How to have a successful tuition

What I expect of my tutees

With a view to obtaining the best outcome to your tuition there are 2 strands to what I expect from you:

  • Preparation
    • you need to prepare for a tutorial by having questions that you want answered
  • Participation
    • you need to respond to my questions
    • ask about things that arise in the course of the session that you are not sure about, you must not sit back and let things wash over you
    • be prepared to use the whiteboard or use some other means to share your working

Most tutees do seem to understand the importance of these two strands and it is very rare for me to have to end tuition. 

However if I feel that a tutee is not making the most of the opportunity presented by having a personal tutor then I reserve the right to end the sessions.

It has been my experience that when the tutee leads the tutorial with their input the sessions are better appreciated by the tutee. In other words tuition works best when you take an active part in your tuition. There needs to be a pull from the tutee rather than a push from the tutor.

It is better to ask more focussed and specific questions than to invite a lecture on eg trigonometry. I do try to give overviews of topics but in context arising out of specific questions.

For each tutorial aim to have 2 or 3 things that you want to go over and either think of a question that illustrates your difficulty or find a question or exercise from a textbook or worksheet that you want to try with me. The former is the more active but I appreciate that it is also the more difficult course. However that should be our aim; to get you asking questions in your own words. I will be pushing you to ask better questions, and count that as a sign of progress (or lack of progress).

To that end I do not issue homework other than the following:

  • my request to you each week is
    • that you think about your maths
    • try to understand it by asking questions — particularly the question why? what is the reason?
    • reflect on what it is that you find difficult
      • and again to ask why, what is the difficulty?

If that sounds not very onerous then let me say that is not the case. What I am asking of you in the above is in fact very difficult but if you can stick with it you are increasing your chances of a good pass in any assessment of your maths. Please note that you need also to ensure that you do your class homework in order to get the practice in acquiring necessary skills.

I will not be there with you in any exam, and obviously I am unable to assist you in any other form of assessment, and so we need to work together to foster in you the resources which will enable you to do your best on your own when you are being assessed.

If I do suspect that I am being co-opted into helping with work that will be assessed then I will end the sessions. With the right support and encouragement to think for yourself you are perfectly capable of learning maths and being able to obtain a good pass on your own. So please take that on board and adjust your mindset accordingly.

See my page Things that make THINK ABOUT YOUR MATHS easier.

Structure of a session

  • Warm up (optional)— basic maths revision eg for H maths powers/indices/exponents etc
  • Prepped bit (optional)— eg checking on previous week, say, CTS
  • Tutee’s bitWhat questions do you have this week? This will be the bulk of the tutorial session.
  • Summary
    • what we did in the session
    • what questions were asked
      • can we ask better questions?
    • can we improve our solutions?
    • chance to ask if any clarification is needed
  • Reminder to think about your maths/revise your maths
    • we will tackle exam questions on a topic when you indicate that it is completed in class
    • other study tips
  • Your feedback on the tutorial— I will ask you at the end and in the middle of the tutorial
  • Resources
    • HSN notes for SQA HIGHER
    • Desmos
    • SQA website — for past paper questions