Tutor Doctor Edinburgh | Feb 25, 2017

How we prepare our tutors

When you’re hiring a tutor, you need to make sure you’re getting the best. It’s your education at stake, so finding the right help is crucial. At Tutor Doctor Edinburgh, we make sure that all our tutors can help their students reach the very best learning outcomes.

Scottish exams and the SQA

The first thing we do with all our tutors is check for relevant experience and subject knowledge, but there’s more to it than covering the basics. We offer all of them training on the Scottish exam structure of National 3, 4 and 5, Highers and Advanced Highers, so that even our international tutors know when to cater their sessions for a Unit Assessment, prelim or final exam. Knowing the course and the exam system helps both the tutor and the student to focus their efforts in the right places, and avoids misunderstandings about what is expected at each stage.

Student-focused learning

Although most of our tutors have experience in supporting learners before they start with us, it’s a priority for us to make sure they can work within the proven Tutor Doctor method. We asked our Education Consultant, Martin Browne, to explain further. “Tutor Doctor tutors are goal oriented and focus on the outcome for the student. Our tutors go at the student's pace and make sure they understand topics rather than rushing to get through a syllabus.”

“New tutors sometimes come to Tutor Doctor thinking that they will tutor others in the same way that they were taught themselves. Our training programme focuses on helping tutors to understand that a tutor focuses on learning rather than instruction. Every tutor is passionate about their own subject and the training helps them find ways to make their subject fun for a learner.”

Our training programme for new tutors

By far the most innovative of all our training sessions is what we offer to newer tutors, who may not have the depth of experience of an old hand. While training is no substitute for practise, the course ensures all our tutors are equally well versed in key topics like

  • why students find subjects challenging,
  • how to choose tutoring methods and bring in real-world applications for their subject
  • what tools are available to them to support and encourage their student.

One of our tutors, Cameron Robertson, has been working with Tutor Doctor students for the past 6 months, focusing on Maths and Physics. Although his previous experience in supporting learners has been useful, he found the training he undertook when starting has been crucial to his success.

 “The most important thing that I've learned is to always be flexible when tutoring a student. It’s tempting to go into a lesson, especially with a new student, with a very structured plan. The issue here is that if the student struggles with something unexpected, difficulties may be ignored in favour of continuing with the plan. Instead, I’ve learned through training to be adaptable in my teaching. I always put together a rough plan for the session, but it’s flexible, even if that does make it harder to prepare.

Professional development and support for tutors

We also offer training in communication and learning styles, to help tutors keep their skills fresh. We know how important that tutor-student connection is, so we offer training to make sure they’re well equipped to tutor each student as effectively as possible. Cameron told us: “The key difference for my students is that being adaptable emphasises the lesson is catered to their needs. Communication is much better as they feel encouraged to interact and ask questions when they're not 100% sure. Later, during revision, I'm far less likely to find something which went under the radar before. This not only makes lessons more time efficient, but also increases the student’s confidence in the subject as a whole.”