Tutoring is not all fun and games for everyone. Sometimes, students may feel too pressured because of the individual attention given to them. At times, they may feel lax because of the given freedom and isolation they receive because of the one-on-one tutoring situation that happens in most cases. These different scenarios illustrate how tutoring can end up with unhappy learners.
When students are not satisfied with the tutoring, they cannot grasp the subject material easily and a tutor faces much difficulty in the tutoring process, because extra attention will have to be given in order to motivate the student. If you're having difficulty dealing with unhappy learners, always keep these important strategies in mind.
Sometimes, getting straight to the point and not “beating around the bush” in identifying the problem can settle things for both students and tutors. Be the first to initiate concern so that your student knows that you do care about his or her welfare. Ask if there is something wrong with your methods, the atmosphere, the pacing, or the content itself. These questions will allow your student to explain the root cause of the unhappy attitude and you can solve it together to allow smooth sailing in the future. Most students are just too shy to raise the attention of a problem, so do them a favor and start it off: this eases everything by a whole lot. You could also get this information in a student session survey.
Indirect: Talking to Close Friends or Family
Another approach is to indirectly analyze the situation and understand the behavior of your student by talking to family or even close friends. Naturally, get the written permission of the parents before you talk to other friends. They can provide you insight on attitude issues or perhaps more about your student's preferences so that you can work with him or her more effectively during the next tutoring session. Students seldom reveal exact reasons, but close acquaintances tend to be very knowledgeable of their behaviors and attitudes.
Subliminal: Positive Reinforcement
Alternatively, unhappy learners may not be contented because of personal reservations or setbacks. This approach does not involve you asking what the problem is but with you providing the atmosphere of learning through a positive attitude. Commending your student for any achievement or even praising him or her for an idea can build up the confidence needed for the student to overcome any inhibitions he or she has. This is very useful for students who seldom talk much and would like to keep their problems to themselves.
Unhappy learners can never grasp the tutoring material at all because everything involves having that proper mindset in tackling obstacles. This is very true when dealing with the personal interaction involved in the tutoring process. You should understand the three approaches that respectively tackle different perspectives of working with unhappy learners. The overall bottom line is to be an important mechanism in aiding the student's development, so do what you can to help out.
What are your strategies for positive reinforcement?