BBC Mandarin tutor 7 Mantras
1. Be a guide, not a lecturer
Students get better through practice. Explain the exercises, make suggestions and give feedback, most importantly, get out of the way. Keep an 80 – 20 balance in your mind. The student should be talking 80% of the time. Feedback is crucial, but make sure to keep it simple, targeted and concise.
2. Keep things under control
You are the moderator of the class. If the student starts moving in the wrong direction, gently bring them back. If they ask you to edit outside work, or give them feedback on something unrelated to the class, refuse with teacherly calm.
3. Find the flow
The rhythm of the class can largely determine the benefit gleaned by the student. As such, finding a flow through the material is crucial. There is a time to let the student keep talking (usually), and times to cut them off. Sometimes a text message is appropriate, and others, a longer spoken reply.
4. Drill down
Each class is a different experience, and each student has different needs. Become aware of these individual needs as the class progresses, and react accordingly. Bring the student through the material with a mind toward what can bring them closer to fluency. Drill down and focus on what matters. Don’t forget to give them something to take away from the class (a recorded spoken summary of what the student said in class).
5. Be yourself, find your voice, explore
While there are outlines for every class, it doesn’t mean you can’t be creative. Maybe you have a better example than the one given—go for it. Maybe your student has a particular issue that needs a little more focus—take that liberty. Staying close to the topic doesn’t mean becoming a robot. Exercise thought and creativity. Follow inspiration.
6. Be excellent, keep improving
Make every class the best class you’ve ever taught. Keep the big picture in mind: You are the link between one person and their dreams (it sounds cheesy but it’s true). As such, you have a huge responsibility. You are a big deal. There’s always room for improvement, so keep improving.
We really care about our tutors and students. If everyone is having fun, finding fulfillment, and making real improvement, we give ourselves high fives and say, ‘awesome’. Passion goes a long way. Find yours. Care about what you do.