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6 Ways to Build Student Relationships During Online Learning

October 29, 2020

This post is part of a series written by Paper's tutors. Each post takes you behind the screen, uncovering their perspectives and expertise. This week, Tutor Aleya shows you how to build great relationships with students in online environments.

When offering a service that has traditionally required face-to-face interaction, such as teaching or tutoring, it is important to keep that human connection alive.

In my experience, the key to tutoring online has been to keep the focus on building a relationship with the student. How, you ask?

1. Start every session by checking your biases

To make students feel welcomed and feel encouraged on the platform, approach each session with a fresh and open mind. It is important for every tutor to listen to and respect the student and their struggles with the subject matter no matter what.

2. Get a good understanding of what the student is aiming to achieve

Are they struggling to understand a specific topic or question? Do they need some guidance on getting started with a difficult essay? Or do they simply need confirmation on an answer they’ve gotten to? Make sure to confirm the student’s expectations, level of understanding, and their teacher’s expectations and to ensure you are providing the help that they need.

3. Reassure them that you are there to support them through their learning process

This builds their trust in the educator and in the online learning environment, such as Paper. Students must believe that they are not alone in their learning, and will have someone to aid and support them. Your positivity, enthusiasm and guidance will help build a student’s confidence, motivation, and likelihood of seeking out help again in the future.

4. Find common ground

If a student is struggling with something, find a way to relate to them. Try to level with the student by emphasizing that you understand how a topic can be challenging. Maybe even share a similar situation with them. If a student is sharing an opinion or a personal anecdote related to their learning, thank them and them their experiences are valid. Often, alongside wanting to get their homework done on time, students want to feel comfortable and heard.

5. Ensure you are providing consistent communication and feedback

Consistently asking students questions and confirming their understanding shows your dedication to making sure the student feels confident to go on to do the work on their own. Commending a student when they have made a strong conclusion on their essay, or when you see that they are on the right path to solving their Math problem will keep them going. If you need the student to explain their question again, or you need a few minutes to type out your guidance, let them know! All of this will show your enthusiasm and engagement in the learning session.

6. If you're at a Paper partner school, make sure you're taking advantage of it

On Paper, student's tutoring sessions are made transparent to teachers. Paper equips teachers with actionable insights of their student’s learning outside of the classroom, completing the educational feedback loop. Make sure you're taking advantage of your ability to target your instruction and check in with the students who could use more attention.

Headshot of Tutor Aleya

Aleya, Paper Tutor

Paper supports students and educators in school districts by providing unlimited 24/7 multilingual live help and essay review. Who are our tutors?

About Paper

Paper partners with K-12 schools throughout the U.S. and Canada to give every student an equal opportunity to excel academically. Our educational support system (ESS) provides learners with unlimited 24/7 homework help, writing feedback, and study support at a predictable fixed cost. Paper’s specialized tutors deliver on-demand, 1:1 academic support in four languages across more than 200 academic subject areas—so students always have access to expert extra help exactly when, where, and how they need it.

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