Andy Nguyen

How to Tutor Programmers Efficiently and Effectively

27 Dec 2018

Over a decade of tutoring in both an educational setting and a professional setting has taught me that no matter what person you are tutoring, success is obtained not solely by the knowledge taught, but also by what methods are used to mentor and teach those concepts. This post provides some loose guidelines meant to inform both new and experienced tutors.

1. Patience (and failing fast)

When tutoring someone in programming you need to be patient. For tutors, that means avoiding always giving answers, and letting the person(s) you are tutoring “fail”. Allowing for mistakes (in a safe environment), will help those you are tutoring avoid repeating the same mistakes in the future.

2. Frustration (and moving past it)

With sufficiently difficult concepts, the person you are tutoring will surely get frustrated. It is important as a tutor that you do not let student frustration impair your ability to teach! Let your student know that it is okay to get frustrated, and that overcoming that frustration will allow them to succeed. Be the role model you want your students to see you as.

3. Understanding (and success)

You’re goal in tutoring should be having your students reach an understanding in the concepts being taught. A focus on understanding, rather than just memorization, will help guide towards greater success to both you as a tutor and your student(s).