Facilitation Moves Checklist: One-on-One Tutoring

Why does facilitation matter?

Facilitation is what keeps a student engaged and on-task throughout a tutoring session. Effective facilitation requires thorough planning: not just around what concepts and skills to work on, but also around the routines, directions, and logistics of the tutoring session itself. Time the tutor spends thinking these things through ahead of time maximizes the time the student spends actually learning during the session, rather than getting situated or resolving confusions.

Pre-Session: Preparation 

Prior to a session, tutors should...

  • Set a clear goal for the session based on data and informed by teacher, parent, or student input.
  • Write out their main talking points for explaining concepts and plans for addressing misconceptions.
  • Ensure all necessary materials (examples, practice worksheets, templates, digital resources, etc.) are ready to go.
  • If tutoring virtually, ensure all materials are open in the tutor’s browser and ready to be shared before the session begins. 

During Session: Facilitation

Tutor sets and maintains a culture of high expectations for students.

  • Activity Directions
    • Tutor gives simple, concise, step-by-step directions.
    • Tutor breaks activity directions down into “chunks” whenever they exceed 3-4 steps.
    • Visual directions (i.e. written on whiteboard, worksheet, or screen-share) accompany verbal directions.
  • Behavioral Expectations
    • Tutor makes expectations clear when giving direction. Tutor appropriately sets and enforces expectations to create a culture of productive struggle so the student knows what to do if they get stuck or can’t get started. 
      • For example, before digging into the content of a session, a tutor may say something like, “For the next 10 minutes we are going to work through this set of problems. I’m going to walk you through the first example then I’m going to have you work with a study buddy to complete the second example. If you feel stuck, try to work it out with each other before I give you some help. We’re only going to focus on these problems for the next 10 minutes. Sound good?”
    • Tutor has considered what they want the activity to look like or sound like when designing expectations.
  • Academic Expectations
    • Tutor shares the session learning objective, rationale, and regular updates on progress to goal with the student.
    • Tutor appropriately supports the student during productive struggle with the least invasive method of support.
    • Tutor cultivates a growth mindset throughout the session by praising effort and connecting it to growth.

Tutor uses precise academic language in their delivery and hold students responsible for doing the same.

  • All key conceptual and procedural ideas are discussed in specific academic language throughout the session.
  • Tutor limits talking points to the most essential ideas needed to be conveyed.
  • Tutor demonstrates all procedural steps necessary to perform a skill through an Explicit Model, making the critical thinking and question asking alongside the steps visible to students. 
  • Tutor reinforces high expectations for all student responses (e.g. use academic vocabulary) and engagement with the content (e.g. cite specific examples from the text and explain their relevance to a claim).

Tutor uses open-ended questions to ensure students are articulating their own understanding of the content. 

  • Open-ended questions provide visibility into the student’s thinking. Using open-ended questions also sets tutors up to give students the most air time. While students are sharing, tutors should actively listen for signs of misconceptions and understanding. Examples of open-ended questions include:
    • “I’m curious about your thinking and your process. Can you tell me what you did here?”
    • “This is interesting; what was the thinking behind this strategy or step?”
    • “What questions (or steps or parts) were most tricky or challenging? Why is that?”
    • “I see you answered these two similar questions a little differently. What’s your thinking on that?”
    • “I think there might be a mistake in this response. Can you tell me where you think it is? Why is that?”

Tutor addresses student misconceptions and leverages them for instruction.

  • Tutor proactively addresses common misconceptions (based on student mastery data) during the session.
  • When an unexpected or uncommon misconception arises, tutor helps the student understand and correct it.