Relationship Building

Implementation Checklist

  • Tutors take an asset based approach and are motivating in all interactions with students.
  • Tutors reinforce a growth mindset whenever students struggle or make mistakes.
  • If Tutor Consistency is Consistent: Tutors are matched to students using intentional and systematic methods. 
  • If Tutor Consistency is Consistent: Tutors get to know their student using specific strategies and activities. 
  • If Tutor Consistency is Inconsistent: The program uses centralized methods for logging and communicating student data. 

Implementation Tools

(Click on the links below or visit the pages on the lefthand navigation for more information.)

Strong, Academically Focused, Tutor-Student Relationships Relationship-Building Activities Mentoring Mindset Training Mentoring Mindset Training - Facilitator’s Guide Culturally Relevant and Inclusive Tutoring Cultivating a Growth Mindset Matching Tutors with Students

Key Insights

Positive student-tutor relationships are the key to successful tutoring sessions.

  • When students feel supported, they are more likely to engage in learning through productive struggle, achieve greater academic growth, and display fewer behavioral problems. 

Tutoring sessions should be low-stress, high-trust environments where students' engagement and accomplishment lead to an authentic enjoyment of the academic content.

  • Most tutors feel comfortable in classrooms. Many students do not. In particular, students who need skill remediation may find learning environments high-stress and unsafe by default, as missing fundamental skills can make traditional classroom engagement feel punishing rather than productively challenging. Tutors should remember this and work to build student trust.
  • Building trust takes time and intentional effort. Program leadership and teachers need to support carving out time for tutors to cultivate relationships with their students and work hard to make learning feel engaging. This time and effort is not wasted, but some of the highest-value work a tutor can do. Helping students see learning as a positive and productive experience is paramount to a program’s success.

Tutors should take an interest in their students’ lives outside the classroom and be supportive of students’ culture in their sessions.

  • To help make tutoring sessions a welcoming space that values and affirms all forms of difference, tutors should take the time to understand who students are and what they care about. Building this awareness will help tutors create a judgment-free space for all students.
  • Tutors should help students access challenging concepts by using customized examples and content based on what students have shared about their cultures and identities.