University Learning Center

Tutoring Services Tutors Should Remember

We are student-centered.

The primary concern of Tutoring Services, as with all of the University Learning Center Services, indeed in the entire Division of Student Affairs is, obviously, the students. The work of Tutoring Services, particularly your work as a tutor, is uniquely able to "de-center" traditional teaching approaches in order to focus on student learning. That is, rather than learning taking place in a classroom setting with a dominant "voice of authority," tutors are able to work with students on their learning goals in a non-evaluative (and so, non-threatening and non-punitive) setting. You are able to empathize with student anxieties and apprehensions while showing them that even class assignments (aimed at a group) provide opportunities for individual learning.

We support and tutor the entire UNCW community.

Though you will, of course, only tutor your subject specialty(ies), you will work with students who are majoring in all the disciplines across the curriculum. Because we tutor University Studies classes, you will work with students at every level of interest concerning your subject. Some students will be very enthusiastic about the subject; others will lament again and again about having to take the class. You must be able to work with many types of students who come to the ULC with different levels of motivation.

We help students build knowledge and develop skills.

Your expertise as a tutor is subject content, but you also will need to be able to help students with their study skills. Many students are less successful in classes because the study skills they bring with them from high school are not adequate for college - they do not know how to take effective notes, prepare for tests, or organize their time. You should be able to offer suggestions about how you mastered these skills as well as other ways students might approach these tasks. Helping students succeed is more than helping them master knowledge. But, helping them build course specific knowledge is also central to successful tutoring. Remember, if a student asks you a question and you don't know the answer, the best thing to say is, "I'm not sure, let's find out." This models the learning process.

We engage the student in collaborative learning.

The perfect place for collaborative learning to occur is in a tutoring session in the University Learning Center. Collaborative learning situations dissolve the feeling that students are lonely individuals struggling to learn in a situation where only the teachers have the "right" answers. Instead, tutors and tutees rely on each other, thereby working within a cooperative framework. In other words, cooperation supplants individual competition and serves to reduce many of the anxieties that are connected with learning. This means that you do not have to be the "expert" in your subject at all times; indeed, it is preferable for tutees to show you what they know and how they learned it. You can then reinforce good learning habits and work with the students to build greater understanding. Be a partner in the student's learning process.

We Support UNCW Instructors.

You may have opinions about certain instructors; it is best to keep these opinions to yourself. It is unfair to influence a tutee's view of an instructor. Remember, instructors are the ultimate authority in the classes they teach, and a tutee will be evaluated according to their requirements. The goal of Tutoring Services tutors is objective support for all concerned. In addition, do not contact a UNCW instructor without first discussing it with the Tutoring Services Coordinator.