Archive for April, 2010

How Can Tutoring Help My Student?

The Feedback I Get

I often get positive feedback from parents of the students I tutor, and I think about what it is about effective tutoring that makes such a big difference in a student’s performance.

Of course there is the obvious fact that students sometimes need help with specific material.  If geometry really just isn’t making sense, a student can benefit tremendously from having the facts laid out in a simpler way.

However, it’s been my experience that other, less obvious factors play a major role as well.  I recently got a call from the mother of a student I tutored for the SAT.  Her daughter needed an improvement of about 70 points to qualify for the Bright Futures scholarship, and only had about two weeks before her next attempt at the test.  I was skeptical about how much I could help, and was honest with her parents.

“Usually students need about two months to adequately prepare and to increase their scores that much.”  We went ahead with the tutoring anyway.

Increased Confidence

In a few weeks I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Ashley had gotten her score – and her scholarship!  Was it the math she’d learned in the few hours we spent together?  Partially.  But I am convinced that the key to an effective tutor is her ability to inspire confidence in her students.

Reinforce Your Students

When students are rewarded through positive reinforcement, their attitudes toward their abilities change.

As adults we know that attitude and confidence makes all the difference in the world.  Even without hiring a private tutor, we can start the process of increasing a student’s self-esteem at home.  Let them know that you believe in them and encourage them to take the words “I don’t know” and “I can’t” out of their vocabularies.

When we give ourselves empowering messages we surprise ourselves by how much we are capable of – on the SAT and in life overall.

If Wellington Tutoring can help your students reach their goals, feel free to contact us at any time.

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The SAT – Can it be learned?

The Challenge

One of parents’ and students’ biggest concerns come junior year of high school is the SAT.  Required by most colleges as part of the admissions process, the SAT is a comprehensive math, reading and writing test designed to assess your student’s academic potential.  However, more and more students are discovering that SAT prep classes can teach them test-taking techniques that are specific to this test.  In many ways, the SAT is a test that can be learned.

My Experiences

When I was in high school, my parents couldn’t afford the close to $1,000 that a prep class cost.  As a Suncoast student I saw my friends’ scores increase by 100 points after taking a class, and I felt at a real disadvantage.  To keep pace with other students its almost necessary to get your student help with the SAT these days.

Our Recommendations

What are our recommendations?

1.  Start early.  Have your student take the test at the beginning of his or her junior year of high school so that s/he has a good idea of strengths and weaknesses.

2.  Do look into prep classes. Inquire about the credentials and success of the tutors.  Most importantly, inquire about class size.  As an SAT prep tutor myself, I’ve seen how difficult it is to give each individual student what he needs when a class is larger than 5.  The above and below average students both suffer in such a setting because tutors must teach to the middle of the class.

3.  Look for a tutor who is going to challenge your student. I’ve consistently found that when I give my students difficult homework and classwork, their scores increase.  Why?  To grow academically the students must reach beyond their comfort zone into unknown territory.  They must practice the hard stuff.

4.  More expensive isn’t necessarily better when choosing a tutor. We offer much lower rates because we don’t have the overhead of renting an office space or paying managerial staff.

5.  Inquire as to how the tutor is going to tailor the prep to your student’s needs. An individualized approach is necessary with SAT prep.  One-size-fits-all simply doesn’t work here.  You want a tutor who will focus on writing if your student’s math scores are already very high.

Start early, do look into getting your student help with preparing, and best of luck on the upcoming SAT.  Contact us with any questions or if we can be of assistance to you.

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