Tag Archives: Ferny Hills Tutor

“J” is for Just in Time

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” 
― 
Nelson Mandela

Is there a good time to seek out tutoring?  Does your son or daughter display any of these?

  • Lacks confidence with schoolwork
  • Becomes distraught about going to school
  • Struggles with Maths
  • Reads without interest or understanding
  • Reads through punctuation marks or skip lines completely

Of course, these indicators are not the only signs for a cry for help.  Any change in behaviour or mood may be an indicator that moves you to further investigation.

One thing you should not do is shrug off these indicators as, “Oh, it is only a phase they are going through.” because chances are it is a phase they will not get through.  The cause, or trigger, of the change may vary from changing teachers to taking your children out of school for off-season holidays.  The latter has a considerable effect on children in Year 3, 5 and 7.

Years 3, 5 and 7 appear to be the years when new concepts are introduced in Maths, and probably other subjects.  But we, at the tuition room, see these years as the most influential to the student’s development.  Basically, a lot of new stuff is taught in Maths during these years.  Missing one or two weeks during the school period has a lasting and recurring effect on that area of knowledge through the following years.

Back to our original question, is there a good time to seek out tutoring assistance?

You would think Year 1 students would not require tutoring assistance, after all they have just started school and what have they learned?  Prep is used to prepare children for Year 1 and it is at this stage they learn the simple things like singing the alphabet, counting to ten or twenty and spatial skills such as left, right, in front, under, first, second, last and inside and outside.  Even colouring in pictures helps to develop the fine motor skills required to hold a pencil to form letters while learning to write. 

Sometimes children miss some concepts, and this puts them behind during the first year because there is assumed knowledge in Year 1.  Yes, tuition does help to restore confidence to a Year 1 student.

It is always easier to help students who are in Year 2, 4 or 6 because these are the years before the next knowledge jump.  Catching them up in these years aligns their Maths knowledge for the next year jump in concept learning.  We have noticed the most distressed students who come to us are in Years 3, 5 and 7. 

When is the best time to bring a student for tuition?  When you notice a change in behaviour that continues for more than two weeks.  There is generally a reason for that change and if it is related to learning then tuition may be your answer.  Having said that, it is never too late to seek out tuition.  We have had students in Year 8 that have received tuition to cover knowledge short falls from Year 5.  No, it is never too late to help a student who wants to be helped.

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” 
― 
Confucius

By Peter Kenyon: XtraMile Tuition Strategies Tutor

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“Y” is for Your Child’s Early Years

Are there things you can do to help your prodigy to become a person who thirsts for knowledge?

Maryanne Wolf in her book, “Proust and the Squid’ addresses this question. 

“The more children are spoken to, the more they will understand oral language.  The more children are read to the more they understand all the language around them, and the more developed their vocabulary becomes.”

“… many efforts to teach a child to read before four or five years of age are biologically precipitate and potentially counterproductive for many children.” 

The reason for this is the myelin sheath (fatty coating around nerves to help electrical information to flow) in the angular gyrus (that part of the brain related to language, number processing, spatial cognition, memory and attention) is not sufficiently developed until five to seven years of age.  It develops in all children at different rates and in girls faster than boys.

Sometimes your five-year-old is just not ready for school and your young lad may not be ready until seven years of age.  By that time, they are in year two or three and maybe well behind at school.  It is not that they can’t learn, it is just their brain was not ready for them to learn.  They can catch up, but by this time they may need some assistance.

By Peter Kenyon: North Brisbane Tutor

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“W” is for Writing Your Lessons by Hand

“Does handwriting matter?  Not very much according to educators.  The Common Core standards, which we have adopted in most states, call for teaching legible handwriting, but only in kindergarten and first grade.  After that, the emphasis quickly shifts to proficiency on the keyboard.”

“What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades” – by Maria Konnikova

The article suggests evidence is emerging of a greater link between handwriting and learning.  It appears children learn to read more quickly when they first learn to write by hand.

A 2012 study by Karin James at the Indiana University supported the association between handwriting and learning.  Children who had not learned to read were presented with index cards with a letter or shape they were to reproduce.  They could either:

  • Trace the image on a page with a dotted outline.
  • Draw it on a blank sheet of paper.
  • Type it on a computer.

A study of their brain waves as they reproduced the shape or letter showed an area of the brain, active when an adult reads and writes, was highly stimulated when the child drew the letter on a blank sheet of paper.  The activation was significantly weaker through the other two processes.

Learning is a complicated process.  When we reproduce letters, or anything else, by hand a plan is required before executing the action.  The result is highly variable in that it will not exactly represent the original.  Learning to identify variable representations is important to decoding letters when reading.

The research by Virginia Berninger, a psychologist at University of Washington, indicated that when a child who composed text by hand (either printing or cursive) “They not only consistently produced more words more quickly than they did on the keyboard, but expressed more ideas.”

There is also a suggestion of different neuropathways being developed in the brain when a child progresses on from printing to cursive writing.

Research at the University of California have reported laboratory and real-world studies of students learning better when they take notes by hand than when they type on a keyboard.

So, is it time to throw away the pen and paper and adopt the technology and the keyboard?  Was it time to give up walking when we invented the car?

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“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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“The Dark Path by Rainer” (aged 6)

WarriorOne kid called Danoah was all alone in a mysterious dark place. He saw zombies roaming towards him and the sound was like this: brrrrr. He ran as fast as he could, and then he saw a warrior and the warrior saved Danoah by chasing away the zombies with his enchanted diamond sword. Danoah went on his way and climbed the ladder to heaven and asked the Shining Spirit, “Why did you make all the zombies?” The Shining One said “you must not take the mysterious dark path again.

Rainer, aged 6

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“A Bad Christmas” by Alisa (aged 8)

 

koalaOn Christmas eve in the foyer of a hotel there was a Christmas tree and in the tree, there was a koala. She had a baby, and nobody knew they were there, but they didn’t know where they were. The mummy koala tried to find where she was, but she nearly got stood on by a girl in black pants and high heels. She finally made it out of the hotel foyer and she ran back to the forest where there were lots of trees. She wished the hotel with the Christmas tree was further away from her forest.

Alisa, aged 8

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“Cats” by Ella T (aged 9)

ginger catOnly on dark nights when there is no moon, from a big house in the city, the ginger and black cat leaves to go out adventuring. She is small, friendly and adventurous. She goes, with her friends, to an underground river where there is a little house that is full of woolly pink balls and cat food that tastes like marshmallows. They play for three hours, eat for one hour and then they sleep until they wake up. On dark nights the cat goes home and then she goes to sleep.

Ella T (aged 9)

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Ethan’s Great Escape – by Cohen (aged 9)

boyOnce upon a time, a little boy named Ethan lived in a very nice neighbourhood, in a very nice house but the people who were raising him were very, very horrible and selfish. Even though they were fat and rich, his punishment was so cruel that they locked him up in the cellar for most of the day and while his mother and father were upstairs eating fudge and custard, Ethan was living on the mould and bacteria off the walls. One night, he heard squeaking and it sounded like a million mice and he was certain because he could smell rat droppings as well. Little tiny mice were chewing the wall and Ethan was happy to see daylight because the wall had disintegrated. Ethan got out and found a new home to live in with nice people.

Cohen, aged 9. 

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“The Brave Bilby” by Harry (aged 8)

bilbyOne day, an extremely brave bilby determinedly dug a burrow in front of a fox. The black and brown bilby kept digging and digging and so did the fox but the bilby was too hard to catch. After two hours, the bilby’s burrow suddenly reached the end and, although the bilby didn’t know it, he had reached the edge of the earth. He made a quick move and covered his head with his ears and then he flew off into space. That day the brave bilby was the first astronaut bilby in the world.

Harry, aged 8             

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“Evad and Adam” by Cohen (aged 9)

HorseWhen the sun was just setting, Evad, the horsefly felt a tingling in his wings because it happened every sunset. Within seconds, he turned into a magical, black horse with red eyes and wings. Every night Evad flew over the city looking for a boy called Adam who was trapped in a nasty orphanage. As he was about to land, he spotted the orphanage and he flew down to it and there was Adam, sleeping on a dirty old blanket as Evad peeked through the window. Evad gently taped on the window and Adam woke up and the boy leapt on the horse’s back and Evad felt a tingle on his back as the sun began to rise and they rose into the sunrise.

Cohen, aged 9 

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