Granny Smith Apples

Granny Smith Apples

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Tutoring. To Do or Not To Do?

If your child is having any difficulty in school what is the first resource you think of?  Most parents will begin to look at tutoring for their child.  It seems like a simple answer but it's not.  How do you find a tutor and what concrete expectations can you have?  Do you want the tutor to work on your child's homework or do you want the tutor to work on supplemental teaching material?  How many hours of tutoring do you need?  What qualifications does your tutor need?  Most of all, how do you know tutoring will be effective in helping your child see more success academically?

In my experience, here are some things you should consider if you want to see academic improvment.

1)  Merely completing homework will result in short term but NOT long term improvement.

Completion of homework during a tutoring session may result in academic improvement because handing in homework is usually an integral percentage of the grade.  Academic improvement is also seen because homework reinforces what is learned in the classroom.  Unfortunately homework completion does not address why your child is having learning difficulties.  Homework completion does not help a child with ADHD learn skills to be more organized and sequenced in order to independently go through the process of completing homework.  Homework completion does not help a child with reading difficulties learn better decoding and comprehension skills.  The limitation of only completing homework is often seen in the discrepency between work completed at home and in school.

2)  A qulaified tutor can adapt to the learning style and needs of your child.

Many times tutors are experts with the material but have no formal education background.   Some of these tutors are fabulous and have a natural knack for teaching.   Other times these tutors only teach the way they were taught and make use of repitition and rote memory (i.e. worksheets) as the teaching strategy.   A qualified tutor is a person who understands child development and can apply a variety of educational strategies.   A qualified tutor usually has a background in education.   A qualified tutor can explain the material to your child in a variety of ways and provide different ways of practice.  A qualified tutor can pinpoint learning gaps and help fill them in.

3)  A tutor does not replace parental involvement in the learning process.

I cannot stress this point enough.  Tutoring works best when the parent remains involved in the learning process!  Once a week tutoring will not improve academic performance as much as parents spending 10 minutes each day reviewing the child's schoolwork.  In elementary school this means purposefully supervising your child's homework time or nightly reading.  In high school this means checking to see if homework is completed and helping your child plan ahead for academic commitments.  If the tutor assigns supplemental work, ensure your child completes it.  Doing this lets your child know you not only value education but you also are supporting them to reach their full potential.

Effective tutoring addresses the core reasons why your child is having difficulty achieving academic success.   Effective tutoring gives your child the skills to become more independent in completing homework and other school tasks.

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