Tutor Training - Part 2: Effective Facilitation and Relationship Building

In this National Student Support Accelerator video, we’ll be continuing with our webinar series on tutor training. As the second part of this series, this video will cover effective facilitation strategies and guidelines, as well as how to foster strong relationships between tutors and students.

When considering effective facilitation guidelines, establishing group norms with students is an opportunity to establish high expectations and cultivate a positive learning environment. Tutors should seek to foster session culture norms and group discussion norms. When crafting session culture norms, take the following questions into consideration:

  • What values should be represented and prioritized in my learning environment?
  • What statements of fact do I always want to be true of my learning environment?
  • What would respectful, inclusive, safe interactions between students look and sound like?
  • And, What rules and standards do I need in order to uphold these values and encourage these
  • interactions?

When crafting group discussion norms, consider these questions:

  • How should students share?
  • What does a quality contribution look like?
  • How should students indicate that they want to share something?
  • How should students respond to ideas so that it is safe to share?
  • What should students do while their peers are sharing?
  • And, What other actions or behaviors result in a quality discussion?

Norms are meaningless if they are not enforced. Behavior re-engagement strategies can help tutors to influence student behavior so that students uphold group norms, make responsible choices, and maintain a productive learning environment for the group. Tutors should consider student behavior before, during, and after sessions.

Lastly, it is important to consider why building relationships with students matters. We learn best from people who care about us. Therefore, students who feel a connection with their instructor are more likely to engage in learning, ask questions, and achieve better academic outcomes. Strong tutor-student relationships built on a foundation of shared understanding and trust create the conditions for all students to take the risks necessary to make dramatic academic gains. Strong relationships are built on five pillars: respect, trust, confidence, motivation, and self-awareness.

To earn students’ respect, tutors must deliver consistent and fair directions while also demonstrating that they appreciate students’ time and efforts.

To earn students’ trust, tutors must hold themselves accountable for the commitments they make to students. They must serve as a model of consistency, kindness, and respect despite how students may respond to them.

To build students’ confidence, tutors must push them to take risks, learn from mistakes, and grow as thinkers and as people. To do so, tutors must believe that students can succeed, and communicate these high expectations with them.

To motivate students academically, tutors must connect with their students as individuals and clearly demonstrate the connections between session material and things that matter to students personally.

The last pillar of strong tutor-student relationships is self-awareness. To help students cultivate self-awareness, tutors themselves must be both aware of and honest about students’ strengths and weaknesses. They must help students practice holding themselves accountable to ambitious goals.

The training that your program provides its tutors can significantly impact the success of your program as a whole. Training tutors to be adaptable, empathetic, and confident instructors can ensure that your program’s expectations of instruction are upheld, and that students have a positive experience working with your tutors.

Thank you for watching this National Student Support Accelerator Video on facilitation strategies and relationship building. You can find part 1 of this tutor training webinar series at the Accelerator website, and to find the complete collection of Accelerator tutoring tools, including those utilized in this video, please visit the link here. Thank you!