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Pedagogy & The Teaching Sequence

One to one tuition is an opportunity for the tutor to focus on the needs of the individual pupil; something which is not always achievable in a traditional classroom situation. The emphasis is on the individual, and sessions should be designed to build on the progress previously made by the tutee.

Before the Tuition Begins

A vital step in designing the pedagogy of the sessions is an initial meeting between the class teacher and tutor. At this meeting, the class teacher should identify strengths and specific gaps in the learning of the pupil.  The Individual Tuition Plan (ITP) should be completed at this stage. The ITP will, from this point on, form an integral part of the tutor’s planning as the targets are addressed and regularly reviewed over the course of the tuition.

The First Session

The initial session may be rather different in nature to those following on from it. Assuming that the tutor has already met the pupil in advance, perhaps along with the teacher and parents, this shouldn’t be the first meeting. Nevertheless, it will be necessary for the tutor to take some time to put the pupil at their ease and establish a connection by asking them some questions about themselves. It is also important in the first session that the tutor outlines the focus and the purpose of the sessions, reviewing the objectives on the ITP and asking what they remember about these topics. At this point, the pupil may feel quite exposed, making it important that the tutor be reassuring in return.

The Sessions

The key to successful sessions is ensuring that the stages of learning are planned in manageable steps. The hour should be arranged in logical linked episodes, with regular staging points between to summarise, check understanding, and to allow the pupil to reflect. Whilst it may be tempting to spend time practising tests or sitting the pupil through written completion exercises, this would miss the point. The sessions aim to build skills that the pupil has not acquired to date in their education; therefore the child should be allowed to deploy these skills for themselves, in many and various ways according to the learning style of the individual.

Tutors should always remember that the sessions are a form of personalised learning and as such, the pace and style should essentially be dictated by the needs of the pupil. Children will gain most from those sessions which are related to their interests and where they are involved in a hands-on way.

The Four Objectives

There are four key areas where there may be gaps in pupils’ learning, and these can be summarised as below. Along with Assessing Pupils’ Progress (APP), these should be fundamental to the creation of the ITP, as well as being the basis of the tutor’s planning.

  • Acquiring skills, procedures and knowledge
  • Securing understanding, developing reasoning and processing information
  • Addressing misconceptions
  • Solving problems
  • For specific pedagogical approaches to these objectives, see pp13-14 of the DCSF publication, Developing one to one tuition: Guidance for Tutors.

During Tuition

Essential to the effective delivery of the tuition sessions is the tutor’s ability to identify how the pupil’s learning is progressing and to plan appropriate next steps.  Through questioning, observation and discussion, the tutor can gain an insight into the pupil’s progress, but central to the tuition should also be the opportunity for the pupil to judge how well they are doing. The tutor should encourage the pupil to review their work constructively and critically, perhaps by revisiting previous work. 

While it is essential that these sessions are treated as fluid and flexible, allowing the tutor to unpick particular stumbling blocks as they are uncovered, the pupil should also be aware of the learning objectives and outcomes of the sessions.  During the sessions tutees should also have the opportunity to reflect upon their own learning.  By following the 7 stages in the one to one teaching sequence, this reflection time can easily be built into each tuition session.

Those tutors who are familiar with APP may also wish to monitor progress and to confirm judgements through the use of the APP criteria.

This model of a teaching sequence for one to one tuition provides a framework for developing skills, knowledge and understanding. By following the 7 stages, the sessions should successfully support pupils in securing and then applying a skill or an aspect of knowledge or understanding, leading them to independence as learners. The sequence should however, be adapted to meet the needs of the pupil and the learning objective.

Teaching Model

Source:  Developing one to one tuition: Guidance for Tutors (DCSF-01066-2009)