Earlier this week we talked about what tutoring is for and what it’s not.
The crux of the article was that in order for your hard earned pennies to pay off, your teen can’t treat tutoring sessions as homework or study time.
Furthermore, tutoring isn’t cheap!
You’d hardly expect a $5/hr tutor to be amazing. So if you do decide to get one for your teen, you want to make sure they’re getting absolutely all they can out of their time together.
We’ve considered the students of ours that make the most of their time with us, and have come up with 4 things your teen can do to get the most out of tutoring.
1. Know what they want to go over
Our most proactive students always know what they want to go over with us before the session starts.
This also makes a fantastic studier.
Before your teen sees their tutor, make sure they know what they want to cover in that lesson. This might mean going through their workbooks from class, but it will give the lesson a clear objective and ensure your teen is actually going to learn something!
2. Make sure they get homework or know what they should study next
High school students should really be doing a number of hours study each week for each major subject.
If they’re not getting homework from their teacher, their tutor should be able to set them some. They need to be accountable to someone for doing their homework, and their tutor can often be the perfect person.
A tutor will have a good idea of what your teen knows and what they don’t. They will know exactly what your teen should spend time studying or practicing.
3. Put in a decent effort
In order for your ‘investment’ to pay off your teen needs to put in an effort during the actual tutoring session.
Here’s a hypothetical but extremely accurate conversation between one of us and one of the less than enthusiastic students…
“…so then all you have to do is divide that by 8. Does that make sense?”
“Are you sure? So what would we do for this one?”
Obviously it’s a tutor’s job to be able to explain things in a way that makes sense to the student.
But if the student is disinterested and not putting in an effort, it doesn’t matter if we’ve given the best, most animated explanation we’re capable of – there’s no way they’re going to learn.
If they’re tired before a lesson – suggest they do something to wake them up, like go for a short walk.
If they’ve had little sleep the night before – let them have a power nap.
Or, perhaps most importantly, remind your teen why their tutor is there – to help them pass a subject or ace it – and why they actually want to get better marks!
4. Communicate effectively
As you can imagine, teens with the sort of communication ability displayed above don’t get a whole lot out of tutoring.
If they’re not going to participate in the lesson, there’s practically no point in carrying on.
Your teen needs to:
- Be honest about what they don’t understand. There’s absolutely no shame in not understanding.
- If they think they’re starting to understand a topic – they need to convey this to the tutor – “Oh, OK, so I just do that?”
- Ask questions!
- Show a little more interest than what they would in doing their chores!
If your teen is just a bit shy – that’s different. It’s students who only go along to a tutor because their parents arranged it and have no interest in actually getting better at the subject who aren’t going to benefit.
So before you fork out quite a bit of cash, ask yourself and your teen:
1 – Will they be communicative with their tutor and explain exactly what it is they don’t understand,
And 2 – Are they going to put in the effort outside of lessons to consolidate and improve on what was taught?
If you’ve answered no to these questions, then tutoring probably isn’t the answer for your teen right now.
It’s often the case that students simply aren’t completing homework or doing any regular study, and are then surprised when they don’t do well on tests!
They don’t need tutoring, they need a study schedule.
If you’ve answered yes to the above, then great – a private tutor could be just the thing your teen needs to boost them from being average or below it to the top of the class!
Image Credit: Tulane Public Relations at Flickr