5 Tips for Tutoring Elementary School Students

By Ian Acosta on February 14, 2017
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Tutoring is a great activity to undertake outside of class. Not only does it help pad your resume with a great interpersonal activity, it also demonstrates an ability to teach, lead, and, most of all, help. This is especially the case when working with younger elementary school students.

Tutors help create a groundwork for success, act as educational role models, help make learning exciting, and teach essential skills in core subjects like math, science, and reading. While tutoring can sometimes be a tall task, it can also help make a significant difference in a child’s life.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when tutoring elementary students.

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1. Be Patient

Patience is an important trait for all tutors but is especially important when working with younger students. You were a kid once, and I’m sure you can somewhat remember how intimidating it was to work with someone older than you. The important thing to remember is to take the time to make sure they grasp and learn the material as best as possible.

Will there be some setbacks and bumps? Sure. However, as the tutor, your job is to help them through each of those while also building their confidence in the subject. Most of all, they want to be appreciated and recognized for the hard work they do, so when they succeed be sure to give them a high-five or to tell them good job.

2. Define a Schedule

Having an agenda for each tutoring session will allow both you and the student to get the most out of the limited time you two have together. Kids this age may or may not always be accurate in giving feedback on how they feel their progress is going.

What is the best way to ensure the student not only is taught the material but also learns it? Get in touch with their teachers and parents. They are the ones who interact with the student the most so they would be able to provide a better idea of how the student is actually progressing and what the focus should be on going forward.

However, do not shut out the student completely. Their opinion is just as important to what they want to learn and comprehend as what you plan to teach them.

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3. Exude Positivity

A positive mindset in the tutoring relationship is crucial for success. The student should be excited and have a positive attitude to learn, and it is the tutor’s job to both create and foster that dynamic. Again, think back to when you were a kid. Didn’t you love it when your parents or teachers got you excited about something and it then caused you to be excited and ecstatic? Same example.

Take the time to listen to your student’s thoughts and struggles. From there, constantly highlight what they do well and encourage them to build off of it. From that, your student will be more eager and excited to keep learning because of how well they do in other areas.

4. Make the Learning Fun

Again, think back to when you were young. Didn’t you find it a bit monotonous to keep doing multiplication tables over and over and over and over again? Or to just read the same story and be repeatedly asked questions regarding it? Develop some ways to make the learning fun for your student. This will help them not only remain attentive and engaged throughout tutoring but also to retain the knowledge better and be excited to learn more.

Incorporate their favorite toy, TV show, or superhero, and build some activities around with which they are already familiar. Also, be sure to work in some jokes so that they become familiar with your personality. If your student sees this intimidating, stern adult, they are going to be scared and it will lead to an uncomfortable tutoring relationship.

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5. Incorporate Technology

Technology in learning is becoming increasingly common in the classroom. From smartboards to interactive games on the computer, teachers are starting to incorporate various ways to teach students both about technology and core subjects.

Tutors can do the same! Research some online sites to find flashcards, word comprehension, science problems, and more. Consult with the student’s parents to see how familiar he or she is with technology at home. Some families tend to limit children’s use of technology while others encourage it. However, kids love bright, flashy things and technology will at least get them interested in what you are trying to show them.

Hopefully, these tips provided some insight on how to work with younger students. The biggest point to stress is to be patient and work with them every step of the way. From there, you can be a big proponent of a student’s growth.

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