Hi guys, I have a question that's been stuck in my craw for the last four years. I love teaching and I'm considered a pretty good teacher, but one thing I struggle with is offering students one-on-one remediation. When students come in to tutoring confused, I'm not sure what to do short of nearly re-teaching the lesson, which I don't think is effective since they didn't learn in the first time. The alternative is to give them a worksheet to allow for more practice. But I know there has to be something more effective. What strategies do you guys use for a student who just doesn't "get it"? Thanks, E1T1

The nice thing about working one-on-one with a student is having time to figure out exactly where they are struggling. I would start with having the student begin to work through one of the homework problems or problems you worked on in class. As they are doing it, the two of you can talk through the steps. Create notes or sample problems that will help the student grasp the concept. Tutoring, or one-on-one sessions should be highly interactive.

I second having the student talk through how to work out a problem as well as why they are doing what they are doing. See if they can pinpoint their confusion.

Some students may not understand the concept for first time but they do in second time. So if students dint understand for first time, divide the concept into several small sequential steps and teach them again.

I always start with "so, why are you here?" and I listen to the response. It goes a long way in giving me a direction. If it's "I don't understand quadratic equations" I give the kid one and ask him to do it. When he gets stuck I start asking questions.

In his work, Tools For Teaching, Fred Jones spends a good deal of space addressing this exact issue. Some of Jones' points to consider: - When looking at student's work you will always notice what is wrong first - Pointing out and talking about what the student did wrong is the worst way to begin a helping interaction - Correct way to begin a helping interaction is to point out what the student did right thus far - Praise -- "Mary, you did X exactly correct" - Prompt -- "The next thing to do is ...." (one step at a time) - Leave -- "Do that and I'll come back to check'" (turn and leave) Focusing on error may cause student to remember what they did wrong. Is that what a teacher wants them to commit to long term memory, what they did wrong? This type of helping interaction, Praise-Prompt-Leave, takes about 30 seconds, ten when you get good at it. The typical helping interaction (based on data collected) takes about five minutes. The longer a tutor, aide, teacher, parent stands over a child with the best of intentions the riskier it becomes that the behavior, learned helplessness, may be promoted when the ultimate goal is producing a student who can work independently.

I love tutoring kids. I volunteered to tutor an elementary student during my graduate school time which led me to become a teacher. I agree with the suggestions mentioned above. Have them talk it out.