private tuition industry

How To Help Your Child Improve Their Comprehension Skills (Audio)

Happy Sunday!

I’ve been thinking about recoding audios instead of written blog posts for a long time and finally had the chance to record one today.

In this audio, I discuss:

  • The tactics that parents can use to help their child engage with literature and improve their comprehension skills.

  • Strategies that students can use to improve their comprehension skills and score higher marks.

If your child struggles with comprehension (especially inference, elaboration and deduction) then this is for you.

Here’s a summary of some of the tips I share:

  • Be involved in your child’s learning, especially with regards to their reading. Let them read to you as often as possible.

  • Read in short bursts rather than forcing your child to read for long periods. It’s better to read little and often than not at all.

  • Read a wide variety of texts including poetry, biographies, newspapers and age-appropriate magazines/comics.

  • Incorporate your child’s passions, interests and hobbies into their reading - make it fun.

  • Be strategic about approaching exam questions so that your child can maximise their scores (I talk about this in a bit of depth so it’s worth listening to hear the tips shared).

I hope the audio is useful and if you have any questions or comments, please click on the comment box below and share them.

Here’s to your child’s success!

Victoria, The Tutoress.

Why Being an Early Bird is Key to 11+ Success

Are you the parent that hasn't read a single book, article or blog post about the 11+ and have no idea about what the process involves?

Are you the parent that's left everything to the last minute and now you're nervous about how to help your child pass?

Or are you the parent that's researched every area of the 11+ since your child's first birthday? 

Are you the parent that's immersed themselves in reading as much 11+ guidance material as possible?

You see, there are two very different types of 11+ parents.

The first type is the one that leaves everything to the last minute and then freaks out when they realise that their child doesn't even know the basics.

The second type is the parent that's so well prepared that they've studied every piece of literature known to man.

As 11+ experts, we've noticed that the second type of parent is far more likely to have a child that passes the exam simply because they are prepared! They are an early bird and as they say, the early bird always catches the worm.

Time and time again, we come across parents that are the first type and they leave everything to the last minute. As a result, their child is overwhelmed and struggles to score higher than 50% in practice tests. Such parents have no idea how to help their child improve and quite frankly, they often expect miracles from tutors like ourselves. They expect us to magically take a child that doesn't have a grasp of the basics and turn them into geniuses.

Sometimes, there are rare instances where we can help such students but often enough it's the children that have been studying for at least 1.5 years and have worked consistently hard that end up passing the 11+.

So what can you take away from this?

Start preparing for the 11+ as early as possible! 1.5 years is the ideal amount of time.

The exam is meant to test natural ability and potential so ultimately a child that has built an exceptional vocabulary and has a wonderful grasp of English and Maths from an early age is much more likely to pass than one who is trying to cram at the last minute.

Leaving things to the last minute is one of the worst things that you can do when it comes to the 11+ so try to prepare as early as possible.

PS. It's okay to teach your child yourself but it's also good to have your child assessed by a tutor at least once before they sit the exam. It's even better to enrol your child in an 11+ mock exam so that you can find out how they're doing in comparison to other students and identify any weak spots that need addressing.

If you liked this post, please leave a comment below or share it with a friend that might also benefit from reading this advice.

Wishing you the best of luck with exam preparation.

TheTutoress.com.

 

Expat Children and the 11-Plus Exams: Advice For Expat and International Parents

Many of the students that we teach are from expat, diplomatic and international backgrounds.

As the child of an ambassador, politician, CEO or public figure, you're often expected to move from country to country, city to city with hardly any prior notice. It isn't an easy life and it becomes harder when you're expected to sit some of the most challenging school entrance exams in the world.

11plus expat international children students.jpg

If you're the parent of an expat child, it's important that you understand many of the complexities that your child may be facing. 

These include:

  • Feeling lonely (because your child's friendship circle changes every time they move schools)
  • Feeling as if they don't belong
  • Lacking in confidence about their appearance, accent or mannerisms because they are 'different' from that of other children.

However, it's important to note that your child's unique international upbringing has many benefits that make them unique and therefore, you should encourage them to embrace the following qualities.

  • They have an innate ability to get along with people from every culture because they are a third culture kid.
  • They might speak multiple languages to a fluent or conversational level.
  • Your child might be more confident because expat life has given them the chance to see more of the world and use public speaking speaks on a regular basis.
  • Your child is likely to have a more varied and diverse perspective of the world because they have visited and lived in a variety of places. This also means that they have wonderful stories to tell; stories that make them stand out from the crowd.

To help your child with the 11+, SATs and other important exams, instil pride and confidence in them. Let them know that they have some incredible gifts that are unique to them because of their third culture background. Encourage them to embrace every aspect of who they are.



Could Cheap Tuition Be Harming Your Child's Education?


I hear it time and time again.

'Your prices are high'

'Tuition is too expensive!'

'I'm just looking for a cheap tutor'

Many parents seem to have a mindset that cheaper is better. But is that really the case?

Do you really think it's safe or wise to place your precious child into the hands of a person who you've hired solely because they're inexpensive?

Do you really believe that it's smart to trust a total stranger to teach your child if they're being underpaid?

Let's reverse roles for a second.

Imagine you're not a parent but instead you're a tutor who is trying to make a living by teaching their knowledge/expertise/wisdom to others. Someone contacts you by phone or email to ask whether you'd be available to teach their child. You say 'yes' and you travel to the parents home to teach. You arrive there and your told that your fees are too high and the parent begs you to charge a few pounds/dollars less. You say 'yes' because you don't want to seem rude or ill-mannered and you start the lesson.

Whilst you'd initially headed over to the house feeling excited about meeting new people, teaching a new student and making a difference. You now feel a little bit different. You feel glum and unmotivated. Naturally, you move from wanting to give your absolute all into teaching this new pupil to feeling far less motivated to teach at an optimal level. Rather than putting in 100% of your energy into the student, you're so bogged down by the fact that you're being underpaid that you put about 70% into the lesson.

Now, step out of the tutors shoes and be a parent again.

Has the 'cheap' parent in this case actually benefited from hiring a 'cheap tutor'?

Realistically, should such a parent expect any tutor (irregardless of experience) to put 100% of their efforts into teaching the student if they're being underpaid?

I'm always amazed that so many parents only think about private tuition from their own viewpoint and they never for one moment consider things from the perspective of the tutor.

The frank truth is that you get what you pay for and if you hire a cheap tutor one of these three things will indefinitely happen:

  • The tutor won't give your child 100% of their time and effort. Ultimately, they won't spend money buying, photocopying or printing education resources because they simply can't afford to. That means that your child will receive an inferior level of tuition.
  • They'll stick around for a brief period, will teach your child for a few weeks or months and then they'll leave.
  • Another parent who's willing to pay the tutor a higher fee will snap the tutor up and the tutor will gladly stop teaching your child.

Just think about how chaotic it would be for a tutor to stop teaching your child a few weeks before their big exam.

It's clear to see that basing your tutor selection on price alone causes havoc both on a long and short term basis.

If you're a smart and savvy parent who really cares about how well their child does, you won't pick a tutor because he/she is 'cheap' or because you can intimidate them into accepting a lower wage.

The moral is that you get what you pay for and quality tutors are not cheap. They're pricey for a reason.

Now I want to hear from you:

Parents, have you hired a cheap tutor? What was the outcome? Leave a comment below.

Tutors, have you been asked to teach for a cheaper fee? Again, leave a comment below and share your experience.

Tutor Organization Series: A Tutor's Guide To Organising Your Tutoring Curriculum

I'm super excited to reveal that this post is part of a tutor organization series brought to you by some of the world's top tutoring experts: Adrianne Meldrum (of The Tutor House) and Amy (of Tutors Nirvana). 

As a tutor the prospect of getting organised can seem incredibly daunting. Thoughts like 'how do I plan a lesson?' ' how do I get organised?' and 'how do I keep track of all of my materials?' are likely to run through your mind.

Getting your tutoring curriculum organised isn't just something that's important for new tutors who are just starting out, it's also pertinent for experienced tutors who've been teaching for several months or even years.

People might assume that tutors are naturally quite organised (and yes, most of us are) but getting organised isn't that easy. Today, I'll be sharing some of my most loved tips on this very topic. Buckle up and get ready to take notes! 

How to organise your tutoring curriculum

Firstly, it's important to schedule regular time within your schedule specifically for the purpose of getting organised. Ideally, tutors should spend at least 1 day of each week focusing on planning and preparation as this maximises your chances of being able to handle almost any situation.

One thing that I do is that I have a tutoring diary where I write everything down including lesson plans, expenses and my tutoring schedule. It's pivotal to pick one book, notepad or diary that's used for organising your schedule.

Subject Maps

Once you have a tutoring diary and you have a good idea of your schedule, the next step is to write down what subjects you teach (include all of them- even the ones you teach less frequently) and to then map out a topic plan for each subject.

For instance, if you teach English to primary school students (students under 11 years of age) you might want to cover topics like spelling, grammar, punctuation and creative writing. Once you've mapped out the main topics for each subject, create a new map that highlights all of the topics within that subject, for instance, if you teach English you might break down 'grammar' into sub-topics like prepositions and nouns.

Once you've created these two subject maps, you'll have a much clearer idea of what topics you'll cover during your lessons. Now, I'm sure you're thinking, 'what if the student doesn't need to learn  a topic that I've written down?' That's perfectly fine- you can tweak or amend the subject map whenever you like so that it meets the needs of your students. If you have time, you could even create a subject map for each student you have.

The key is to remember to prioritise organisation in your schedule and give lesson planning greater attention.

In terms of keeping a track of your tutoring files and books, I strongly suggest getting a filing cabinet so that you can file your resources in order of subject/age/student. This makes things so much easier and allows you to easily pick up files without having to worry about where they are. Quite simply, a filing cabinet is a god-send for any tutor who's serious about going pro.

There are also a few more things you can do to stay organised such as:

Arranging books in order of need. In other words, keep the books and resources that you're most likely to need soon in areas that are easy to reach so that you don't have to spend hours looking for them.

Have a file box that contains resources and learning materials that you use most often. Keep materials that you don't desperately need in a filing cabinet and label them so that you know where they are.

Motivate yourself to stay organised by incorporating things you like. For instance, I love all things vintage. To motivate myself to stay organised, I treat myself (on occasion) to vintage inspired stationary. There's something about seeing a pretty vintage notepad, diary, book or organisational resource that gets me excited about staying organised. Could you do the same and incorporate something you love?