The Role of the Tutor/Language Advisor

Session 3: The Role of the Tutor/Language Advisor

As a part of "The Role of the Tutor/ Language Advisor" training, Tutors and Language Advisors will learn about

  1. Ethics and Goals
  2. Challenges and Rewards
  3. Do's and Don'ts
  4. First Session Checklist (Be familiar with forms and assessments)

This segment of training includes

  1. reading "The Role of the Tutor/ Language Advisor" segment of the web-based TIP Tutor Training Manual
  2. quizzes
  3. an evaluation

A Tutor's Comments - by Stella Lee

"As a tutor, writing advisor or office staff at TIP you are a role model for students using our services. Your words and actions demonstrate ethical and professional behavior that can leave a strong impression on students. It is essential for you to show a positive and professional attitude toward your work.

You should set an example of punctuality and responsibility. You must be on time for tutoring sessions, so the student understands the importance of being on time as well. Since the student is expected to show up at every tutoring session, you, as well, should not miss any sessions. If you must miss a session, you should inform the student and your supervisor ahead of time. It is unprofessional for you or your student not to show up for a session.

In addition, you need to demonstrate professionalism in the way you communicate with your students. You should ask appropriate questions and receive criticism in a positive way. For example, if the student thinks you are in the wrong, you could ask, 'how can I improve?' instead of 'why do you criticize me like that?' Setting an example of professional, polite communication is one of the key roles of the Tutor."

Tutor's Code of Ethics

Tutors are expected to follow TIP Service Policies and to maintain high standards of professional behavior. Our expectations align with the expectations of CRLA Members. Be familiar with CRLA's Ethics Statement.

In addition to the ethics laid out by the CRLA, Tutors must

  • Inform their students of the purposes, goals, and limits of the tutor and student relationship.
  • Keep all information pertaining to student identity and tutoring sessions confidential.
  • Be committed to their assigned students until the end of the semester.

Fundamental Goals of Tutors

Tutors work one-on-one with students through the semester. The goals of tutoring are to:

  • help students understand their course content;
  • improve their study, reading and writing skills;
  • encourage students to become self-sufficient;
  • identify learning strengths and weaknesses;
  • find appropriate materials; and
  • create tutoring plans and materials.

The Challenges of Tutoring and Language Advising

Because Gallaudet students' backgrounds and communication styles vary, tutors and writing advisors are challenged to be flexible and quick to meet students' academic needs. Tutors and Language Advisors may work with students with:

  • learning disabilities;
  • varying levels of emotional maturity;
  • diverse expectations of our services;
  • different educational levels in math and English.

Addressing Coursework

Students will often bring in class work and ask the tutor to help. Tutors are allowed to guide the student through some of their coursework, but must be sure not to do the entire assignment with the student. It is forbidden to do any class work FOR the student. If the student brings in homework that the teacher has already graded, it is fine to review and explain the entire assignment.

Students Without Coursework

Students will also show up for their tutoring session when they have no course work to do. In these situations, Tutors are encouraged to stress the importance of on-going practice even if there is no homework. Tutors should have materials prepared to work on specific skills with their students. This requires Tutors to use preparation time in preparing "lesson plans" for their students. You should try to continually find new exercises for your student to work on in addition to class work.

Doing Language Advice

Students also may ask for advice on writing assignments. If qualified, Tutors can provide writing advice on a student's paper, but must do a session log and explain to the student that the Supervisor will send a short report to the teacher. Teachers need to know how much help students get with writing assignments.

Some Keys to Tutoring and Language Advising

Although being a Tutor or Language Advisor is challenging, it is rewarding to see students succeed because of information and guidance that you have provided. The key to tutoring and Language advice is to

  • lead the students to figure out the answers/solutions themselves;
  • provide materials;
  • demonstrate examples;
  • explain rules;
  • ask questions to engage them in the learning process.

Rewards of Tutoring and Language Advising

Jobs in which people help people are intrinsically rewarding. In addition to earning money, many Tutors and Language Advisors find their jobs rewarding in the sense that they've

  • felt joy in seeing their students understand new information;
  • watched their students make progress;
  • gotten to know new people;
  • learned new strengths about themselves as Tutors;
  • had opportunity to review course material.

Do's and Don't's for Tutors and Language Advisors


  • Maintain confidentiality of all information pertaining to students.
  • Be on time for work.
  • Inform your student and your supervisor if you will be late or absent by calling (866) 858-6369  VP or or by emailing and email  your supervisor.
  • If a student is absent, send an email to the student saying that you are concerned about the student's absence, with a cc (copy) to your supervisor.
  • Always record your attendance in the eTime system .
  • Make sure you and your students sign-in and out.
  • Always discourage plagiarism.
  • Encourage a positive student/teacher relationship.
  • Encourage students to meet with their teachers regularly.
  • If you suspect a learning disability in your student, talk to your supervisor immediately.

Do give grammar feedback = point out an error in a paper and teach the student how to avoid making the error again.


  • Do not give advice on take-home tests except with explicit permission from the Instruction for grammar feedback.
  • Do not edit students' work.
  • Don't give wrong information. If you don't know something, don't guess! Tell the student you will check and get back to them.
  • Never disagree with a grade received by a student, or say anything negative about the instructor. The instructor, not you, is the authority.
  • Do not guess what the teacher's expectations are. If your student doesn't understand an assignment, and you are unsure about the teacher's expectations, suggest the student discuss it with the instructor.
  • Never estimate grades for a student, even by implication.
  • Do not interrupt other Tutors/Advisors when they are with students.
  • Do not do any tutoring or advising outside of TIP.
  • Do not bring students' papers out of TIP.
  • Do not use pagers and Instant Messaging (IM's), browse the internet or do personal communication, or projects while you are tutoring students.
  • Do not eat or drink near computers.

Do not edit = do not correct any and all grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors without actually teaching the student.

First Session Checklist

The first session is a critical period in establishing rapport and consistency with your student. Following the steps below will help you and your student establish a solid student-tutor relationship.

  • Explain to the student that they must meet you in the lobby for each session.
  • Explain your role as the Tutor/Language Advisor. (You are there to help the student improve his/her study skills, test taking, time management, reading comprehension, writing, and understanding of course content).
  • Get a copy of the syllabus for the student's file.
  • Review the Policies & Rules in the TIP manual with the student.
  • Have your student complete the Gallaudet Study Skills Inventory. Discuss results and make recommendations for your student. (Don't forget to applaud their strengths.)
  • English Tutors should ask students for a copy of an old essay or report for diagnostic and preparation purposes. They also should complete a Student Tutorial Assessment form (pdf).
  • After your meeting, log out.


Click here to print out the checklist


The Successful Tutorial (Lynchburg College)

Tutoring Students with Short Attention Spans (Drew University)

About Gallaudet
Campus Photos
Clerc Center
Communications and Public Relations
Contact Us
Employment Opportunities
Fast Facts
GU Press
Make an Online Gift
Maps & Directions
Mission & Goals
Visitors Center
English Language Institute
Financial Aid
Global Education and Scholar Services
Graduate Admissions
Graduate Orientation
International Admissions
Professional Studies
Test Center
Undergraduate Admissions
Academics & Research
Undergraduate Majors and Programs
Graduate Programs
Professional Studies
Career Center
Academic Catalog & Course Info
General Studies Program
Honors Program
International Student Services
Gallaudet Research Institute
Visual Language & Visual Learning
Campus Life
Bison Shop (bookstore)
Campus Activities
Food Services
Public Safety
Residence Life and Housing
Washington, D.C.
Tools & Resources
Daily Digest
Campus Directory
Subscribe to Gallaudet Alert
Help Desk
Maps & Directions
People @ Gallaudet
Shuttle Bus Services
Gallaudet University | 800 Florida Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20002
Copyright © 2014 Gallaudet University