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Tutoring foundations

Everything you need to know to get started with tutoring

In this course you will learn the foundations of good tutoring. Whether you are currently tutoring, or are just beginning, you'll find useful material in this course to help you develop your skills.

Upon completing the course, you will be able to publish your tutoring profile on the Pencilcase website and start getting tutoring work.

Programme outcomes

Overall you'll learn a set of interactional skills to help students do better at school. These include learning how to:

  • Structure tutoring sessions effectively
  • Identify knowledge and skill areas that require work
  • Prepare long and short term tutoring plans to address areas that require work
  • Build a strong tutoring relationship, promoting a growth mindset and grit

You'll also learn about how to invoice parents, where to find good resources, what you should take to tutoring, and how to manage parent and student expectations.

Course structure and timeframes

The course is in four parts. For each part you need to complete a task, and submit something. Once you've submitted everything at a standard we are happy with, your tutoring profile will be listed on the Pencilcase website.

We expect you to take about 3 - 10 hours to complete the course. You have up to 6-weeks to complete the course.

Initial conversation and setting goals

In this section you will learn how to run an effective initial tutoring session. You'll practice talking about goals/purpose/destination with a friend or family member, and write a reflection on the conversation.

Sense of agreement

Next, you'll learn how to deal with tricky students by establishing a strong sense of agreement.. The sense of agreement relies on a well run initial tutoring session, and needs to be maintained throughout tutoring.

Elements of a tutoring session

Here you'll learn what structural components can be used in a tutoring session. You might also decide to add some that we haven't included here. This approach is very flexible, and allows you to structure tutoring sessions 'on the go', without doing too much preparation.

Tutoring toolbox

Now you'll learn how to assess any areas that a student needs to develop in, and then apply a plan to address those areas. The tutoring toolbox is based on academic literature, and most of the tools are strongly or moderately supported in the literature. There are also some tools that we have developed through our own experience training tutors, and tutoring students.

Ongoing session planning and resources

Lastly you'll learn how to continue to develop your skills as a tutor through ongoing lesson planning. We'll also point out some resources that we find useful. This section of the course is completed once you have begun tutoring, as you reflect on how your tutoring is going, and develop plans for your students.

Your Instructor

Jesse Pirini
Jesse Pirini

Hi, I'm Jesse, the Head Tutor at Pencilcase tutoring, and founder of the company. I set up Pencilcase in 2010 to help students get more out of school.

My approach to tutoring is carefully structured, but has lots of space for innovation. Through conducting research into tutoring, business coaching, psychology and social interaction, I have developed a tutor training programme that is very effective.

Currently I'm supporting tutors and students through Pencilcase, while conducting research into social interaction, knowledge, agency and intersubjectivity as a Postdoctoral fellow at AUT University in Auckland, NZ.

Class Curriculum

  Welcome! How the course works
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  Sense of Agreement: The basis of a strong tutoring relationship
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  Elements of a tutoring session: What do you do in a session and when?
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  Tutor Toolbox: Diagnosing and addressing areas that need work
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  Ongoing development: How to keep growing as a tutor
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Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts once your sign in and you'll have access for about 6 weeks. If you need us to extend this access then you'll need to re-apply when you have time to complete the training.
How long do I have access to the course?
You have about 6 weeks from when you sign-in to complete the course.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with the course send us some feedback at

Get started now!