Friday, June 15, 2007

Top 10 Practices: How to get the best out of home study/ tuition?

  1. Establish a routine- get into a habit studying two or three mornings or evenings every week. Even if the time allocated or the work done is little, as long as it’s done regularly that’s better than doing a lot of work all at once every now and then. One of the main reason people fail to do well in their exams is due to students attempting to do the whole year’s of revision over a small space of time. This is unnatural both for the body and the mind. The body won’t be able to cope with the sudden spurt of long revision hours. The brain won’t be able absorbe all the information as it’s not used to it. So, it’s best to get into a habit or working once, twice or three times a week.
  2. Make a study plan- plan what and when to revise. If it helps, make a to do list. Even a mental plan of what you need to learn and get done before you start working each day helps to keep you on track. You will feel a sense of satisfaction when you tick off each item from your list of tasks. You might find this free weekly study plan sheet useful.
  3. Get the right resources- practice using the right stationery, past papers, calculators, books, and even good online softwares. I am sure you know this one, but I have to re-iterate it, you MUST get hold of past examination papers and start familiarising yourself with the type of questions that will come in the exam. Take advantage of all the free resources on the internet. Some of the websites home tutors have listed are quite resourceful.
  4. Study what’s relevant- know what’s in the syllabus, ask your teacher, or see past exam papers to get an idea. What you and I know would probably not even total a drop in the ocean of knowledge. So, don’t go in a tangent and spend your study time learning about something which will not yield many marks in the exam. Prioritise the topics which are worth more marks. Check with your teacher what’s relevant and what’s not. If you are an University student, try doing past paper analysis. Study the questions and the trend, and inform your revision based on the the trend (something I did when I was at University, at the end I only had to revise just two questions!!).
  5. Use the net- select a core list of websites as study aids. You might not find what you are looking for in Home Tutors list of recommended websites, so do a search and bookmark the pages which caters for your individual needs, but don’t waste too much time surfing the net. Sometimes it’s worth investing in a text book or paid subscription. If you can spend time to save money then think about spending money to save time! (Time = money!)
  6. Get expert help- from school / college, professional online courses, and, of course a tutor. Take advantage of people who have studied your subject before. This could be your friend, a senior student, an educated relative or a professional. There are advantages and disadvantages of using online courses. Some of you may find it useful whilst others may find one-to-one tuition more beneficial. It’s really up to you. If you can’t decide, then spend a bit money and try them both. See which method is suitable for your needs.
  7. Prepare for tuition- attempt all work /questions yourself, know what you need help in, study an hour before tuition. As a private tutor I only know too well how unprepared pupils can be before the tutor arrives. Sometimes, even the books and the stationery have to be looked for before starting the lesson. Well, it’s your loss! After all, how else are you going to make best use of your tuition hour if you don’t know what you need help in. Remember, time is money! Prepare before hand.
  8. Make a study buddy- work at the same time as one another, enter into friendly competition.. Human beings are social beings and so we always need to be in the company of other human beings, without which we will not enjoy the pleasures of life. So, don’t go against your nature if you are the sort of person who gets motivated and encourage by being in the company of friends and family. Work with someone, or get someone to work with you. There are many study clubs, libraries, or even quiet cafes which might be a better environment to study for you.
  9. Practice, Revise, Assess- practice using sample papers, buy a book of sample papers take online tests (some of them are free). It’s very important that you always check how well you are progressing. Using online tests and practicing using past papers gives you an idea of how well you are doing and whether or not you are revising the right material. In maths, the only way to revise is by practicing. Unfortunately, it can very difficult getting hold of past papers from schools or colleges, so you might have to purchase a book of past papers from a good bookshop.
  10. Teach others- best way to understand and remember a concept is by teaching it to someone else! When someone tries to explain a concept or a topic to someone else, it makes the concept in the mind of the person doing the explaining much clearer. Or it reinforces it and makes you less likely to forget.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Tips for Effective Tutoring

  1. Be on time. Students depend on having you there at the scheduled time.
  2. Make yourself available to the students.
  3. Be prepared to answer students' questions. Presumably you already know the subject matter, but you must also know the assignments. The only way to do that effectively is to read them carefully in advance and, where possible, try to work them out.
  4. Give students help, not answers. They shouldn't become dependent on you; be pleasant but ruthless about this. Students will beg you for a quick-fix answer, and it's easier for you just to give it than to point them towards finding the solution themselves. Nonetheless, resist the temptation, because students will come to expect you to fix their problems for them. In the long run, that hurts both them and you.
  5. Remind students to prepare for a tutoring session by reading and thinking about the subject beforehand; they should be ready to work when they sit down with you.

Friday, May 18, 2007

How to Choose a Tutor for Your Child

Here are some tips and ideas to consider when selecting a tutor for your child.

  • Explain to your child why you think a tutor is needed and what a tutor does. Talk about what you hope will be accomplished with a tutor.
  • Ask your child's teacher or other parents for recommendations. Consider interviewing several tutors with your child. (If your child is a part of the process, he/she will be more open to accepting help.)
  • Check the tutor's credentials. Ask about training, experience, and references. It is important that the tutor is a certified teacher or has expertise in the subject being taught. Find out whether the person has experience working with students at your child's grade level.
  • Set clear goals for the tutoring and request a description of the tutoring plan. Whenever possible, ask your child's teacher to participate in the design of this plan so that it links to school work. Try to create a partnership between you, your child's teacher, and the tutor.
  • If possible, schedule tutoring for the times of the day when your child is ready to learn. After-school hours are the most common time for tutoring but this is also when students are tired or distracted by other activities. Allow for much-needed breaks from the school routine.
  • For students with a learning disability, consider scheduling more than one lesson a week. Students with learning disabilities often need practice and repetition to master skills. Also, remember that it takes time to see improvement, so do not expect a quick fix.
  • Observe your child working with the tutor. The session should include hands-on learning and be very interactive. The tutor should be guiding your child through direct teaching and guided practice.
  • Request periodic reports from both the tutor and your child's teacher. There should be noticeable academic improvement within a few months.

Students can always find tutor assistance for free at