Online Tutoring Tips for tutors: best practices & techniques

Online tutoring is the new euphoria in the world of education and is gradually getting a strong foothold in this sector. Information technology has attained a new height during the last decade and online tutoring is one of the many amazing applications of this state of the art technology. Like any system in this world, the conventional education system has also some disadvantages, like

  • The number of schools and colleges are still very insufficient in comparison to the total requirement.
  • The class room teachings are not equally effective to clarify the needs of all the students.
  • The costs of private and even the public education facilities are continuously increasing.
  • The students, who has been dropped out of school because of various reasons, do not get an option to learn from class room teaching, if they want to complete their education or increase their qualification.
  • The presence of the public and private educational institutions is mostly local and comprise of local students, which means the students staying in the proximity to the institutions can get those educational facilities. However there are few reputed institutes which do not belong to this category.

online tutoring

All these disadvantages gradually pave the way for online education and even the most reputed universities in the world are trying to launch the online education system to virtually extend their presence globally. Online education system has a lot of unique features for which it is continuously being popular amongst the students and to make this tutoring system popular, like conventional education system, the online tutors play the most important role.  To offer tutoring service effectively and to discharge the responsibilities efficiently, as an online tutor, you should follow some simple rules stated below:

1) Technical

  • The first and foremost thing you should do is to get yourself acquainted with the operation of computer and internet. you should have a good typing speed, should know how to use some networking applications like video conferencing, should be well versed in using some applications like Skype, email, etc. and at the end, you must have a good knowledge in using some application software like Microsoft Office.
  • Online tutoring is done by using some software usually called “class room software” which typically comprise of an online whiteboard and chat-box apart from voice tools. The whiteboard has different tools, using which the tutor can write and draw figures at the time of explaining the subject matter to the students, who is seating on the other side of the online classroom. As an online tutor, you have to be proficient in using this software. However, the features of these utilities vary from company to company.
  • Online tutoring is usually done, either in ‘voice mode’ or in ‘text mode’. In both cases, the expertise in medium of communication is of utmost importance. Your command in language should be enough to communicate your thoughts and ideas clearly to the students. One important thing in online tutoring is that, you may get a student from any country in the world. Naturally the accent of the students could be different to a large extent, and in case of voice based tutoring, understanding the accent of the students as well as to make them understand your accent is very important to fulfil the requirements of the students. So you should be careful, in getting acquainted with various accents of the tutoring language, people use to speak in different parts of the world. This quality is not possible to be developed initially, but you should try to learn as quickly as possible. Moreover, your accent must be very clear, so that your students can receive your message without any ambiguity.

2) Style of Tutoring

  • The tutoring style is mainly one-to-one. But after developing expertise, you may have to deal with two students simultaneously, though this situation is very rare and depends upon the demand of a particular online tutor. In case of one-to-one tutoring you have to deal with the problems, typically faced by a particular student. There is a unique difference in class room teaching and teaching a student in one-to-one system. In class room teaching usually we take a general approach and use the same method for explaining the subject for all the students simultaneously. In one-to-one tutoring you have to change your method of tutoring on the basis of the needs of a particular student and more importantly on the basis of the receptor mechanism of the student. This means you have to change your way of explanation frequently depending upon the nature of the students so as to make them understand the concept in their own way of learning the subject. This is the essence of online tutoring.
  • Another important point is that, usually in case of online tutoring, students pay the tutoring company on an hourly basis. So usually they remain conscious about the time that is being taken to learn the topic. This consciousness of the students will always create a time pressure on you at the time of giving them on-line lesson. You have to be very careful about not giving the students a direct answer to the question, even if they demand it, except in some exceptional cases. You have to pacify them and make them understand the concept of the lesson, so that the students develop the ability to answer the same type of question on their own, next time they face it. The objective of an online tutor is to develop the conceptual base of the students by explaining the subject matter in their own way, and not to act as an answering machine. In fact the demand of the online tutoring is mainly because; the most of the students do not get the opportunity to have personal attention as well as clarification of their doubts in class room teaching. You, as an online tutor, should not forget this vital aspect of tutoring. However, you have to be very quick to get the idea how to make the student understand the concept so that his/her costly time does not get wasted. Naturally, your subject knowledge must be very good.

Lastly, as an online tutor, you basically cross the national boundary and go global. In most of the cases you will be tutoring a student who lives in a different part of the world and belongs to a different culture. At the time of tutoring, you have to be very careful about this aspect of your job. You, as an online tutor, have to be careful to respect the culture and belief of the students, so as to claim their optimum respect as a tutor.