The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Tutors

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Tutors

UK private tutor blog

In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Dr. Stephen R. Covey suggests the qualities that people need to be effective in their personal and professional lives.  These habits can also be applied to learning and make for a great framework for structuring and approaching lessons.




Be Proactive

Prepare materials for every lesson so that your student has a record of what you have studied.  If you promised to research something or mark a particular piece of work, make sure you do.  By keeping your promises, you are reassuring your student that they can put their trust in you.


Begin With the End in Mind

In other words, make sure your goals are in place before proceeding with lessons.  By using SMART goals, you will have a specific set of outcomes to work towards with your student and the smaller steps required to get there will make the final outcome seen much more achievable.


Put First Things First

Prioritize.  Again, this is something that setting SMART goals can help with.  One you and your student have identified the most important areas for improvement, then you can set to work achieving them.  By prioritizing your goals, you also ensure that you are covering all the relevant coursework needed in order to prepare for final exams.


Think Win Win

How can you ensure that everyone gains from the time you spend with you student?  One way of doing this is to put yourself in everyone else’s shoes – your students’, their parents’, their teacher’s.  Literally visualize yourself in their situation and ask how you can ensure everyone is happy with the outcome.  Ask yourself what you will need to do in order to implement this.


Seek First To Understand Then Be Understood

In other words, diagnose before you prescribe.  Ask your student open questions and gather as much information about how they feel about their studies before you offer an answer or set up a series of lesson plans.  The more you encourage communication from your student, the more specific, tailored assistance you can give.



Here, Covey suggests that networking is one of the habits that will make you the most effective tutor you can be.  By co-operating with everyone who is involved in your student’s learning, you are able to get other perspectives on how your student’s grades might be improved.  The more perspectives you have, the more flexible and adaptable you can be in your approach.


Sharpen The Saw

In this particular habit, Dr Covey speaks about ‘renewal’.  By taking time to regularly reassess your approach to tutoring, you will be able to sustain the results that you and your student hope to achieve through making minor adjustments for future lessons.



Covey, Stephen R. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, Simon & Shuster 1989; repr. 2004, London


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