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Tips for Tutors


I hear and I forget
I see and I remember
I do and I understand
In the doing is the learning
(Ancient Chinese Proverb)

    • Listen for the quiet voice.
    • Encourage active and balanced participation by the students.
    • Sit anywhere at the table, except at the head of the table.
    • Wait at least 10 seconds before responding to silence.
    • Use probing questions to stimulate discussion and help students articulate their reasoning process:
        • Where should we begin?
        • What aspects of your learning issue were of greatest interest to you?
        • In what ways could this be important?
        • What alternatives could we consider?
        • What is our analysis of the situation? (Diagnosis)
        • Why do you believe that? (Challenge)
        • What arguments might be developed to counter that point of view? (Expansion of thinking)
    • Maintain a safe-feeling atmosphere in the group.
    • Answer questions with questions.
    • Encourage cross-talk amoung students, so talk is not directed at you.
    • Give feedback appropriately.
    • Check-in with the group at the end of the session.
    • Be enthusiastic and have fun.


Remember the three basic PBL tenets:

  1. students are not empty vessels to be filled by the teacher but are active particpants in their own learning
  2. the role of the facilitator is to facilitate, not to lecture; and
  3. leadership of the group is shared with students.