Key skills needed to be a successful tutor

Posted on December 25th, 2017

What are the key skills a tutor needs?

The skills needed to be a successful tutor


When I have asked parents what they are looking for in a tutor these are the key responses I have received.

  1. Great subject and curriculum knowledge

One of the key skills parents are looking for is that the tutor has a sound knowledge of the subject and what their child is studying in their educational setting.

Parents want to know that you are aware of the techniques they are using in school so that you are able to compliment this and work with them.


  1. Ability to pass on their knowledge

Having a great knowledge of your own is different to being able to transfer this knowledge to someone else.

This is obviously a key skill of any tutor regardless of what subject you are supporting.

There are many highly intelligent people in this world, but not all of them have the skill required to share their knowledge. Some struggle to explain the simplest of things because to them it is common sense.

Therefore I would say that this is the most important skill of all.


  1. Experience and training

When looking for a tutor most parents will look at the tutors experience and qualifications. A background of working as a teacher or in an educational background will be beneficial.

A degree or other professional qualification in the subject you want to support will also aid your ability in finding tutees.

If you don’t have either of these but you do feel you have the characteristics, been trained by a recognised agency or training body will prove beneficial to give parents the confidence that you will be able to do the job to a standard that they expect.


  1. Understanding of how people learn

This links on to number 2.

Not only is it important to be able to pass your knowledge on to others, you need to be able to do it in a way that the other person will be able to maintain this information.

Reading from a textbook and then answering questions may not work for everyone. This simulates the lecturing techniques used in many colleges and universities  and may not be the most effective method for younger children or those who have some form of learning difficulty.

However, those weeks away from an exam may find confidence in practising from past papers.

Others may enjoy playing games, making mind maps, annotating, discussing, issues, memory skills, etc.

The more techniques you offer the more likely you are to meet their personal learning style, to keep the lesson interesting and to create more memories so that the student is able to recall the information when they need it; in life, in an exam or in a lesson at school.


  1. Patience

This is another skill a tutor will need.

Students of any age normally get a tutor because they don’t understand something.

It may take hours of explaining something in many different ways before the tutee is able to understand it.

You must be patient and be willing to keep explaining it as many times and in as many ways as is necessary until it is understood to an extent that the student is able to explain the information to someone else so that they have a firm understanding of it themselves.


I hope this answers your question as to what the key skills needed for a tutor are.

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