• CONSULT WITH THE COURSE INSTRUCTOR: This can be crucial to getting a good start to the tutorial (it has happened in the past that tutors who failed to consult the instructor ended up giving the student poor advice about what is important). The student should also meet with the professor to develop a realistic set of goals and study strategies, and provide a blueprint for the tutorial sessions.  But it can be useful to have your own impression of what the professor perceives to be the difficulty. As the tutorial progresses, there may be other occasions when it is helpful to consult with faculty.  For example, if you helped a student prepare for an exam, you might go over the exam with the student to see what happened, and then check with the instructor to see if he or she felt there were any special weaknesses in the student's preparation for the exam.
  • FIND A GOOD PLACE TO STUDY: Consult with the student you are tutoring to find a good location for the tutorial.
  • ASK THE STUDENT TO PREPARE IN ADVANCE FOR THE TUTORIAL: If the tutorial involves a homework assignment or preparation for a test, you should encourage the student to make a substantial effort at the problems or studying before the tutorial.  This way, the student can bring a list of specific questions and problems to work on.
  • ENCOURAGE INTELLECTUAL INDEPENDENCE: This is the most important goal of the tutorial. Ultimately, the student needs to be able to submit his or her own work and ideas to critical assessment, to do the work by himself or herself, without your help.  This sort of independence is crucial if the student is to take full advantage of the Amherst curriculum.
  • ENCOURAGE INTELLECTUAL RESPONSIBILITY: If a student goes over a homework assignment with you, make sure that the student does more than just copy your solutions.  This violates the Statement of Intellectual Responsibility and leaves the student woefully unprepared for any upcoming exam.  As in the previous suggestion, getting the student to work independently is the goal (and challenge) of any tutorial.
  • HELP THE STUDENT SEE THE "BIG PICTURE": Students often do homework problems with the goal of getting the problem done rather than understanding how the problem relates to what is going on in class.  Ask the student why a particular problem was assigned.  How does the problem relate to other problems in the assignment?
  • ENCOURAGE THE STUDENT TO GO TO OFFICE HOURS (AND TA HELP SESSIONS, THE Q CENTER, THE WRITING CENTER, RESEARCH AND INSTRUCTION LIBRARIANS...): This is very important.  Tutoring is extremely useful and helpful, but it shouldn't replace the one‑on‑one relationship between student and instructor which occurs when the student goes to office hours.  Sometimes a student has difficulty knowing what questions to ask the professor (a fear of asking dumb questions can make a student reluctant to go to office hours).  Help the student formulate some good questions to ask the instructor in office hours.
  • AVOID CONDUCTING CRAM SESSIONS: Experience has taught that students who attempt to compress huge amounts of studying into a few tutorials are rarely successful.  It is the tutor's prerogative to agree or refuse to provide tutorial assistance in these instances.
  • MAINTAIN CONFIDENTIALITY: Avoid any informal discussions of a student's performance and/or progress.