Instruction: Session Facilitation

Quality Standard

Instructional Practices: Tutors use research-based instructional practices aimed at fostering academic success and overall student well-being

Critical Question
  • How should tutoring sessions be facilitated to affirm students’ academic and personal identities and ensure students master the content?
Implementation Checklist

Design facilitation of tutoring sessions to promote the following best practices:

  • Tutors reinforce the academic language and procedures of the classroom and hold students accountable for doing the same.
  • Tutors appropriately use open-ended questioning to ensure students are articulating their understanding of the content.
  • Tutors facilitate content clearly, correctly, and at an appropriate pace.
  • Students engage with content using a variety of learning tools that promote productive struggle given their unique needs.
  • Students experience multiple representations of new knowledge and repeated opportunities to apply new skills in order to solidify learning.
  • If sessions are virtual: 
    • Tutors use a digital whiteboard to support session facilitation and share content with students.
    • Student access is restricted to required applications as much as possible in order to reduce distractions.
  • If your program tutors students in groups:
    • Tutors use student groups to promote dialogue and collaboration.
    • Tutors are trained to effectively facilitate student behavior management as needed.
Implementation Tools

Higher Education Institution (HEI) Specific Tools:

From Existing Resources: 

Key Insights

Session facilitation elevates student voice over tutor voice.

  • Tutors are encouraged to ask open-ended questions and encourage student-led discussions to encourage and empower students to process ideas and solve problems independently.
  • Prioritizing student voices isn’t just about making students feel empowered. It’s also a crucial strategy for making students’ thinking visible to tutors. This real-time qualitative data about students’ internalization of the session content helps make sure that tutors can catch student misconceptions and keep students on track to meet their goals by the end of each session.

Thoughtful preparation facilitates sessions that are effective for all learners.

  • A well-prepared tutor can ensure that any learner can learn session content and materials. For example, a tutor might share multiple representations of content, supplying a variety of media and supplemental materials, or providing accessible technology.
  • To help all students reliably access session content, tutors may offer an alternative option for each student task (such as a choice to share answers aloud or write them down for the tutor to check).
  • Tutors are encouraged to look for opportunities to weave in tips about meta-academic executive functioning skills like planning, note-taking, and prioritizing.

Tutors set clear norms for discussions when students receive tutoring in groups.

  • Student-led discussions about open-ended questions are powerful tools for engaging intellectual curiosity and elevating student voices. However, for these discussions to be equitable, respectful, and productive, tutors need to establish ground rules beforehand.
  • All students have the right to feel comfortable expressing themselves, have concrete guidance for how to respond to peers with different viewpoints, and generally agree on group behavior norms.