Tutoring is a great option for kids who are having difficulties learning. But what about the kids who are ready for a challenge? Sitting through lessons of review for a month has resulted in learners who were engaged and participating fully to ones that are bored, disinterested and becoming passive rather than active in their learning. Recently, I’ve had several parents reach out asking for assistance with their high achieving children who excel at school, but need more personalized interaction. It was a good opportunity to talk about the benefits of tutoring for high achieving students as well as those who struggle.
Being able to meet one on one with a tutor allows kids the opportunity to verbalize their thinking, tackle new concepts, ask questions, carry on meaningful conversations about life and learning, and be encouraged to take on new challenges. Here are 5 ways good students can reap the benefits of tutoring.
1. High Achievers Need to Be Challenged
Students who are successful in academics often find themselves excelling and rarely need help with the day-to-day components of learning. However, if left in this state, they can also miss out on the experience of persevering through a problem and knowing what true learning feels like. If these kids have already mastered all or most of the concepts being taught at school, they are ready to dive deeper. Tutoring can help them build on their learning, and encourage them to try challenging material beyond their current level.
In addition to crafting lessons that extend learning beyond their grade level, tutoring can also challenge student thinking and allow kids to experiment with various methods to solve a problem. For instance, when learning how to divide fractions, one student I worked with practiced several different picture models to show the “why” behind fraction division. Within one tutoring session, this student was ready for the shortcut method I like to call, “Keep, Flip, Change.” In other words, rather than drawing pictures, he was ready to work solely with numbers and understand the significance of each step in the division problem.
While this is a common concept taught in 6th and 7th grades, a high achieving 5th grader can explore these concepts with the aid of a tutor.
2. Increased Engagement In and Outside of School
Pushing kids to go beyond their comfort zones in learning creates a sense of accomplishment which makes kids want to keep engaging in new and challenging material. A child who was once bored and disengaged at school, now has an attitude of curiosity and wants to be challenged to think. Learning becomes relevant when it meets the child at his/her level and pacing.
Working with a tutor can also provide a variety of ways to learn. Instead of being bound by one curriculum at school, learning through games, real life situations and within the interests of the child makes learning more fun.
3. Connection to Others
In this time of COVID-19 safety restrictions, perhaps the primary thing we are all craving is human connection. Even if kids are in person at school, they are isolated in the same small groups, wearing masks which hide the important non-verbal communication clues, and are bound by many more rules than freedoms. Meeting with a tutor, whether online or in person, allows kids the opportunity to have direct, one-on-one contact with a trusted person. Being able to take a risk, ask questions in a safe environment and receive immediate feedback are all possible and encouraged in a tutoring setting.
Tutoring also allows kids to share their personal lives in a setting without stress and time constraints often found at school or home. Kids get to feel heard and valued for an interest in collector Hot Wheel cars, the ability to fix a small engine, or knowing the various styles of horseback riding. These conversations lead to feelings of importance and value which in turn, increase confidence and the willingness to try more new things. This is the value of connection.
4. Parents Experience the Benefits of Tutoring Too!
Often parents of high achievers are told in parent teacher conferences that their child is doing great and they should just keep doing what they are doing. While this feels good to know their children are succeeding, it does little to provide information about how their child learns best. Tutoring offers specific communication about strengths and needs with learning. This allows parents to ask questions regularly, try different strategies, and take more ownership of their child’s learning experiences.
5. High Achievers Have Needs Too
Despite the continued academic success of good students in school, they have needs that often go overlooked in a virtual or large group setting. For example, learning how to study may not become relevant until a child is in high school or college when the material has gotten difficult. But being challenged by a tutor early on in their school careers, can lead to discussions and practice of organization, study skills, and other tools for retaining information.
Even good students occasionally have gaps in their learning. Working with a tutor allows those gaps to be filled so the child can keep moving forward. In addition, sometimes faulty thinking processes or patterns emerge, either academically or emotionally, that can trip kids up and cause them to get stuck. Having a trusted tutor helps kids work through these thinking patterns and offers other perspectives which can cause them to see the world in a more comprehensive manner.
As a former classroom teacher, I know the difficulty with meeting the learning styles and needs of every child in my room. Tutoring allows children the opportunity to learn in their preferred style, but also to take a risk and try other styles in a safe environment.
So whether your child struggles in school or gets 100% on every test, working with a caring, trusted adult through tutoring reaps many rewards. We at LiftOff Learning would love to meet your child and see how we can help engage, connect and challenge him/her. Visit our website to schedule a free consultation today and reap the many benefits of tutoring!