The Tutor's Role

A Tutor’s role is to encourage students to own their learning and knowledge building within the subject, helping them to reach their educational goals.  It is essential that you, as the Tutor, have a strong understanding of the course material/subject.  It is also important that you are equitable and inclusive, and are aware of individual student needs and attitudes. 

You, as the tutor, should:

  • Guide student learning.

  • Address and be aware of student needs and attitudes.

  • Always be inclusive and equitable.

  • Help the student to take responsibility for their own learning.

  • Work with your teaching team and Course Coordinator, feeding back any insights you may have that will benefit the student learning process.

  • Listen to the student.  This will assist you in determining if the student knows the course content, has any problems, and if so, has the solutions.  Help the student to discover the relevant solutions to their questions.

Responsibilities of a Tutor

 If you are uncertain about your responsibilities, it is a good idea to confirm with your course coordinator.  However, you may be asked to: 

  • Facilitate tutorials.

  • Prepare tutorials (plan lessons, develop activities, source materials).

  • Attend lectures.

  • Communicate course information (deadlines, reminders).

  • Supervise in-class tests/exams.

  • Mark assessments and provide feedback to students.

  • Attend course meetings.


Tips for Successful Tutoring 

  • Show enthusiasm for learning.

  • Keep a positive attitude about the students you are tutoring.

  • Provide realistic feedback about learning and expectations.

  • Use language that the students will understand.

  • Provide students with the information they need to succeed.

  • Be clear and consistent with your communication. Ensure the students know how you will be contacting them – e.g., via student email, Canvas, etc.

  • Avoid asking "yes" or "no" questions; use open-ended prompts.

  • Check to see that you have been understood (have the student show you they understand).

  • Provide constructive feedback so students can learn and improve.

  • Be understanding and flexible where reasonable; 80% of students at the University of Newcastle balance study with other commitments.

  • Try not to put students on the spot, e.g. if they walk in a few minutes late or don’t know an answer to a question.

  • Ensure everyone feels comfortable engaging with content, regardless of skill level.

  • Look for opportunities to encourage and affirm the student’s work.

  • Teach study skills as appropriate or engage the Pathways and Academic Learning Support team to do so.

  • Refer students to the appropriate support services, such as Counselling or Accessibility, if required.  Familiarise yourself with the support services available to students before you start teaching.

  • Be aware of your boundaries, and know when to reach out to your Course Coordinator or support services for referral.



Adapted from: Learning Strategies Center, Cornell University; Creighton EDGE, Creighton University