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The First Tutorial
Tutorial session

Planning and Preparation:

The following topics are covered in this section:

There is no such thing as the perfect tutorial but planning and preparing for the first tutorial (and for each subsequent tutorial) will help you feel more confident about providing a good learning environment. Consider how you will structure the tutorial, what content you need to cover, what activities will take place and how much time each area will take. Providing students with such a structure allows them to determine how they can approach the subject and meet specific timelines for proposed activities. A lesson plan can be a very useful way of determining and outlining the structure of the tutorial.

A checklist for planning the first tutorial can be found here:

Structuring the 1st tutorial

Consider how you will set the scene and establish relationships with and between students. Allocate ample time for the planned activities and plan how students will progress through the tasks. A lesson plan can be a useful tool to use when determining the structure of the first tutorial.

When preparing for each tutorial, where possible you should do any in-tutorial or pre-tutorial exercises yourself first. Even if you are familiar with a reading or a type of problem, it’s best to approach it again from a student’s perspective. By working through it yourself you might be able to identify potential problem areas or new insights. This will help you be better prepared for students’ questions and comments. Students may take longer than you to complete an exercise so factor in some extra time.

Ensure the end of the tutorial is not rushed and you allow time to clarify any questions students may have. Let students know what is expected of them before they come to future tutorials.

You can see some interviews with tutors about the first tutorial:

You may also wish to consider how you want the room to be set up, to best enhance the activities the group will be doing. If you are using any equipment, check this is functioning. You can see an example of this in

There are some more videos showing effective openings of tutorials in the Classroom management strategies section under opening.

Lesson Planning

A lesson plan can be a very useful way of outlining the structure of the tutorial. You can then use the lesson plan during the tutorial to make sure you are keeping to time and covering what you need to. It can also be helpful to students to know how the tutorial will run. You may consider providing a copy of the lesson plan to your students – e.g. as a handout or displayed via a projector.

Some tutors also use a lesson plan to note down ideas about what to do if something doesn’t go as planned. It can be handy to have a back-up activity for unexpected events.

When operating from a plan of your tutorial, ensure that you are not concentrating only on the plan and forgetting the needs of the students. Don’t feel bound by the plan as you may need to re-visit areas if students are not confident of the subject matter already covered.

Some lesson planning examples and templates can be found here: