Mary V. Clark

Date of Graduation


Document Type



This study investigated the teaching strategies used by untrained tutors and inquired if these strategies changed with the experience of tutoring, the task being taught, and the specific learner being taught. In addition, individual difference variables of tutors and learners were examined to determine their relationship to tutor teaching strategies. Tenth grade biology students (tutors) and seventh grade life science students (learners) from a rural public high school were randomly paired and assigned to work in a resource room, using materials prepared by the reseacher. All tutoring sessions were video taped by a trained camera operator. Tutoring strategies were classified and recorded from these video tapes which were viewed after the completion of all tutoring sessions. Four tasks (charts, graphs, diagrams, maps) were utilized for three tutoring conditions. The conditions were (1) tutor taught same learner with different tasks, (2) tutor taught different learner with different tasks, and (3) tutor taught different learner with same task. With all three groups combined, time decreased across sessions, rapport increased across sessions, neutral feedback increased across sessions, and nonverbal social reinforcement fluctuated across sessions. Learners rated tutors as tutors highest during their first tutoring session and lowest during their final session. The number of low level questions correctly answered by the learner decreased across sessions. When the three groups were examined separately the following results were obtained: Group 1, no significant differences across sessions; Group 2, rapport increased, time decreased, learner rating of the tutor as tutor decreased across sessions; Group 3, lower level question repeats increased across sessions. There were 74 significant correlations between the 29 dependent variables (teaching strategies) and the individual differences variables of the tutors and learners. In addition, 23 variables were significantly correlated with learner gain scores. When tutors were separated into best tutors and worst tutors significant differences in teaching strategies were found to exist between the two groups. The results of this study provide limited support for the idea that tutors change their teaching strategies due to the experience of tutoring. This study also indicated that individual difference variables of the tutor and learner are related to teaching strategies, and that specific individual difference variables and tutor teaching strategies are related to learner gain.