skip to content
emaster tutor training
Unit 1: The Tutor's Role
Two women tutoring
Before You Start
Reading and Double-Entry Journal


Welcome to Unit 1 of our special preview. Here you will get a feel for the actual course units. Remember that the layout of this unit is the same as the layout of subsequent units in terms of navigation and assignments, so once students complete this first section, they will be acclimated to the course.

Please note that this is an unedited version of Unit 1 with all links active. The Unit 1 discussion link, however, will take you to a “mock” board rather than a live discussion.

After you've reviewed this unit, please return to the CSSSI Web site for more information.




Before You Start:

Read the Introduction to The Master Tutor (p. i-vi), and then take this fun and easy online pre-assessment quiz, which will open in a new window. When you are done with the assessment, simply close that window to return to this page. (A paper version of the quiz can also be found in The Master Tutor on page vii.)

Then go to the discussion board, and write a post of three brief paragraphs: one introducing yourself, a second stating your expectations for this course, and a third about your reaction to the pre-assessment (how did you do? any surprises? etc.) This pre-unit posting is due by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday. Remember to support your peers by responding to at least two of their posts.





The purpose of this first unit is to get you into the habit of thinking about yourself as a tutor and to begin examining what that means. What is a tutor, and what does a tutor do? How can you know if you're doing a good job of tutoring? These questions will not be fully answered by this unit, but it will start you on the path to effective tutoring.

Central to good tutoring (good performance in any field, really) is the process of continual self-evaluation The best practitioners in any intense human interaction--counseling, teaching, tutoring, administering, etc.--continually monitor themselves and make improvements. Their initial training has given them the criteria for doing their job well and introduced some concepts useful for understanding what they do. However, their ultimate success derives from their effective application of these concepts and understandings to the day-to-day decisions of their job. In other words, they know how to think about what they do, and they use that knowledge to improve what they do.

Because there is no one foolproof method for tutoring every student, the best training will help you make good decisions. As a result, a recurring aspect of the training you receive will be situations taken from real tutors' experiences. These scenarios will generally present a dilemma, but not a solution. Your task will be to analyze the situation, using what you learn from the training to guide you.

Effective Tutoring Decisions =
your commitment +
your knowledge about the subject +
your interpersonal skills +
tutor training




Reading and Double-Entry Journal:

  • Reading
    • The Master Tutor, Chapter 1 (p. 1-21)
  • Double-Entry Journal (instructions)
    • For The Master Tutor reading, complete a journal with at least five double-entries.
    • This unit's journal must be e-mailed to the instructor no later than 11:59 p.m. Thursday (PST).




  • Remember to visit and read posts on the discussion board a minimum of three days per week. You are expected to make at least four primary and eight secondary posts over three different days each week. (more guidelines)
  • Discussion Topics (respond to each of the following prompts and at least two of your peers' posts under each prompt):
    1. Post your response to the first chapter of The Master Tutor, with special attention to the goals of tutoring. What questions come to mind? Are there any points that seem particularly important? Any that you would like to challenge?
    2. Respond to two of the following scenarios. What is the problem? How would you handle it?
      • On the Run: On your way to class, pleased that for once you're going to be on time, you encounter Tim. Tim is an eager, hardworking tutee with whom you've had four or five sessions in as many weeks. By way of greeting Tim, you say, "How's it going?" You mean this statement as a casual way of saying "hi." Tim, however, sees it as an offer of help. He says, "Man, I'm glad I ran into you because I've got a question about the homework." Before you say anything, Tim has his homework paper and textbook out in front of your face. "Now see," he exclaims, "the textbook says . . . but the homework paper says . . ." You now have exactly one minute to get to class on time. If you leave this second, you might just make it.
      • Deja Vu: You have been tutoring Elvia for five weeks. She first came to you for help after failing midterm #1. Next week is midterm #2. Elvia has just asked you what this test will be like. You explain to her that she can learn a great deal by going over the format of the last test. You know that all of the instructor's tests tend to be put together in the same way. In passing, you mention to Elvia that you kept a section of your class notebook exclusively for returned tests. You found it so helpful that you still have it. She says, "Oh, this is perfect! We can look at midterm #2 from last year and that will really help me get ready!" Elvia definitely wants you to show her the test that you took last year. You've never talked about this with your supervisor or the instructor and aren't sure what you're supposed to do.
      • Tutee and Sympathy: Between appointments, you're sitting at one of the empty tables in the tutoring area when you see John, a fellow first-semester tutor, conclude a tutoring session with a student you don't know. John comes to your table, drops his books down, and plops down in the chair next to you. John says, "I hope you never have Delberta for a tutee. She is completely unmotivated and dumb as a rock. I'm wasting my time working with her." Obviously frustrated and downhearted, he looks to you for agreement and sympathy.




  • Send all e-mail to your instructor.
  • All e-mail should include your signature at the end of the message. Most e-mail programs have a "signature" function that will allow you to set up a sign-off that you can simply insert whenever you have the need. In Outlook Express, for example, go to Tools/Options/Signatures. Type in the signature as you want it to appear (it must include at least your first and last name). The next time that you need to include a signature, simply go to Insert/Signature.
  • In the subject line of every e-mail that you send for this class, include the following: the course number, your name, and the topic of the e-mail.

Now that you've reviewed this unit, please return to the CSSSI Web site for more information.


Cambridge Stratford Study Skills Institute

Copyright© 2002 by Cambridge Stratford, Limited
Terms of Usage