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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.

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?

 

Important things to know before starting a dissertation

 

During the dissertation hand-in day, all students feel stressed out about the achievement of these important papers that have resulted from an exhausting crusade of researching, structuring and writing. For me, more than one year has passed after my fist encounter with the Undergraduate Dissertation Handbook and I still remember how I felt my heart trembling with the thought of the massive amount of work that was in front of me. Now that that stressful episode of my life has passed, I am beginning to identify the things that would be very beneficial for me if I was aware of them back then.

This article will provide useful tips to those who are currently working on their dissertations or will start working on them soon.

You need the best supervisor!

If you have been assigned to work with a supervisor who doesn’t provide effective recommendations or is unresponsive, you need to make a change. Don’t be afraid to ask for a change because if you don’t get the right advice, you won’t use your best potential and you will deliver mediocre work.

There should be a valid reason for making a switch and the request should be made early in the process. You don’t have to look for the best expert on the topic you are developing. What you need is a supervisor who will always be reassuring, reliable, approachable and detailed in their feedback. During the process of developing your dissertation, you will have some weird questions that will require email correspondence. Your supervisor should always be there for you, no matter how important those questions are.

Prepare for an unimpressed environment

When you start preparing yourself for the dissertation, your friends, family and all known and unknown people will start asking what you will be writing about. When it comes to dissertations, people always expect for impressive answers and you won’t be able to impress the environment in the early stage of the process. You should be prepared for some discouraging looks of disappointment and confusion, but you must not be affected by that kind of feedback. You should be aware that most people expect some dramatic answers when they ask about the topic of your dissertation, such as genocide, war and revolutionary ideas. After all, they are not the ones working on the dissertation and if you feel confident about your topic and you are interested in developing it further, make sure to stay positive about it.

Never ask your friends about the amount of work they have done. This would only stress you out and make you paranoid, or it would make them paranoid. Arrange your time effectively according to your own research and writing abilities, not according to others’ schedules.

Prepare for the freak out phase

During the dissertation development process, you will certainly experience a phase during which you will doubt the entire thesis and you will wish to leave everything behind and start from zero point. This usually occurs a couple of months before the ultimate deadline. The decision to start over is justified only if your mentor recommends you to do so because of some serious flaws in your work (which is a highly improbable scenario). You have to be aware that it is normal to panic, but you must keep focused and that stage of insecurity will pass.

Staying focused: Final tips

Don’t be disappointed by the fact that a lot of the early material will have to be edited out from the final version of the dissertation. Don’t be inclined into including all possible ideas that you have, because that would disturb the flow of the dissertation and make it look pointless.

Be prepared for a lot of printing! This may take a large portion of your weekly budget, so make sure to print only the necessary files and try using the free services of your friends and relatives during this process.

Writing a dissertation is a serious process that requires an immense amount of work and devotion, which means that you will have to put it on the first place, in front of other essay demands, sport commitments and social life in general. Even if you are extremely organized, you will have to go a step further and make more detailed plans of your time, without leaving any space for deadline panicking attacks!

Don’t be afraid of all the work in front of you because finishing your dissertation will definitely be one of the best experiences in your life. Every single atom of effort is worth for this important piece of work, so make sure to do everything in order to make yourself proud at the end of the process.

This is a guest post by Lois Weldon. Louis is a writer at uk.bestdissertation.com. She lives happily in London with her husband and daughter. She adores writing tips for students and is passionate about Star Wars and yoga.