Category Archives: Tuition Tips

“K” is for Kinaesthetic Learner

Kinaesthetic Learner 3Not everyone learns the same way, and that creates problems in classrooms and at home.

As a generalisation, there are three types of learners: auditory, kinaesthetic, and visual.  These are the main channels of learning.  It’s a generalisation because, a person is more likely to be a combination of two (or more) rather than simply one, as in being purely an auditory learner.  How do you identify a kinaesthetic learner?

Kinaesthetic learners just want to touch and feel everything. As adults, their mates give them plenty of personal space because they just want to playfully thump them all the time.  Their house is a mess because they just want to collect and pull everything apart, just to see how it works.  Putting it together again may be another matter.  Does this sound like someone you married?

It is easy to identify an adult kinaesthetic learner, but how do you identify it in your child?

Well for starters, their teacher will be strongly suggesting you attend Parent Teacher Nights, so they can discuss how disruptive this young pupil is in the classroom.  They fidget, leave their seat to touch things, move things and find it difficult to sit and learn.  They may not even be aware of their movements as they are easily distracted by the movement of others, and want to investigate.

This student needs a hands-on approach to learning so sitting in class and listening, reading from a book, or even taking notes from the whiteboard is not the best way for them to learn.  They will respond better when learning is through participation, such as in chemistry experiments, or building a model. These students do well in sports, drama and live for school lunch breaks.  By the age of seven, they have been categorised as being an under-achiever, or worse still, hyperactive.  But fear not.

Being a kinaesthetic learner is not a problem, as approximately fifteen percent of the population are kinaesthetic learners.  The problem is our education system is geared towards auditory and visual learners, and kinaesthetic learners are the speed bump in our systems road to education.  What can you do?

For starters, accept them for who they are, healthy active children.  Give them down time after an active session, and reward them for the tasks they perform.  These guys may be reward driven.  Kinaesthetic learners do best with images so paint them a picture of what you want from them and give them regular breaks while studying.

Your student is likely to become an actor, dancer, physio-therapist, massage therapist, surgeon, mechanic, carpenter, P.E. teacher, athlete, farmer, etc.

The point is, be patient, give them space and let them grow…

 

XtraMile Tuition Strategies makes learning fun again

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“K” is for Kinaesthetic Learner

Bad StudentType ‘student’ into Fotolia and you have 14337 pages of pupils sitting quietly at their desk diligently working away.  DREAM ON.

We know all students are not alike because all children are not alike.  In a (teacher’s) perfect world all students would be just so, but …

Approximately 15% of the population are kinaesthetic learners and that means there will be no such thing as a quiet classroom.  Kinaesthetic learners just want to touch and feel everything.  Their friends are bruised because these learners just have to thump their mates.  Their homes are a mess because they have to pull everything apart, just to see how it works.  Does that sound like someone you married?

You can picture this in your husband, but how about your little one?  How do you know you have a kinaesthetic learner on your hands?  Well for starters their teacher will probably be calling you in to complain about how disruptive they are in class.  This student finds it difficult to learn through reading and writing.  They need the hands on approach so they do better in chemistry experiments, sports and acting.  They may not even be aware of their own movement and are easily distracted by the movements of others.

By the age of 6½ they are generally classed as under-achievers or worse still hyperactive.

What can you do with this learner?  For starters accept them for who they are. There is nothing wrong with them rather it is our education system that is not geared to accept 15% of the population.  As a parent, give them down time after an active session, and reward them for the tasks they perform.  These guys may be reward driven.  Kinaesthetic learners do best with images so paint them a picture of what you want from them. (For more information visit www.educ.uvic.ca)

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“H” is for Help

Education concept: Student and Time to Learn with optical glassA decreased ability to concentrate, confused thoughts, motivation low, increased irritability, grumbling, quarrelsome, overly sensitive to criticism, anxious or depressed.  This may sound like a typical teenager but they are also signs a coach watches for in athletes.

Good coaches recognise the signs of over-training and adjust their athletes’ schedule so the next phase of over-training, burn-out, doesn’t occur.  A great coach will not let these signs develop because they know how to pace the training sessions without over-stressing the athlete.

What has fitness training to do with students?  Burn-out may occur in any person in any profession at any age.  Many parents don’t realise how much pressure they place on their children when they load up their awake time with sports training and competition outside of school hours.  Some students are playing two sports a season.  Some parents don’t realise they may be setting their child up for burn-out later that school year because they haven’t planned sufficient recovery time for their student.

If you are a parent who encourages outside sports for their children, then you should consider these three things:

  1. Training and playing sport is tiring, very tiring.
  2. A tired student will find it difficult to concentrate in class.
  3. In today’s world, a person has a much better chance of achieving a high income with good grades than becoming a highly-paid athlete.

An over-committed student who finds it difficult to concentrate in class will eventually fall behind on their grades.  They may require the help of a coach, an academic coach.

We have many athletic students attend our tuition room because of the reasons mentioned above.  When they do attend, we ask parents to consider dropping one activity before introducing a program of tuition.  There is no sense in adding to an already over-loaded timetable.  Nothing will be achieved.  The tuition, depending upon the grade the student is in, will probably take one full year to bring them aligned with the class.  That is only one season of any one sport, so they will not miss much when dropping one activity to replace it with tuition.

As an academic coach (with a long background in fitness training) I watch for signs of over-training in our students and act on it.  Sometimes that action will be to remove tuition from the student’s time-table if nothing else is removed.  We do this for the well-being of the student.

But you don’t have to be a sporting student to fall behind.  Sometimes a high achieving student places themselves under unnecessary pressure because they have not learned to budget time or to study correctly.  A student like this will benefit from some one on one guidance so they may learn from an expert how to research and produce assignments, or how to prepare for secondary school exams.

So, as the school year progresses, watch for signs that indicate your student may not be keeping up and is silently crying for help.

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“G” is for a Good Read

“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” – Margaret Fuller

Baby ReadingHow important is it to be a reader in this world of instant information?  Does sitting with your child and playing computer games produce the same outcome as sitting with them and reading a book?  Does it matter that you have never sat with your child and read to them before they have attended school?

More research is coming forward to indicate it does matter that a child is not read to or encouraged to pick up a book, even to scribble in.

Sitting with book in hand and child on lap allows them to see symbols, words and images.  Moving your finger, leading their eyes along symbols of words and from words to images, allows little ones to make connections, at their own pace, with these symbols, words and images.  Their vocabulary grows.

They may not yet be attending kindergarten or pre-school, but you are already preparing their mind for life-long learning.  You have been helping their brain develop neuro-pathways that will assist with learning when they attend pre-school and beyond.  Now, not every child will be ready to make these connections, just as not every child is ready to attend school at the tender age of five.  These things happen when the child is ready, and you can’t rush it.

Spending this quality time with your toddler is crucial to early childhood development.  Andre Biemiller, a Canadian psychologist, studied the consequences of lower vocabulary levels in young children.  The results of his studies indicated that children entering kindergarten in the bottom 25% of vocabulary generally remained behind the other children.  By year six they were approximately three years behind their peers in vocabulary, reading and comprehension.

But what of teenagers?  Is this a time for them to stop reading and focus on computer coding and super hero movies?  Jonathon Douglas, of the National Literacy Trust (U.K.) doesn’t think so in his 2013 article “The Importance of Instilling a Need to Read”

“Teens who choose to pick up a book for pleasure are more likely to succeed in life.”

His article intimates that reading for pleasure reveals a predisposition for life-long learning which he suggests explains increased social mobility.  If life-long reading is one indicator for success then how may you encourage your moody teenage, or pre-teen, to put down the games console in exchange for the printed word?

We are unlikely to read material that does not interest us, so to encourage a reading for pleasure environment in your household you should supply reading material (graphic novels, magazines, fiction and non-fiction novels) that will be of interest to your teenager.  Hopefully, the school library will also have a supply of reading material that falls outside the curriculum.

What about reading on the internet?  Research has shown that we adopt different styles of reading for different formats.  Internet reading tends to lead to short concentration skimming rather than in-depth absorption.

Over the past few decades, authors have been producing extraordinary books written with the adolescent in mind.  These books deal with issues teenagers may be exposed to or experiencing in their life and allows them to deal with them from the safety of the book.

This is not to say teenagers should not be exposed to the classics of Dickens and the like, but there are books more relevant to them and their time.  The classics may come later in life with the pleasure of reading.

Exploring the world through books, gathering information and understanding develops a solid core of knowledge upon which to build ethics, morality and character that becomes the young adult.

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“F” is for Foundations

Christmas is over and school is back! What is next for your student?

TeacherWell, if your child was an average student last year chances are they will be an average student this year.  If they struggled with maths last year they will probably be struggling with maths this year.  Nothing changes unless something changes.  What has to change to improve your child’s grades?

The first thing that must change is someone’s attitude.  Children are children and they will not change unless they are give a reason to change.  Telling them to do better or to change their ways will probably not get the result you, as a parent, desire mainly because they do not know how to change.  They are children, they are young, and therefore have a limited frame of reference when it comes to change.  They have to be taught how to change.  At this stage the biggest change has to be in you as a parent.  You have to make the decisions for them, and then guide them along the path.

One of the biggest problems I see in the students who attend tuition is they have problems with weak foundations.  They simply do not know their multiplication tables up to their year level and they do not have in place a memory of subtraction and addition of the numbers up to twenty (20).   No matter how well a student understands the mathematical concept they are being taught at school, if they can’t perform the foundations I spoke about they will not be able to solve the maths problem.  Continually getting the wrong answer whittles away their confidence.

Every student who attends our tuition spends at least ten minutes of every hour building upon their foundation knowledge.  You cannot have lasting structure without strong foundations.

You can find some tools to help with learning the foundations of maths by following this link to Study Tools

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“E” is for Enough Sleep

“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” – Benjamin Franklin

 Sleep deprivation word cloudAnd on the other side of the coin insufficient sleep will make children hyperactive, lacking in confidence, irritable, inattentive and fall behind in class and if this sounds like your youngster then it is so easy to rectify.

Much study has been devoted to knowing how much sleep is needed, or not needed, to remain healthy and productive.  The conclusion being “…. there is a lot of individual differences in what children and adolescents need to sleep to be at their best.” (Australian Centre for Sleep Education).

As a general guide, primary school students require between ten and twelve hours of sleep per day while secondary (higher) school students get by with eight to ten hours each night.  Research has indicated children of any age will arise at about the same time each day so the difference in hours of slumber occurs at the time of going to bed.

What time should a child go to bed to be at their peak the next day?  To make this exercise easier and because Australian schools commence at 9:00 am let’s assume our children get up at seven to start their day during the week.  This would require a primary school student to be in bed by 7:00 pm and no later than 9:00 the night before, and our secondary student in bed by 9:00 pm no later than 11:00.

The younger the child the more sleep required.  Students from grades one to three require closer to twelve hours of sleep each week night while those from grade four to six/seven may drop to needing ten hours of sleep.

Problems occur with teenagers as their bodies are not ready for sleep when the clock says it is time for bed and they stay up whiling away the hours until slumber overtakes them.  Unfortunately, the activities they do while waiting to sleep may not be conducive to bringing sleep on and they miss out on their required sleep quota.  They then go into sleep debt which they try to reclaim on weekends by sleeping in.  This problem may be compounded by staying up later during weekend nights to interact with friends and sleeping even more of the morning away to further knock the body clock around and make sleeping during the week more difficult.  As a parent, you must take control of this situation.

Children deprived of sleep, like adults, are hard to rouse and will feel sleepy during the early part of the day.  Unlike adults, primary school students will become more active during the day, though still be less able to concentrate.  Because they have become more wired they will be less likely to fall asleep easily, thus becoming more sleep deprived.  Parents may have trouble identifying a young child who is not getting enough sleep because they are active.

Some home factors compound sleep deprivation in children.  Families in general are not going to bed as early as they need.  For one reason or another, parents are staying up later and as role models may be setting poor examples of a healthy lifestyle.

We see how the concentration of a child who has insufficient sleep is affected in our tuition room.  A student who the previous week was performing wonderfully on our program suddenly has low scores and answers very few questions.  When asked what they did the previous night the answer always involved a late night of movie watching, game playing, internet surfing or social media.  We have also seen how a poor student can change so quickly when they stop being tired.

You can take steps to create good sleep habits by cleaning up the bedroom and the time leading up to retiring.  Some good sleep hygiene habits are:

  • No T.V., computer, mobile phone or exercise 1 hour before going to be.
  • No T.V., computer, mobile phone in the bedroom.
  • No coke or caffeine drinks 2-3 hours before sleeping.
  • Set bed-times and wake times and keep them to form healthy habits.
  • As a parent, be a good role model and lead by example.

You can learn more about sleeping times and sleeping problems from the links to the following fact sheets:

Or you can visit the Australian Centre for Education in Sleep TM   website for a more comprehensive read.

We talked about another study problem back in 2014.  You can follow this link to “Student Burnout” to see what happens when we over-load a student’s week.

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‘D’ is for Don’t Give Up

Young girl screamingPeople are social animals, meaning we need to mix with others, and children are no different, but what is going on when a child who was excited about attending school is suddenly resisting?

The school year is about to start and there will be mixed emotions from the new attendees.  Most of the time going to school for the first time will be met with excitement generated from buying books, a school bag, trying on uniforms and covering school books.  The first day or three will be an absolute dream, unless it is your first child going off to school and the tears come from you.  But there may come a time shortly after when the novelty has worn off and your eager young prodigy has dug their heels in explaining they have finished with school.

Sometimes a simple explanation that this is their lot for the next twelve plus years (an explanation better than that I hope) will have them merrily kitting up for the next day, but sometimes there may be a deeper problem.  School refusal is an emotional problem experienced by some parents with their children.  Some signs of school refusal are when your child:

  • Throws tantrums about going to school
  • Hides when it is time to leave for school
  • Begs or pleads not to be taken to school
  • Complains about being ill when it is time to leave for school

There are other indicators for school refusal you may read about on the Raising Children website.  Addressing the cause is the key to handling the problem.  There are many causes but tuition can help when the cause is “school refusal because of academic problems”.

It is sad to think a Year One student is experiencing academic problems but it does occur with no fault of any person.  A new school student may be having difficulties because:

  • The assumed knowledge of Year One (e.g. spatial skills, order and counting, grouping, singing the alphabet) has not been learned in Prep.
  • The student is not quite ready to learn. Sometimes students struggle with learning something they see others around them learn easily.  They become frustrated to tears, at which point we praise them for giving it a go.  (We also have a system for learning that creates fun and this distracts them from any inadequacies they may feel.)  One day their eyes light up as they have answered a question correctly, but more importantly they understood the question they answered.  Their brain is now ready to learn and they take off catching the class (with the help of our tuition system) and at times moving to the head of the class with their results.  Every child is ready to learn at a different time so you never give up on them.  Sometimes they are seven years of age before they are ready academically for school.  This is a problem when school commences at five years of age.
  • The student has a learning disability and this may be something as simple to correct as a tracking issue (read the article “When 5 + 1 = 5” on our Students’ Problem page).

Sometimes you may need the assistance of your G.P. or a child psychologist to help overcome your student’s school anxiety or low academic results, but never give up on them and consider an after-school tuition program to help subdue their anxieties and achieve academically.

Contact XtraMile Tuition Strategies.

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“B” is for Breakfast

food-choiceNo student can function well without fuel for the brain.  Going to school without breakfast is starting the tank on near empty.  The body’s metabolism is slowed until the first meal to break the fast and it is running on reserve supply until then.

“B” could also stand for B vitamins as they help to convert the nutrients of food into energy; and there lies the next problem when developing a better student.  How nutritious is the food if breakfast is eaten?

Children and teenagers require quite large amounts of nutrients to supply a growing body.  Now I didn’t say they required large amounts of kilojoules, as it is nutrients that build healthy bodies and minds.  Poor choices in food quality can lead to delivery of lots of kilojoules with few nutrients.  This may lead to the problem of childhood obesity.

Parents play a pivotal role in the development of their children’s eating habits.  They do this in their role of parent by not giving into the child’s whims for their favourite snack foods and their position as role model when they lead by example.

The energy requirement of a teenager in growth spurt is only marginally greater than that of pre-teen children and adults but their protective nutrient (protein, vitamins and minerals) per unit of energy consumed is greater.  This means a teenager requires high quality nutrient foods to maintain healthy body and mind rather than high energy foods to keep them active.

“The energy needs of teenage athletes are increased, often greatly, if heavy training and competitive sports are involved.” (Human Nutrition and Dietetics – Ninth Edition).

It is important for your child to maintain three quality meals a day with the addition of healthy snacks for morning and afternoon tea.  The addition of the afternoon snack is important to fuel the brain for afteroon studies.

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Developing a Better Student – “A” is for the Academic Year

Stressed StudentSometimes there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in a day to fit in what needs to be done, and there seems to be not enough weeks in the year for the school curriculum.

There are forty academic weeks to the Australian school year, little enough time for what needs to be learned.  The problem is the school year is not exactly forty weeks.  There are a number of public holidays to be removed, and then there are “student free” days also to be taken out.  If we remove the school camp that all students seem to be attending these day, sick days and time spent out of school for one reason or another (sports, museums, etc.) then we have a shortened academic year.

This all puts our teachers, and students, under pressure as a larger amount of acquired knowledge is squeezed into a reduced amount of attended time.

“A” initially stood for Academic Year but now I think it should stand for “Attendance”.

So, how do you make a better student?  Don’t add to the problem by reducing your student’s school attendance by removing them from school for a week’s holiday because it is more convenient.

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Tuition Tip – Early Steps To Avoid Stressed Students

Daily Diary Does the Deed

Diary

The year is going to progress whether we become involved with it or not.  It has been my experience with students, particularly at secondary school level, that those who do not take control of time will have time controlling them.  It is these students that display symptoms of stress as the year progresses.

Students who learn how to use a diary and planner at the beginning of the year are more likely to feel relaxed as the year progresses.  Keeping a written diary/planner appears to be almost a lost science.  Everything today seems to be electronic with touch pads for keying entries and apps that help to link all the diaries together and co-ordinate your appointments.  This is all very impressive but is it helping your student?

At the beginning of the term or semester your student is given their assignments and due dates.  They are also aware of sports training and events they should be attending; forthcoming birthdays and family events; and school activities.  Showing your son or daughter how to use a diary is a valuable life skill to pass on to them.  Sitting down once a week (my wife and I use Sundays) and running through that week’s entries helps to co-ordinate lifestyles.

Remember: We are all given twenty four hours a day, how you use them is up to you.

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