24 Set a Professional and Welcoming Environment

As a tutor, you set the environment for how the tutoring session with unfold! Etiquette is the code that governs social behaviour. This section asked you to map out how you will implement good practices in tutoring for your tutees.

Setting the Environment Activity

Thinking about your own preferences and style, create a list of things that you want to do in every tutoring session. Refer to the materials in the Level One workbook and the Learning Centre procedures. When would you do them? Have you written them into your tutoring plan?


These behaviours should include, but are not limited to, items such as:

  • Looking and speaking professionally. Cleanliness and a neat appearance is an important part of the impression that you make. Avoid slang or insulting language.
  • Being ready for the tutoring session that you will lead. This means being there and set up before the tutee arrives and you area is tidy.
  • Having a tutoring plan. This means thinking about and documenting what you do so that you can do it again and adapt as needed.
  • Paying attention to the tutee and their needs, including greeting them, finding out how they wish to be addressed, checking in to see how they are doing, identifying what they need to work on, etc.
  • Maintaining appropriate space for the tutee. Respect their privacy and keep a distance that is comfortable for the tutee.


Also be aware of things that you don’t want to be doing. Some behaviours that you know will distract you and you need to think about before and during your tutoring sessions. Write down these items and how you will ensure that they do not disrupt. Some examples include:

  • Trying to do something at the same time as you are tutoring. Turn off all of your electronic devices. Close the books that you are not using. Put away papers and other items that do not relate to the session (keeps the area neat).
  • Eating or taking care of any personal items. Tutoring sessions are for the benefit of the tutee. If the tutee bring a small snack or water, this is acceptable.
  • Belittling, insulting or being demanding of your tutee. Be diplomatic in how you phrase feedback and requests.

Case Studies

Here are a couple of situations that you might run into as a tutor that will require you to be professional and welcoming. Read them over and for each one, consider how you will approach the situation.

Time Management

A tutor named Amanda came in to work. She met with her first student right at 9:00 as scheduled. She worked with the student on a paper that was due the next day. She took her time, trying to help the student understand the problems and how to avoid them himself next time. The student was very keen to work all the way through the paper. Amanda wanted to help him out so she worked right up until 10:00 but didn’t finish the last 2 pages of the paper. She had another appointment, so she said she needed to end the session, but the student was really anxious. He wanted to know if she thought he’d get a passing grade on the paper. She said she thought so. Then she had to do record keeping and make the student another appointment, so by the time she was ready for her next student, it was almost 10:10.

Give examples of both Ethical Behaviours and Unethical Behaviours:




How would you handle this type of situation? Explain.



After her shift in the Centre, a tutor, Jasmine, met a good friend of hers for lunch in the cafeteria. She was pre-occupied about one of her tutoring sessions that morning. She was trying to figure out why she couldn’t get through to a student she worked with. Her friend asked her what she had on her mind, so Jasmine explained, “You know Tina in our Poli Sci class? This morning I was working with her in the Learning Centre. She’s done a lot of work and her paper is pretty good but she has a problem with her thesis statement. I just couldn’t get her to see that her thesis was more general than her paper. I’m trying to think of another way to get through to her.”

Give examples of both Ethical Behaviours and Unethical Behaviours:




How would you handle this type of situation? Explain.



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Level One Peer Tutoring Fundamentals and Integration Workbook Copyright © 2020 by Kwantlen Polytechnic University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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