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Loyola University Chicago

English Tutoring at the Literacy Center

Tutor's FAQs

Some important points and tips

1. Most tutors may try to match LCLC materials to learners' needs and interests, but some of the most successful tutoring works the other way around: Identify the learner's interests and then locate suitable resources. Don't let the limits of onsite materials hinder your creativity.

2. Ask advanced learners to bring in an article (a short one) of interest, read it with them, and discuss it. Ask them to write something about it—their opinion of it, a parallel idea or experience, etc. This is a good strategy for learners who are willing to do homework (although not many are, some learners are very keen to do just that).

3. Ask your learner to describe in some detail a problem he or she had with English during the week or during the last few days—for example, something that came up because of the language barrier. Such a discussion reminds both of you why you are at the LCLC, and it becomes a rich source of ideas for lesson plans. You can tailor lesson plans very specifically to the learner's needs once this pattern is set. The learner can ask for help simply by saying, "I wanted to say/do this and couldn't figure out how," and you can take it from there, not only supplying the needed English sentences but clearing up confusion, etc. Such discussions will overlap as key issues come up from one week to the next.

4. Many tutors find discussions with other tutors to be very valuable opportunities, usually held informally before the LC session starts. For-credit tutors discuss their experiences during class meetings as well. 

5. We use writing as a learning tool at the Center.  Encourage your learner to keep a notebook with various categories: new vocabulary, verb tenses, idioms, etc. It's important to keep notes, but it is also important to keep notes in categories so they can be accessed at the right time.

6. Review topics that the learner has more or less mastered, at least briefly, at the start of a session (when you've made this much progress, of course; not before). Then if the learner runs into difficulty with new material, he or she can think back to this discussion and take heart. Emphasize what the learner has done well.

7. If your learner works with other tutors or another tutor, pay close attention to what happens in those sessions by reading the sessions reports and take it on yourself to exchange information—including phone no. and/or email address—with that tutor. You might not be able to meet, but you should agree on the objectives the learner is working on. The LCLC staff reviews every fileafter each session in order to give advice and watch for continuity when one learner has two or more tutors, but it helps a great deal if the tutors themselves are in communication.



Loyola Community Literacy Center
Lake Shore Campus · Loyola Hall
1110 W Loyola Ave, 2nd floor
Chicago, IL 60626
773.508.2330 · literacy@luc.edu
Supported by the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of English, and the Paul Glassco Endowment.

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