Learning is as easy as ABC…or is it? In my previous blog post, I mentioned that I was frequently asked about what I actually do in my role as a tutor. I have made a list of the A-Z of Tutoring, and this blog is the second of two parts. You can find the first part here.
N – Numeracy
Many students come to me for Maths support. Some students in Ireland find they struggle in 5th Class when Maths becomes much more challenging. Other students in secondary school like to have the support and extra practice that tuition with Emerald Education Centre provides for them. Working online, I also help students in many other countries, including supporting students in the USA within the Common Core Standards framework and working with students in Asia who follow the Singapore Maths curriculum.
O – Online lessons
Online tuition has really grown in recent years. It is very convenient. Your child can learn from the comfort of their own home. No rushing from A to B. No dashing around in the car to pick up when lessons have finished. Having everything you need at your fingertips means that any resources can be instantly shared with the student. I use video conference software and an online whiteboard called BitPaper, allowing me and my students to write on the board, just as we would if we were using paper and pen, sitting side by side. I actually use a lot of my online resources with my students who work in my centre, meaning I can access exactly the right work for every student, every time. Some of my online students use a camera to allow me to see their work as they write. I can also make screenshots of their work and share it on my whiteboard, so we can discuss and improve it.
P – Practice Makes Perfect!
Many people think that tuition is only for students who find learning difficult, or for those students who have fallen behind. This is not so. Tuition is a good fit for everyone. The more you practice, the better you become. I have students who are very able and are being stretched academically through tuition. Many exam students work with me to give them extra practice in certain areas to ensure they feel confident in their own abilities.
Q – Quick Wins
Sometimes I have long term students – I have several who have been with me for three years now – but equally, I sometimes have students for a short period of time. When a specific goal is set and tried-and-tested methods are used, students can ‘achieve-and-leave’ in as little as 10 weeks.
R – Revision
Many of my older students feel the benefits of tuition and use my services to help them with revision. I have helped many 2nd years come up with revision timetables and strategies that will serve them well as they move into studying for exams. Revision and weekly review sessions help keep strategies and methods fresh, no matter how old the student is. If you regularly visit topics, you have a much faster recall.
S – Spelling
Spelling is a huge part of the service I offer. In fact, I assess the spelling ability of all of my students who come to me for English support. Learning spelling rules helps students know when to apply them in their independent writing. I use many hands-on methods in my sessions, playing games and using technology to help give my students access to the very best resources and subscription services. I have access to some wonderful online resources, and many games that help motivate and engage children. This makes them keen to learn, as they are having fun whilst making progress.
T – Testing
I offer a free initial assessment to all of my primary aged students. This serves the joint purposes of helping both the tutor and the student discover if we are a good fit for each other, in addition to providing me with baseline data on the student’s ability. This enables me to put together a tailor-made programme of learning to bridge any gaps they may have in their knowledge and understanding. It also means we have the data with which to make future comparisons for measuring progress.
U – Understanding
Understanding and empathy are crucial qualities for a good tutor. In order for a student to make the most of their time with me, I must have a good understanding of not only their strengths and weaknesses but also their interests and what makes them ‘tick’. Having that rapport with my students is one of the most important elements of ensuring that we work well together.
V – Virtual Classroom
Just like the way I run my centre for my in-person students, my ‘virtual classroom’ has to be well organised and efficient. When a student begins to work online with me, I create an online file in a cloud-based system especially for them. I make links to resources that I use with them. Some students like to have access to these files too, so they can access homework tasks I set for them to complete. Other students prefer me to email their homework to them. I also give my new students a ‘virtual tour’ of the online whiteboard (BitPaper.io) and the video conferencing software (Zoom) that we use.
W – Writing
I help students improve their writing skills through grammar exercises and creative writing. I use many wonderful resources, from story cubes, sequencing and story cards with the younger students to story starters, picture stimuli, and short videos to inspire my young writers. We look at the different techniques authors use and ‘steal their style’ in our work.
X – x-axis and y-axis
Coordinate Geometry, love it or hate it, is something that my older students have to get to grips with. As well as helping JC/GCSE Maths students understand how to find the midpoint, slope or equation of a line, I also work with younger students to help them get their heads around coordinate geometry, know their x-axis from their y-axis and have fun playing games such as Battleships to plot coordinates.
Y – Yeats
W.B. Yeats , Seamus Heaney, and Patrick Kavanagh are all Irish poets that our students study in Junior Cycle English. In order to help them analyse poetry effectively during their exam, students must be familiar with the works of these poets and understand the structure, vocabulary choices, and meaning behind their poetry. We can help to develop these skills in our English sessions, through studying poetry such as ‘He Wishes for The Cloths Of Heaven’ by W.B. Yeats – one of my personal favourites!
Z – Zoom
Last, but by no means least, is Zoom.us, the video conferencing software I use for online tutoring. In my opinion, it is far superior to any other video calling software and so reliable that dropped calls are extremely rare. I use this to work with students globally, including those who only live a few miles away from me to those on the other side of the world.
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