The Animated Tutor

It was during this tutoring session that I realized how important it is to make eye contact and use the correct body language. The tutor I observed today didn’t just like to write and he wasn’t just a good writer, he was passionate about writing—passion radiated from him. From the moment he asked the writer, “So what are we working on today,” he had him hook line and sinker. The writer wanted to be there, wanted to be working on that essay and wanted to be learning about writing. The tutor looked directly at the student when he was talking about writing and used every kind of facial expression under the sun. He gestured smiling, gestured grimacing and gestured making whatever the emotion was that went along with his commentary. It was fun to watch such an animated display of passion and excitement during a conversation about writing a college assignment. The tutor’s style was what really engaged the writer in the process of writing.

This particular tutor spent a good deal of time making sure he understood the assignment. By doing this, talking through all the aspects and requirements of the essay, the writer ended up understanding their assignment more thoroughly. During the discussion, the tutor repeatedly took the student back to the instructions, using it as a guide to the writing process. The tutor was double-checking his own understanding of the requirements, but at the same time, he was modeling for the student questions he himself could be asking and where to go to find the answers. This brought up in my mind, how many times I saw students come to the writing center who didn’t have their instructions and the difficulties this presents for a tutor. In lieu of an assignment sheet, a tutor would have to ask many questions to fully understand (and help the student understand) the requirements for their assignment.

During this session, the tutor helped the writer to understand how to write a thesis sentence, its placement in the paper and how having a good thesis helps a writer to organize their writing. He drew diagrams to show the structure of an essay. I thought this was brilliant. Through this visual illustration, the student understood immediately what the tutor was explaining. This seems like an excellent approach and one that a tutor could apply in multiple scenarios. I observed another session with this tutor and even though the writer of the assignment was different, the tutor’s manner and the way he approached the session were the same. Watching this tutor in action made me excited to get started in the writing center.

Image source: Google Images


  1. Fantastic! As a novice tutor, I can use all the positive modeling from experienced tutors that I can get. I'll have to ask you for a demonstration of these engaging techniques and/or the name of this excellent tutor so I can go observe him in action. Thanks for sharing his -- and your -- enthusiasm!

  2. The person always seems to show a particular passion and excitement for not only writing but in helping others to be better writers as well


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