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7 Key Characteristics of Highly Effective Chemistry Tutors: The INSPIRE Model

By April 24, 2021October 14th, 2021Home Tuition

There was a Stanford University research conducted by psychology lecturer Mark Lepper and paediatrician Maria Woolverton, who interviewed some tutors teaching Chemistry at high school to find out if there are certain common characteristics that impact the effectiveness of teaching.What they found in their research investigation is the seven distinct qualities that many of the effective and capable tutors have in common, which led to them coining a acronym known as the INSPIRE model. Here are the seven characteristics listed below:

(1) Intelligent

The first trait that these tutors share is intelligence. The best tutors have keen understanding and in depth knowledge of the subject that they are teaching, which in this scenario is Chemistry. This allows them to weave in the relevant concepts and theories to supplement the syllabus that they are covering. Their competency on the subject also helps them to break down the content of the individual Chemistry topics into bite-sized pieces so that students are able to learn in a straightforward and simple way. Being aligned with the syllabus will also let them anticipate and identify students’ weak points much easily and customise their lesson plan accordingly, whether it is in a group or 1-1 setting.

(2) Nurturant

The most effective tutors are able to build a comfortable connection with their students and relate to them on a personal level. Compared to school teachers who have to handle a class of 30-40 students, a decent Chemistry tuition class size is in the range of 4-8 students. This provides tuitions a conducive environment to develop a personal connection with their students and only the successful tutors make good use of this. This helps students to learn in a more relaxing and enjoyable manner and are more willing to participate in class discussions. The tutors will also be  offering a helping hand at the first instance of identification of their students’ struggles with certain topics being taught in Chemistry tuition lessons.

(3) Socratic

Effective tutors understand the problem of spoon-feeding their students with answers at every junction although it is an easy way of teaching. They adopt another approach of leading students to discover the answers through trial and error via open-ended questions. They have a unique method of inducing responses from their students regardless whether they know the correct answers or not by asking leading questions with an appropriate hints along the way, so that students are trying their best even if they make mistakes. This approach helps students to grow and develop their understanding of Chemistry and is also useful for learning of other subjects in general.

(4) Progressive

The most sought after Chemistry tutors are well equipped to identify and evaluate the abilities of both new and current students at any stage of the Chemistry tuition lessons as long as they have the students’ track record of previous exam papers or homework. This enable them to formulate the upcoming lessons into a proper curriculum, also known as lesson plan, where students are given assignments that they are capable of handling and the questions will get incrementally more difficult as students have demonstrated an improvement in their understanding of Chemistry along the way. Such a progressive approach will provide students with sufficient practice as well as reinforce concepts and problem solving methodologies that are revised in school and in the tuition classes.

(5) Indirect

The most successful tutors are mindful of their speech when they want to discipline or give feedback to students. Their focus is on getting students to realise their misdemeanor or in the context of Chemistry questions, mistakes that students make and how to rectify them step by step. These tutors will impart to students some techniques of self-evaluation via self-guided root cause analysis so that students can become self sufficient in learning the subject.

(6) Reflective

Good tutors have students reflect on their personal work, in terms of the steps that they are taking, the variables that they are using, the formulas that they are applying and so on. By getting students to relook into their work, students can try to understand why and how they have arrived at the wrong answer and the differences between the model and their own answers. It has been revealed that students are able to better recall the correct steps in this fashion.

(7) Encouraging

Excellent tutors are always seen giving students encouraging words and gestures to motivate the students to unleash their potential. They also provide a conducive environment to inspire students in wanting to learn more about Chemistry and relate concepts into real life scenarios.

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