Even while the education landscape nationwide slowly shifts, the focus on test scores is still very strong. Teachers that “teach to the test” rather than to the child is a common issue in schools today. Students who are slow to grasp certain concepts may be left behind and students who grasp those concepts more quickly may become bored and disengage, with lower scores as the result. In both cases, the addition of a tutor with specialized skills to bring lessons and concepts to life can really help to both boost test scores and student engagement and interest.Personalize Each Lesson
There are different names for this technique, but it is the exact opposite of teaching to the test. Rather, with this tutoring technique, the lesson is personalized so the student can tangibly see and feel and grasp how the lesson can apply to their own life. An example would be a student struggling in biology class who loves animals. By teaching the basic biology concepts, but applied to that student’s pet cat, the student is more apt to be attentive, soak in the lesson and remember it at testing time.
Present a “What If” Scenario
Another great tutoring method is framing the lesson in the form of a “what if – then what?” scenario. For instance, what if Henry Ford had never invented the automobile, would everyone still be riding around by horse and carriage or bicycle today? This can be a great lead-in to learning basic math and engineering concepts that contributed to creating the first car engine.
Teach to the Child’s Learning Style
Some students are visual learners, which means they see and take in concepts best when the lessons are presented in picture form. Other students are auditory learners, which means they learn best when they can listen to a lesson – sometimes more than once. Still other students are kinetic learners, which means they learn best when they can hold and manipulate things in their hands or experience concepts in action in real time. Learning how to present the same lesson using different learning styles can be a key benefit a tutor provides to struggling students – and also a key to light a spark in the mind of a bright but bored student who has lost interest in learning.
Offer a Preview of Insights to Come
Another very powerful tutoring method that actors and musicians have been using for years is offering a preview. For instance, perhaps at the start of a lesson, the student gets to watch just the first few scenes of a gripping film on the topic. But then they have to stop and learn the lesson presented in those scenes before they can watch the next scenes (this works well with books too!) By offering just a glimpse, a preview, of the full lesson, the student becomes more excited and engaged to learn.
Share a Personally Relatable Story
While this certainly won’t work in every situation, some students who are experiencing specific learning issues or who have been bullied by peers or teachers due to scores may find it painful to keep trying and trying again. Here, sometimes just letting the student know they are not alone – that others have struggled too and overcome those struggles to excel in school – is what is needed to give the student the courage to start striving for success again. Tutors who can share a personally relatable story at just the right moment can not only re-engage struggling students, but can inspire and motivate bright but uninterested students to give their studies their best efforts.
With these unique tutoring methods, students are often able to find inspiration that traditional classroom environment has been able to provide – in a word, lessons tailored to their interests, learning styles, needs and experiences.