Tutor Selection 8: What Your Tutor needs to know from You

Tutor Selection 8: What Your Tutor needs to know from You

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Good tutors become invested in their students’ success and want to be sure their customers are happy with the results. If your tutor appears without asking any questions of your child, warning flags should appear immediately. After all, how can one fully understand a child’s needs if they do not seek the answers from their parents? This will usually end up with a cutter-cookie lesson approach that the tutor adopts towards all of their students – instead of a customised one. If your potential tutor asks you questions about you child, celebrate! That means the tutor is sincere in getting to know your child a little better. Some questions a passionate tutor may ask are:

How does your child feel about being tutored?

It may surprise some parents but there are some children who are very resistant to tutoring. This is especially true for students who associate tutoring with ‘being stupid’. Thus, they may not do their best or misbehave during tutoring sessions.

 

How does your child feel about standardized tests? Does s/he get anxious? What are his/her past standardized test scores like?

There are some children who have very bad anxiety attacks when they face examinations and yet, do very well during class tests and assignments. In this case, it may not be the weakness in subjects but rather, it is more vital that the students learn skills to cope with anxiety attacks.

 

How is your child’s memory?

While understanding concepts are more useful in the long run, memory is a necessary foundation for retaining information. If the tutor is able to pinpoint the exact issues in the memory lapses, the good ones will incorporate memory tips and techniques in the course of tutoring.

 

Does the school agree with your assessment of your child? 

It is not uncommon to hear of some parents having bias towards their own children. While this is not a statement that we must accept the school’s assessment of the child at face value, it is necessary to verify that both schools and parents have the same understanding of the root issues of the child.

 

Does your child have any specific organisational / study skill issues? 

Like it was mentioned in the earlier posts, a child may be suffering rom organisational or study skill issues instead of lack of understanding towards a topic or subject. If your potential tutor is able to identify and address these issues, you should be able to see gradual changes in your child’s organisational and study skills that will aid him/her for the rest of their lives. Good tutors are willing to teach that – and put themselves out of their job. 

 

Tutors:

  1. “Tuition Ruined my Childhood”
  2. How to gauge if your child really needs a tutor
  3. 5 Types of tutoring available
  4. 6 Types of Tutoring Options and their pros/ cons
  5. Types of Tutors in Singapore
  6. Analyzing FB Tuition ads in Singapore
  7. Factors to evaluate your Potential Tutor and Questions to Assess Them
  8. What Your Tutor needs to Know From You
  9. Types of Teaching Methods
Tutor Selection Part 7: 6 Factors and Questions to Evaluate Potential Tutor

Tutor Selection Part 7: 6 Factors and Questions to Evaluate Potential Tutor

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It is not uncommon to hear of rogue tutors or tutors to fall short of expectations. By then parents often face such distress due to the short amount of time left and our children will usually be the ones who suffer.

Most parents often skip the interview but this is really the most vital. What you are doing is that you are making sure the tutor is the right person for the job of tutoring your child to reach their maximum potential.

 

Here are 6 questions and factors you can use to interview your next potential tutor and why do you do so.

 1) “Why do you tutor?”

This question is simply for you to gauge the passion of a tutor. If the tutor provides monosyllabic answers with little elaborations in a monotonous manner, warning flags should appear in your head. This may mean that the tutor may be just doing it out purely as a job, rather than for passion.

 

2) “What are the steps/ sequence in a typical tutoring session?”

For this question, you are gauging if the tutor is aware of the teaching sequence for one-to-one or group tuition. Some tutors will waste your time and money. If the tutor is just sitting there to watch your child do homework, he/she is really playing the babysitter role. During the session, this is deceiving because it seems like your child is learning a lot, but the reality is that the tutor is missing major weaknesses.

When tutors tell you the rough sequence in the session, you will know how the tutor maximise the effective use of time in a session. Sure, they will deviate some sessions if there are some topics that require more time but generally they should follow the sequence they stated.

3) “What would you do if my child disclosed something to you during the session that raised concern?”

This happens more often than you think. When a child forms rapport with a tutor, they may tell tutors things that they do not usually tell their parents. This is fine – for most part. Most things that the children would share with their tutors would revolve around trivial stuff on crushes and school. However, what happens if these situations turn for the worse (e.g. bullying, molest, etc) and your child only confide them to the tutor? It is important that your potential tutor must establish that trust and agreement with you that the he/she must tell you about it.

 

4) “What skills do you look at / will impart during tutoring sessions?”

Nobody wants to depend on tuition forever. One of the main goals of a tutor is to help your child to become an independent learner. While certain lessons may focus on a particularly troublesome topic, learning to understand and appreciate the learning process, theory and logic behind concepts will help your child overcome subsequent obstacles, avoid future frustration and flourish as a student. Memorisation should not be the ultimate learning strategy as it will only produce short term results. To improve at studies, it usually require 3 areas: i) behaviour, ii) test strategy and iii) test content. A tutor will usually assess the behaviour of your child first before being able to impart other skills.  Here are some factor they may look at:

Behavior:

  • Motivation
  • Review
  • Right attitude

Test Strategy: 

  • Budget time
  • How to answer different types of questions

Test Content: 

  • Identification of weaknesses
  • Right resources to improve these weaknesses

 

5) “What’s your availability like?”

You need to clarify several things such as their available schedule near examinations and how flexible they are in cancelling sessions. Decide what will happen if your child or your tutor is sick. Will there be a make-up session and any fee for the missed session?

 

6) “How often will you update me on my child’s progress?”

Tutors should be able to tell you if they notice any improvements in your child – be it attitude, marks or behaviour. If you are not in the know, you will not be able to properly assess any improvement in your child. If no improvements are made, you can check out if it’s incompatibility of teaching and learning styles or inexperience of tutoring one with different learning needs. That way, you can properly assess if a switch is needed.

 

Tutors:

  1. “Tuition Ruined my Childhood”
  2. How to gauge if your child really needs a tutor
  3. 5 Types of tutoring available
  4. 6 Types of Tutoring Options and their pros/ cons
  5. Types of Tutors in Singapore
  6. Analyzing FB Tuition ads in Singapore
  7. Factors to evaluate your Potential Tutor and Questions to Assess Them
  8. What Your Tutor needs to Know From You
  9. Types of Teaching Methods

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Tutor Selection Part 5: Types of Home Tutors in Singapore

Tutor Selection Part 5: Types of Home Tutors in Singapore

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“Parents perceive tuition as a form of safety net and something that is necessary because everyone else is doing it,” – Nexus Link chief methodologist Jack Loo ( 7 in 10 parents send their children for tuition: ST poll July 4 2015 Straits Times)

You know the tuition scene in Singapore is really crazy when overseas universities take it as a case study for tutorial. We know the there are 4 main types of tutors in Singapore: i) Student Tutors, ii) Part Time, iii) Full Time and iv) Current/ Ex Teachers.  Let’s use this photo from SGAG as a guide (click picture for their FB) for their possible ‘patterns’: 1240315_700298069985184_672982466_n

Polytechnic/JC/Undergraduate student Tutor

Charging one of the lowest fees, these students would have the memories of most topics fresh in their mind. As they are still pursuing their education, they can relate to your children as they understand the stress  and conditions your child is facing. While the students may be able to use them as role models, these tutors may lack the know-how in teaching a topic properly.  Furthermore, some tutors may be in as they are fully aware of how much one can make giving tuition. Thus, they may give or fully commit their best.

Now, with social media, it is also very possible to form closer relationships especially if the relatively young tutors do not draw a clear line…. and some of these relationships may not be very appropriate.

Possible ‘Pattern’: The Gamer, The Wayang King, The Slacker, The Spoilt Clock, The Joker

Freelance Part-time Tutor

Many of these tutors are usually working and only provide tuition on evenings and weekends. Depending on how committed and passionate they are, your child may learn some valuable life-lessons or …witness  tired individuals who are too tired to commit their full attention after a day’s work. By then, some may be too tired to teach but press on anyway.

Their charges tend to vary with references to the type of qualifications and years of experience. Many of them either do it for the passion or to increase experience until they find/ think their market value is high enough to command higher fees. That is when they may switch to full-time instead.

Possible ‘Pattern’:  The Spoilt Clock, The Wayang King, The KPKB, The Sulk Face

 

Full-time Tutor

The next step for part-time tutors; many would usually make the switch if they find/think they can command higher fees and earn more than their basic jobs. These tutors will usually specialise in a subject and by then, they are usually very familiar with these topics. Thus, they are able to pinpoint specific weaknesses in their students. If they are travelling from home to home, you will find they will usually leave on the dot.

By then, many are very set in their ways of teaching. Those who are more established will either be very charismatic (‘Joker’) or believes in very firm methods which are usually favoured by desperate parents. Some will use their past schools as a possible

Possible ‘Pattern’:  The Joker, The KPKB, The Sulk Face, The Expensive

 

Current/ Ex-Teachers

This is the most popular and expensive category. They will be the ones with the first hand news of the latest educational changes in Singapore and those who are very experienced, may even be able to spot potential questions that are highly likely to come out in this year examinations. As they were trained in the subjects, they should be at a better position of teaching than the other tutors…

but not necessarily all of  them may do so.

It is interesting to take note that it’s not true that being a teacher automatically teaches one skills on how to teach. So for example, a teacher may know what is a possible issue for this student but he/she may not necessarily explain it in layman terms better than another who has not undergo NIE training. In short, NIE usually teaches the content, rather than how to explain in simpler terms. Furthermore, some of these teachers are quite set in their thinking and teaching methods that may not necessarily appeal to students.

Possible ‘Pattern’: The KPKB, The Sulk Face, The Expensive

 

What are your thoughts? Share them with me!

 

Tutors:

  1. “Tuition Ruined my Childhood”
  2. How to gauge if your child really needs a tutor
  3. 5 Types of tutoring available
  4. 6 Types of Tutoring Options and their pros/ cons
  5. Types of Tutors in Singapore
  6. Factors to evaluate your Potential Tutor and Questions to Assess Them
  7. What Your Tutor needs to Know From You
  8. Types of Teaching Methods

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Tutor Selection Part 3: 5 Types of tutoring that You should be Aware of

Tutor Selection Part 3: 5 Types of tutoring that You should be Aware of

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Before I begin, I like to share a story.

Mdm X came up to me one day and started lamenting how her child was ‘not smart’ and that she was falling behind in many subjects. “I tried tuition but she is just not improving. Do you know how many tuition teachers I have changed? I sent her to group tuition but it didn’t end up well. I sent her for private tuition but she doesn’t seem to be progressing. What should I do? Why is she so stupid?”

The poor child, a quiet girl of 11, was frustrated herself. Although she did not share her frustrations with her mother, it was obvious that she wasn’t sure why she wasn’t doing well either. For example, I observed that she kept hugging herself tightly as her mother spoke to me. Finally, I asked to take a look at her schoolbag and homework.

It was a mess. There were doodles everywhere. Dates were incomplete. Assignments were missing. Notes were incomplete. How can she handle her subjects when she can’t even handle her thoughts and organisation?

Eventually, I taught her how to organise her materials first before learning how to analyse patterns in the common ways information and questions of various subjects are posed by teachers. By then, her mother realised her folly of calling her daughter ‘stupid’ and had to eat her words when her daughter returned 3rd in class.

In Singapore, it seems there is only 1 type of tutoring option available: private or group tuition for a subject specific. Yet, tuition is really much more than that.

Remediation 

What: 

This is needed if your child is struggling with materials in their current grade. Constant teaching and practicing of specific skills allows your child to catch up to the level.

When is it needed:

When your child is falling behind with reading, math and writing for that particular level

Who provides it:

Private tutors, learning centres, educational therapists and online tutoring programs

 

Maintenance  

What: 

Your child may just require more practice to meet his/her academic goals. However, he/she may need organization, time management and study skills to help him/her manage his workload

When is it needed:

When your child works at grade level but needs help to keep doing so. Good for kids with ADHDexecutive functioning issues or a tendency to be overwhelmed by changes in routine or workload.

Who provides it:

Private tutors and educational therapists

 

Support  

What: 

When your child requires a combination of remediation and maintenance tutoring, this tutoring option focuses both on trouble spots and on current work so that your child doesn’t fall further behind.

When is it needed:

When your child is struggling in specific skill areas (such as math or reading), but works at grade level in other areas.

Who provides it:

Tutors, learning centers, private tutors, online tutoring programs

 

Test Preparation  

What: 

Teaching skills and techniques for taking tests. Can be used for specific tests like the SAT, which involves learning content and the format of the test.

When is it needed:

When your child has test anxiety, doesn’t perform well on tests or has executive functioning issues.

Who provides it:

Learning centers, private tutors, online test-prep programs

 

Enrichment 

What: 

Providing activities to enrich your child’s existing skills or knowledge in certain subjects or areas.

When is it needed:

When your child has special interests or areas of strength in which he wants to be challenged or learn more. May be a good afterschool option for gifted kids.

Who provides it:

Learning centers, private tutors, online tutoring programs

 

Tutors:

  1. “Tuition Ruined my Childhood”
  2. How to gauge if your child really needs a tutor
  3. 5 Types of tutoring available
  4. Types of Tutoring Options and their pros/ cons
  5. Types of Tutors in Singapore
  6. Factors to evaluate your Potential Tutor and Questions to Assess Them
  7. What Your Tutor needs to Know From You
  8. Types of Teaching Methods

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Tutor Selection Part 2: How to Gauge if your Child REALLY needs a Tutor

Tutor Selection Part 2: How to Gauge if your Child REALLY needs a Tutor

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TUITION. The billion-dollar industry that everyone is talking about.   Advertisements of an extremely wide range of services from academic coaching to enrichment to subject-specific bombard parents so much so that parents are fearing that if they do not send their child to any of these services – their child and they will lose out in the end. When I spoke to some parents on why they send their children for tuition, answers range from “So that they can enrol in the Gifted program” to “I don’t think he can self-study without supervision.”  But how do you know if your child really needs tuition?

There are 3 major fields of tutoring:

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If your Child needs a Subject Specific Tutor

SmartificationThe biggest warning sign is when one of your child’s teachers expresses concern about her progress or about what her final grade might be.

If your child struggles with a particular subject, it can be a variety of reasons. The most common reason is probably that the teacher may be teaching too fast as he/she needs to cover a number of topics within a given (usually short) time frame. Most children really need more practices and reviews but somehow the teacher has already move on with some of the classmates. If your child is poor in expressing themselves, they will find it difficult to formulate her questions and thus face trouble getting help from a particular teacher.

Another possible reason is that while your child is able to keep up with class discussions and projects in a class or receive good grades on homework and project, they are still unable to see it in a “big picture” manner (how one topic links to another part or ‘piecing the jigsaw’) and thus, tend not to do well on tests. This happens when questions are often tweaked slightly from a different perspective and lo and behold! Your child finds that somehow, they are unable to answer that question even though they seem to have talked and practiced it a thousand times before.


RELATED:  The REAL Reason why Parents are not Allowed in Motivational Camps


 

If your Child needs a Organisational  Tutor

smartificationThere are some students who always seem perpetually ‘lost’.

Somehow when it’s time to study, your child just can’t find the information in her/his notes or even loses her/his assignments. Their homework is often in a mess and incomplete but somehow she/he can never find the time to finish them. They hardly plan their time. They don’t know how to review their tests because he/she waste more time studying content they already know instead of what is needed for the test or assignments. These students either have disabling organisational styles or exhibit a divergent style of thinking (Visual Spatial aka CREATIVE). What they need is really an Academic Coach who is able to teach them planning and organisational methods as well as study skills. This helps them to juggle both time and understand how studies really work.

(Please note that some children are messy but are still able to do well in their studies.).

Most times, parents of these children will go “I know they can do it one but they are just not paying enough attention.” They may not identify what is the real issue their child may be facing.

What they really need is someone who can teach them how to organise their thinking, schedules and notes.


RELATED: 6 Reasons why MotivationalCamps for Children do not help – backed by Science


 

If your Child needs a Special Education  Tutor

smartificationIf your child continues to do poorly even with tuition, your child may need a little more guidance. If your child’s teacher comments that your child seems to know the material during class discussions but does poorly in tests, it may be due to the strong anxiety that your child feels as they don’t feel secure about what she knows in class.

One thing that most parents don’t realise is that topics don’t exist in isolation. A topic is usually linked to several topics and your child may have trouble pulling together multiple ideas in his/her written work. This results in your child having issues working

Another possible reason that your child may be suffering from poor grades may be due to difficulty with reading comprehension. Once this happens,  this can affect his/her grades in multiple classes or subjects since reading is involved. This can couple with your child’s unclear understanding of their weaknesses and they may not know strategies on how to work around them. For example, those who are more diligent may continue studying without breaks when they need them.

When your child suffers from such strong anxiety, this makes it very difficult for them to learn or the be able to navigate life well if obstacles come across their way. This is when parental support is extremely vital and parent-bonding courses are required because once anxiety takes root in your child, anything can be a trigger and leads to drastic consequences.

When Parents Push their Children Who are Already Scoring Well

There are some children who are pushed by their parents to go for additional classes – believing that it will help to stretch their children. One thing to note – these courses are only successful only if your child enjoys going for these lessons as learning takes place only when it is fun.

However, there are those who go for extra tuition just to maintain their As. When this happens, the message that we are telling these students that they cannot be happy anywhere but at a small, selective group of colleges or universities. When this occurs, any deviation from their As may results in tragic results. Doing so may encourage impatience with their development and gives the wrong impression of what success in their lives should be. These students may not be able to realise the full potential of their abilities and interests.

If you need advice or have enquiries regarding the above post, please contact me at facebook.com/Smartification.

Tutors:

  1. “Tuition Ruined my Childhood”
  2. How to gauge if your child really needs a tutor
  3. Types of tutoring available
  4. Types of Tutoring Options and their pros/ cons
  5. Types of Tutors in Singapore
  6. Factors to evaluate your Potential Tutor and Questions to Assess Them
  7. What Your Tutor needs to Know From You
  8. Types of Teaching Methods

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