At Fredonia - Advising is Individualized Teaching
Good advice about advising comes from many different sources. Key to every relationship, of course, is communication. We start, then, with some basic information that will help you, the advisor, and your advisee get the most out of this very important relationship. Please keep in mind that whether you work with this student for one semester or for his/her entire academic career, you may be the single most important person s/he talks to while s/he is here.
Communication Skills in the Advisor-Advisee Relationship
To assist students in decision making, the following skills are particularly important.
Listening is the most basic advising skill. The elements of listening behavior include eye contact, body language, verbal responses, and vocal tone. Most helpful to advisees are involved advisors who practice active listening skills. Examples of active listening skills for advisors are as follows:
Advisors need to HEAR as well as LISTEN. One way in which advisors can demonstrate that advisees have been heard is by paraphrasing, or restating to advisees what they have said. Along with paraphrasing, advisors need to demonstrate a sensitivity to the feelings behind the words by reflecting those feelings back to advisees. Used in combination, paraphrasing and reflecting can ensure more open and caring communication, as well as promote greater understanding between advisors and advisees.
Questioning is a third skill advisors need in order to facilitate discussions with advisees. Questions can open new areas for discussion, they can help advisees explore concerns, and they can help identify issues in the discussion.
TYPES OF QUESTIONS
Continuing (Key Word) Questions:Ask your advisees for a more detailed explanation of what they were saying.
We continue these thoughts with a few other sources that we think you will find interesting and helpful as you work through situations that arise during your advising sessions.