Building a strong rapport with the student
Building an atmosphere of trust and respect is key to the tutor/tutee relationship. A student who trusts and respects his tutor and his tutor’s abilities is happy and relaxed. And feeling happy and relaxed are key ingredients to successful learning.
Successful tutors are able to put themselves in their students’ shoes. Not all students find learning easy. Shakespearean language, Latin verbs or quadratic equations are a doddle if you have specialised in this area and studied your subject to undergraduate level and beyond. It is easy to forget that a child may find these concepts much harder to grasp. So a tutor needs to find out the best way in which to communicate their knowledge to each individual child.
Understanding students’ individual learning styles
Everybody learns differently. Put simply, most people are a mixture of auditory, visual or kinaesthetic (learning through action) learners. The child who finds it difficult to sit still in a classroom environment may be predominantly a kinaesthetic learner, who would benefit from learning through physical action as opposed to sitting passively and listening to the teacher. This a very simple method and a good tutor will use this as just one of the methods to inform their tuition.
Engaging students’ interests
A good tutor finds out what makes his or her student’s heart sing. If this happens to be computer gaming, he or she is likely to be more fired up in an English tutorial if their tutor uses well-written articles and visuals on computer gaming to illustrate comprehension and grammar skills. A dreary article from the Times on current politics may well send your computer gaming fan into the depths of despair. The more the student’s interests are engaged, the more they care about what they are learning.
In-depth subject knowledge and the ability to relate this to real life
Successful tutors engage students more fully if they can make their subject come alive. The successful tutor does not always rely on abstract assignments or set vocabulary for the student to learn by rote. By turning assignments into project-based activities and providing opportunities to relate these to real-life situations, the tutor is able to demonstrate the value of the subject outside the classroom.
The successful tutor is prepared for each tutorial, but he also has to be prepared to change the content at the drop of a hat. You may come to the tutorial armed with all sorts of fun exercises and songs on French irregular verbs, only to find your tutee in floods of tears over her impending oral exam the following morning. So you have to be prepared to switch and be in tune with your student’s needs.
Communication with parents and teachers
The successful tutor communicates clearly and frequently with all key adults involved in the student’s learning. Drawing up a study plan, with clear timescales and academic goals is vital. It is equally important that this plan is reviewed at regular intervals and changes are made where necessary.
Having used tutors for all my children, at various stages in their lives, I have found that those who took the time to find out what really motivated them and made them tick, were the most successful in helping them achieve their goals.
Lumos Education was delighted to be invited to speak at the International Investment Center’s Sixth Conference held over two days in Geneva: both at the science research centre in CERN and at the United Nations (UN) in Geneva. The theme of this year’s conference was “International Co-operation: Innovation as a tool for social and economic change.” As Lumos Education work with clients all over the globe, this theme fitted well with our philosophy of helping to promote academic mobility and education across borders. Johanna Mitchell, Director of Lumos Education, gave a presentation to conference participants entitled “Education and the Arts: a key to International Collaboration.”
The Conference was dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the United Nations. We were honoured to play a small part in the UN’s promotion of international co-operation.
For many parents, choosing a school for their child is one of the most important decisions they will ever make. Here are 8 top tips to help:
1) Visit the school
Ideally, visit the school yourself. There is no substitute for breathing the air, stalking the classrooms and using your intuition. If this is not possible, and you are based abroad, or relocating, use an experienced independent education consultant with connections to your preferred schools, who will advocate for you. This person should be an education expert and ideally a parent themselves who has children in the same school system.
2) Speak to the teachers.
And don’t be afraid to ask probing questions: are they happy, do they like the head, do they feel supported in their work? Notice how the teachers interact with the children- are they warm and caring?
3) Speak to the children.
Many schools use current pupils to show you around. As above, ask relevant questions, especially about pastoral care.
4) Ask your child
The school is for them, after all. You may hanker after St Paul’s, but your child may be better suited to Bedales.
5) League Tables
League tables have their place, but do not rely on them. Many of the best schools refuse to partipicate in them anyway.
6) Word of mouth
Do not under-estimate the power of the parental grapevine. Schools can change remarkably quickly. News of a staff resignation, bullying or inadequate teaching travels likes wildfire through parental networks and well before any inspectorate or Ofsted gets a whiff. If you don’t know any parents at the school, use an independent education consultant whom you trust.
7) Don’t worry
Yes, choosing a school for your child can be challenging. But very few schools are truly terrible. And remember that….
8) Your decision is not set in stone
This simple fact takes the pressure off.
If your child is unhappy at your chosen school, you have the power to change this. There are some scenarios that you cannot plan for such as the other children in your child’s form group: they may be wonderful, but they may be little horrors. Make it clear to your child that any issues that arise can be resolved – and that in life, it is to ok to change a decision.