, as such,
should be avoided. Supervisors should conduct group meetings or training sessions to explain
how different methods of supervision may work better in some cases rather than others. New
supervisors should guard against generalizing about what is best for tutors and instead should
allow tutors to verbalize what they expect, want, and need. By coaching other tutors, the
supervising tutors will develop skills that can be carried with them throughout their lives, making
them strong leaders and excellent educators.

                                          Works Cited
Central Ohio Technical College. "Harassment Policy 2.1.20." Newark, OH: Central Ohio
       Technical College, 1 October 2008.
National Crime Prevention Council. Becoming a Better Supervisor: A Resource Guide for
       National and Community Service Supervisors. Washington, DC: National Crime
       Prevention Council, 1996.

Appendix: Requirements

                                              Level III: Master Tutor
      The Tutoring Center certifies its tutors as College Reading and Learning Association
(CRLA) tutors. The Level III requirements are listed below with an estimated time needed to
complete each task. This level of training is optional.
You are required to complete Level III requirements by the end of the quarter/semester in
which you began Level III training.
   Review Levels 1 and 2 training and complete Modules 3.1 through 3.7 of the Tutor Training
    Program by attending the associated workshops. Complete all four Level III essay quizzes.
    (ten hours)
   Complete the Level III Tutor Training Project by selecting from the list below or present an
    alternative idea to the Tutoring Center Coordinator for approval. Level III tutors must spend
    a minimum of 4 hours on this project based on the estimated completion times given. (4
   Complete 25 hours of tutoring. The Tutoring Center Coordinator will notify the tutor when
    25 hours have been completed.
Choose Options from the following list to complete the final stage of Level III. A total of
four hours of training needs to be completed by combining the different options listed
   Arrange to meet with a faculty member in your area of tutoring. Visit him/her during office
    hours and discuss ways in which the tutor can better assist that instructor’s students.
    Complete a one-page reflection about the discussion. (1 hour)
   Arrange a meeting with a college administrator (dean, vice-president, president). Visit
    him/her and discuss the importance of tutoring and the Tutoring Center services and how it
    fits into OSUN/COTC’s educational system. Complete a one-page reflection about the
    discussion. (1 hour)
   Create a training video that would be placed in the Tutoring Center for future tutors to use
    during their training. The Tutoring Center Coordinator must approve the topic of the video.
    (4 hours)
   Attend a conference and/or workshop other than those already required for Level 3
    concerning topics related to tutor training. The conference or workshop needs to be
    approved by the Tutoring Center Coordinator. (4 hours)
   Observe a math tutor session and a session in one of the other areas (Chemistry, Writing, or
    Spanish) and complete the compare/contrast worksheet. (2 hours)
   Serve as a mentor tutor for a beginning tutor. (time subject to activity)
   If you have an idea to satisfy some and/or all of these four training hours, discuss the idea
    with a Master Tutor, and then submit the idea to the Tutoring Center Coordinator to gain

 NOTE: Work completed for the Tutor Certification at Level III will become the property of the Tutoring Center and will be
used for the purpose of maintaining the Tutoring Center Tutor Program as a viable source of training for future tutors.

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