Two To Tango: How Question-Based Tutoring Perfectly Complements A Student’s Learning in School

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In a classroom environment, teachers will lead the class by presenting their students with factual information, sharing anecdotes from their own experiences, and giving demonstrations of practical applications. Students may watch their teacher perform the skill, or answer questions posed directly by the teacher. Students learn in their classrooms by observing and copying the teacher-taught concepts, teacher-led questions, and teacher-modeled processes. This is a more passive style of learning, that removes the creative skills and reasoning skills from a learning experience. Working with a tutor can encourage greater participation and leadership in the learning process. Question-based learning is a great supplement to the type of learning a student partakes in inside their classrooms.

What is Question-Based Learning?

‘Question-based learning is a type of inquiry where the learner is guided by forming and refining a guiding question (or questions).’ –

Question-based learning allows students to take ownership of their learning process. Instead of having a teacher lead the group discussions, ask questions, and model experimentation or methods for solving various problems, students are able to work on finding answers for themselves.

Why is Question-Based Learning Effective?

Question-based learning places importance on building independent mindsets. Tutors who use question-based learning are focused on empowering students to ask questions and find answers using what they know to investigate, research, and question the things around them.

This focus on experimentation helps students learn quickly by running their own tests and witnessing results for themselves. By asking their own questions and using what they already know to drive conversation or solve problems, students develop creative and critical thinking skills. Question-based learning replaces the memorization of facts with first-hand experiences and discussions. Students should lead the conversations and experiments in order to discover answers for themselves. A great tutor can guide them step-by-step to maximize the results of their question-based learning experience.

How To Successfully Lead A Question-Based Tutoring Session

Question-based learning relies on a student’s curiosity and creativity. Students gain great confidence in their ability to use prior knowledge and resources around them to learn. Often, a great place to start when leading a student through question-based learning is by encouraging them to make observations. The next step will be to encourage a student to understand the resources they have. From there, tutors will encourage their students to investigate what they know and come to conclusions.

It can be easy for students to get caught up in the memorization of facts, but question-based learning pushes them to think deeper about the concepts and skills they put to the test.

Typical Steps For Question-Based Tutoring Session

Remember, the goal is to empower students to ask questions and find answers using their own resources and reasoning skills.

1. Observations and Discussions

The first step to facilitating the discussion will be to encourage observations. Students may have thoughts about concepts and questions about the skills they learn in class. Start by engaging with a topic and then narrow down a basis of inquiry.

  • What does the student want to know?
  • What knowledge does the student already have?
  • What about the topic is provoking their interest or challenging them?

At the start of a tutoring session, a tutor may give the student the task of deciding what they want to learn about during their time together. This gets the student thinking about what they want to know, what they might know already, what solutions might be successful to a problem, and methods for finding an answer. Ultimately the first step for question-based learning is selecting a topic based on observations a student makes. Start with a point of inquiry, discuss the focus of the session, and encourage the student to ask questions. Tutors who use question-based learning use this step to assess the student’s background and areas of confusion.

2. Investigation

Time to focus on investigation, discovery, and experimentation is a big deal for students who participate in question-based learning. It is important for students to think critically about the things they observe. Sometimes, students find themselves struggling to memorize and process the information they are given in a classroom. Students who are able to make a plan, find resources, and participate in the process of finding a solution, can use their experience to hone their skills and reinforce what they know. Tutors who use question based learning encourage students to ask questions like,

  • What resources do you have to research and utilize?
  • How can you use your prior knowledge to learn more?
  • What kind of information can be gathered?

3. Conclusion

The last part of a question-based tutoring session is encouraging the student to draw conclusions based on the questions they asked, the resources they used, the tests they ran, the results they witnessed, and the reasoning they used to solve an issue. This is an important part of the process that reinforces a student’s agency in their learning. They should walk away from question-based learning knowing that they have the skills to participate in meaningful observations, ask important questions, practice executing tests or investigating information, and solve an issue using the knowledge and skills they have.

It can be super impactful for students to realize the tools, strengths, skills, and information that they already have. Building connections and diving deeper by asking questions are majorly important skills to develop in a tutoring session, so students are able to practice successful learning habits outside of the classroom.

How Does Question-Based Learning Support The Class Curriculum?

1. Reinforce What They Know

Participating in question-based learning reinforces what a student has learned. By revisiting their lessons from class and applying their skills, students practice navigating their misunderstandings and filling in the gaps themselves. By coming back to the subjects and skills they learn from their teachers, students may find themselves questioning details they did not notice in class. Students are able to retain information more effectively by engaging in discussions and digging deeper into the subject matter.

2. Offer Opportunity to Dive Deeper

Opportunities to go beyond surface-level observations to ask questions about operations, applications, and inconsistencies are super useful ways for students to take leadership in their learning process. In a classroom environment, teachers must stick to a curriculum, and sometimes there isn’t time for inquiry and participation in a teacher’s lesson plans. Working with a tutor outside of the classroom, a student can focus on the small details, instead of the general big picture. Deliberately going beyond the surface-level understanding that a student might start with during their tutoring session is a good way to help them engage in the classes they might struggle with.

Opportunities to dive deeper and participate in the learning process are important for students who struggle with motivation, focus, or drive. To complement a student’s learning in school, use question-based learning to boost their ability to engage with the subject matter.

3. Encourages Students To Take Initiative And Gain Confidence

Encouraging a student to take initiative and show leadership in their tutoring sessions is a great way to encourage them to be confident in their observations. It also establishes confidence in their ability to problem solve. Some students struggle to apply what they know, or make connections between one concept and another. By providing students with opportunities to apply their knowledge and investigate something that poses an issue, they begin to trust their skills and investigations in a new way, which improves their confidence.

How Does Question-Based Learning With A Tutor Complement a Student’s Learning In School?

While dense classroom curricula may limit a student’s participation in class, question-based tutoring perfectly complements their learning in school. To have a successful academic career, students should know how to use both types of learning to their advantage. Working in a classroom environment will make up the majority of their academic experience.

While some parts of teacher-led learning may hold a student back from participation, there are still ways for them to make the most of their time in a classroom. Remember that a large portion of question-based learning relies on students utilizing what they know. They can use the lessons taught in classrooms as resources for investigations, and actively pay attention to the material in class to build up their knowledge. Tutors should encourage students to use what they learn in class to answer questions that come up when making observations and investigate the things that do not make sense to them.

If you are a student who is interested in taking initiative in their learning and seeking ways to actively participate in your education, Tutorly uses question-based teaching to help students cultivate independent mindsets. Having an independent mindset, asking questions, investigating information, drawing conclusions, and making connections between your classroom curriculum and your personal discoveries sets students up to be confident in their skills and focused when learning in a classroom.

Tutorly’s tutors are highly trained, experienced, empathetic, and focused on helping their students reach their goals. If you are unsatisfied with your learning experience in class, looking for new ways to retain information, or searching for a tutor who can help you gain the skills to think, question, observe, or problem solve independently, then Tutorly is right for you! Sign up with Tutorly to find your perfect match, and start working with a tutor today.

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