Tutoring FAQ

Here are a few questions frequently asked by our tutors. If you don’t see the questions you have listed here please contact us to see how we can help.

How do I keep my learner motivated?
The best way to motivate your learner is by carefully planning lessons focused on your learner’s interests and goals, making sure that your learner experiences lots of success.

What if my learner seems unable to concentrate?
Occasionally learners come to us with many problems in addition to their academic ones. Sometimes these problems need to be dealt with before real learning can take place. Please remember that your primary responsibility is to tutor your learner. Solving the other problems is best left to experts, and we have many good sources for referrals. Consult a staff member to determine how to handle this type of concern.

What do I do if my learner wants to discuss personal issues rather than do work?
Sometimes our learners come to tutoring with non-literacy issues that need to be resolved. As you become better acquainted with your learner, they may want to discuss these issues with you. Please remember that you are a literacy tutor and not a trained counsellor. We have many referral sources for our learners and staff will help find the right one. You can listen if you choose, but then tactfully redirect the learner’s attention to the lesson. Either alert Gateway staff or encourage your learner to talk to a staff member so that appropriate help can be found.

My learner has difficulty retaining information. What should I do?
Many of our learners have this difficulty. One thing you can do as a tutor is to make sure that your lessons include adequate repetition and review. Generally the amount of repetition needed far exceeds your expectations. Teaching new skills directly in a carefully sequenced manner is also helpful. Also you may need to consider whether you are teaching to your learners preferred learning style.

What if either of us has to cancel a session?
Arrange ahead of time for emergencies. People sometimes get ill, have to travel, or have other emergencies like car problems. Try to notify your learner as far ahead as possible, and ask your learner to do the same for you. In the event you cannot connect, notify Gateway staff and they will try to help you. If your session was to be held at the Gateway office please notify Gateway so that they can cancel the room booking.

What happens if my learner fails to show up?
The first thing you would do is try to contact your learner by phone, if you have exchanged phone numbers. If not, or if you forget the number, contact Gateway, a staff member can try to contact your learner for you. Should this pattern continue contact a staff member.

What should I do if my learner doesn’t do homework?
Consider the difficulty level of the assigned work. You will not be there to assist your learner so all the work you send home should be at his/her independent reading level. Or your learner may just be too busy to do work at home. In this case you have to work extra hard to capitalize on the time you have together.

My learner asked if we could meet at my home or his/her home for tutoring. Is this a good idea?
No – it is not recommended that you meet at either home for your tutoring sessions. The Gateway Centre for Learning office or another public venue are ideal locations.

My learner sometimes brings children to tutoring. What should I do?
We do not encourage learners to bring their children to tutoring because this makes it difficult for learners and tutors to concentrate. Occasionally older children can work quietly while their parent receives tutoring, but most often the presence of children is very distracting for everyone. Perhaps you could suggest meeting at another time which is more convenient, perhaps when someone would be home to care for the children, or maybe your learner could trade babysitting with a neighbour. If this continues to be a problem, contact a staff member who will help your learner figure out a solution.

I have been working with my learner for a long time and he/she has made very little progress. What should I do?
If you are concerned about your learner’s progress, please contact a staff member. Further assessment is probably needed to determine some more effective strategies. Quite possibly your learner may need some other type of intervention.

My learner seems to have no clear goals anymore (assuming that the initial goals have been reached?
Talk to your learner and express your concern. Offer to help him/her set new goals. You will probably need to consult with a staff member if you are unable to determine new goals.

I need to talk to someone about my learner. Who do I call?
Gateway staff are here to help however we can. You can email or telephone directly to an Adult Literacy Program staff member.