Four important ways tutors can ensure feedback is incorporated into sessions.
Never underestimate the power of effective feedback and how it can enhance your tutoring sessions. It can fundamentally change how students learn new information and how well they progress over time. However, there are different types of feedback, and knowing when and how to use them is important. Positive feedback can encourage a student to try harder. Constructive feedback can help a student correct errors, but can also make a student defensive. Here are four simple steps to incorporate feedback into your tutoring sessions:
1. Stay focused on the major problem
When tutoring a student, you may see a great deal of room for improvement right off the bat in many areas, but stay focused. Instead of giving feedback on all the mistakes that come up in a students’ work, evaluate determine the most imperative error to correct and hone in on it. Once the student has a breakthrough on one mistake, you can move on to the next one, but bombarding the student with many errors at once could lead to a decrease in confidence, causing them to shut down.
2. Time your delivery appropriately
Feedback is best when it is shared in real time and when it directly connects to your student’s error. Instead of reviewing feedback at the end of a tutoring session, carefully time it to ensure it is peppered throughout your time together. This doesn’t apply to verbal comments alone — written feedback should be annotated throughout student work to strengthen its impact. Explicit references keep the students’ attention focused.
3. Keep it positively balanced
As a tutor, you’ll likely come across many situations where potential feedback for your students isn’t exactly favorable but should be shared nonetheless. While you may be pointing out faults, you should focus on your delivery to have an encouraging tone with an emphasis on improvements along with shortcomings. Acknowledge what has been done well and, especially, be sure to stress positivity when you see the application of previous feedback.
4. Be actionable
The most important purpose of a tutor’s feedback is to lead students to an improved outcome. In addition to correcting errors, suggest next steps and ask questions that will push students’ thinking. Example: “Now that you have a good understanding of how to write the thesis of your paper, what do you think should be the next step of developing your outline?”
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