Chemistry is an intimidating subject for many students. I have experienced their fear a great number of times. Students often walk into a classroom with a pessimistic approach to learning; they expect to struggle before they even look at the material. Chemistry can be a challenging subject, but with the right approach I believe a student can not only succeed in the classroom; the student will be able to develop the right tools to advance academically in a variety of subjects.
There are several crucial factors that can make a tutoring session effective. Amongst them, the three most important ones are communication, visualization and feedback. I think good communication skills are crucial between tutor and student. The tutor should structure the teaching style to work with individual students. This can be enhanced by understanding where the student is having difficulty. For example, some students have the academic ability but lack the confidence to perform well. Other students may have a difficult time identifying the areas at which the struggle. By asking the right questions and patiently waiting for the student to answer, the tutor can tutor more effectively as well as construct a more productive educational environment.
Students learn in different ways. Some of them work well with memorization while others need hands on activities in order to learn. Chemistry is a dynamic field that can be taught in so many different ways, memorization does not have to be the main tool. There are a variety of simple activities a student can do, as well as online graphics and other tools that can help the student visualize the material. The use of 'real life' examples are a great way to illustrate the material to the student, especially when the examples are personalized. Mnemonic devices are a great method to overcome memorization obstacles . For example, LEO says GER (lose electrons oxidation, gain electron reduction) is a very useful way to learn about oxidation and reduction reactions. When the student is not overwhelmed with memorizing information, the student can focus on visualizing and learning the material.
Feedback is one of the most important things in education. One of my professors once told me that learning is the process in which a person does not make the same mistake twice. In other words, a student will learn from his/her mistakes most effectively if proper feedback is provided. A student should be asked questions, provide the student with instructions, allow the student the time to respond to the question and then provide feedback.
When combining these three factors with a positive attitude and a great amount of patience, a tutor will be able to motivate the student to learn and to direct their education. The most important lesson is that holding a tutoring session is not just holding a “problem session”; the goal of tutoring is to provide the student with an understanding of the material and the right tools to succeed independently.