If a person can advocate for themselves, their potential is endless.
If I Only Knew Then What I Know Now
When I was younger I should have advocated for myself to have a tutor in school. I lacked the skills for self-efficacy. I struggled in middle-school and high-school, but was lucky that my father and mother worked in academia, so I had the support if I needed at home. At the same time, I was embarrassed and self-conscious that I had an auditory learning disability. I forget the name of it, but the gist is that depending on where I sat in the classroom I either listened or didn’t listen. And I had trouble getting words out onto paper when writing an essay, for example. And since I didn’t like the fact that I had a learning disability, and didn’t ask for help when I needed to, it made school that much more harder for me.
At the time, in middle-school and high-school, I didn’t know I preferred kinaesthetic and visual learning. I didn’t know I learn best when I’m physically active and using my body or sense of touch (hands on activities), or when information is presented in a visual way like, pictures, posters, drawings, diagrams, etc. Heck, even when I was in college, I refused to get accommodations for assignments and tests. I was eligible to receive extended time for exams and to even have a note-taker take all of my notes. But because I was self-conscious of a learning disability, I took my own notes during class, but couldn’t pay attention as I wrote them. That’s probably why I asked so many questions, to an annoying degree.
Support or Struggle
As a tutor, one of the best things you can do for a student, is to teach them how to learn. Help them identify their strengths and how they prefer to have information presented to them. This is called a Learning Style – ways people prefer to learn. A lot of the time, students have simply gone with the flow of the classroom and peers, and think the only way to learn is memorization, repetition, and writing things down. Now, some people do flourish with the reading and writing style of learning – where they learn better by writing down the information, also known as the conventional study method. But maybe the student hasn’t been exposed to other ways of learning. That’s where the tutor comes in. Let’s get one things straight: tutors aren’t teachers. Tutors don’t create curriculums, tutors don’t evaluate assignments and tests, and tutors don’t instruct a large group of people. Tutors help prepare students for assignments and tests by reintroducing the course content in a meaningful way that focuses on a students specific learning style. Tutors help clarify questions in different ways and give many examples in order to help the student see answers at different angles. And a tutors focus should be to create individualized and personalized teaching-strategies for an individual or small group (1-3) of students. All of this helps facilitate a personalized learning environment, so the students learning experience is a positive one, so the student actually enjoys themselves when learning something new, and feels more confident in studying content on their own.
The Point is to Stop
A tutors job is to eventually not be needed. Tutors support a person until the person can support themselves. Life long learning is a skill that we teach. Or even better, we can help them reach a deeper understanding of course content by taking them through the different levels of awareness and insight. For example, we can assess a students knowledge of a particular piece of content they need to learn, by asking them to define, identify, list, or recall the correct answers. Once the students can define a term or recall their memory of learning the term – then we can take them to higher order levels of learning.
For example, let’s say you’re teaching a high school student about Intrinsic Motivation. Let’s say you’ve already gone over the definition of Intrinsic Motivation (motivation that comes from within, inside a person, the person creates their own motivation). If a student can identify a term, then the next step towards deeper understanding, is to have the students try and give examples of Intrinsic Motivation. Once the student has given examples, a tutor can show the student that they have demonstrated how to use their own Intrinsic Motivation. An example could be the student created their own motivation from within by getting up in the morning, getting themselves ready, bringing their textbooks and devices, and showing up to the tutor session on time. That right there is motivation to do well, it shows that the student wants to be successful. The student can then examine how they created their own motivation intrinsically.
This process of defining a term -> listing examples of a term -> implementing the term -> and examining their demonstration of a term, is a process of taking a student through deep or higher levels of understanding a concept. This skill can be used in all other aspects of their lives, not just academics. These life long skills you teach as a tutor, will give students intrinsic motivation to do well, the confidence to advocate for themselves, and to actually enjoy the process of learning new things.
Did you know I have a book about tutoring?
It’s called The Tutor Template: A Step-by-Step Guide to Tutoring, you can find it here on Amazon and Gumroad.
The price will be going up soon so get your inexpensive copy now while you still can!
Latest Blog Posts…
- Open Everything Up!
- The Tutor Template Telegram – Issue #4
- The Tutor Template Telegram – Issue #3
- The Tutor Template Telegram – Issue #2
- The Tutor Template Telegram – Issue #1