Tag Archives: Learning

Tuition Tip – Did You Know…

Tuition Logo…that most learners will forget the last four weeks of learning over the six weeks of Christmas break?  Pretty much everything learned in November is lost by the time they go back to school in January/February.

Six weeks is a long time to have a break from learning and I doubt young minds require so much recovery time.  As I come from a sports training background I know that such a break from training for a sports person would be detrimental to their abilities and performance.  That is why professional sports people do not take a break, they alter how they train.

I have witnessed the downfalls in people achieving weight loss because they cannot gain any momentum on their weight loss program.  There was always something preventing them getting up a full head of steam on their weight loss project; birthdays, work functions, anniversaries, weddings, parties, etc..  It may be the same for our students in the education system.  There appears to be so many things that prevent our students building up momentum in their learning progress; public holidays (about 12 days per year), school holidays (about 12 weeks per year), student free days (at least one after every school break), athletics sports day, swimming day, excursions to …., school camps (1 or 2 weeks per year), …

That is why we run holiday programs for our clients.  To us learning is so important to the development of the child that we give tuition hours away to ensure our students return to school not having forgot what they learned in the last month and a half of school but are advanced on what they know.


Leave a comment

Filed under Learning, Posts, Tuition Tips

Tuition Tips – Brain Food With B Vitamins

Empty Gas TankHaving a properly fuelled student goes a long way to producing good academic results.  There are times a student will come to our tuition room tired and unmotivated.   They are slow in movement and slow in thought when the previous week they were lively, animated and full of beans.  How has such a difference come about in such a short time?

My first question to afternoon students is, “When did you last eat?”, whereas my second question is, “When did you last have a drink of water?”  Lack of food (fuel) and lack of hydration are two factors that will bring about that feeling of being tired.  Consuming water and a healthy snack before settling down to working the little grey cells will go a long way to helping a student concentrate during study time.

This week we will look at B vitamins and their role.

The chief function of B Vitamins is to act as spark plugs for the body to assist in converting glucose into energy for fuel.  They are also vitally important for the functioning of a healthy nervous system and in helping to promote relaxation in stressed individuals.   Very few vitamins are found in a packet of potato crisps and a can of coke.   A person will literally obtain more miles out of a banana than soft drinks and chips.

Leave a comment

Filed under Learning, Nutrition & Study, Tuition Tips, Uncategorized

Tuition Tips – Difficulties With The Eyes

Eye TrackingThe Eyes Have It When 5 + 1 = 5

Some students are behind at school through no fault of their own.  They look at the work and do not understand what is going on.  They ask themselves “Why am I the only person in this class who doesn’t get this?”  Eventually they begin to believe “I must be a real dummy I just don’t understand why I keep getting this wrong!”  Their self-confidence disintegrates and at times their behaviour will follow.  After all “What is the point of turning up every day if I can’t learn this?”

What is happening with this student?  What would happen if you saw the number zero as a one?  For one thing sometimes five plus one will equal six and other times it will equal five.  When you are in primary school and just learning about numbers and maths things will become confusing almost incomprehensible.  You won’t understand why sometimes ten is ten and sometimes it is eleven. Everything will become an exercise in guess work for you.  These students will also have trouble seeing decimal points and fractions are just another language when your eyes skip over the line between the numerator and denominator.

That’s just maths.  When they read “was” can become “saw” and whole lines are skipped because the eyes didn’t see the line to read it. By the time they are Year 7 their reading comprehension is extremely low and there are gaps in their mathematics understanding because fractions and decimals don’t exist.

Eye Tracking issues occur when the two eyes do not move smoothly and accurately across a line or from word to word.  The student will often lose their place while reading, skip lines, misread short words as in “was” and “saw” and cut off the beginnings and endings of words.

Eye tracking issues are usually corrected by visiting a Behavioural Optometrist who tests for the condition and prescribes glasses that are worn until the condition is corrected.  Normal optometrists do not usually check or test for this condition so if your student has glasses and their school work has not improved it may be time to visit the specialist.

Leave a comment

Filed under Learning

Tuition Tip – Student Burnout

A sports coach knows the signs when he sees them – decreased ability to concentrate, confusion, decreased motivation, increased irritability, grumbling, quarrelsomeness, over sensitivity to criticism, anxiety, depression.

A good coach will recognises the signs of over-training and give his athlete a break before burn-out sets in. A great coach will not let these signs develop because he knows how to pace his athlete to bring them to their peak without demoralising them.

Burn-out can occur in any one of any profession and of any age, children included. Many parents do not realise they may be setting their child up for burn-out later in the year because they, as their child’s coach, have not planned their activities so that their academic athlete may peak at the appropriate times (exams).

It is with the best intentions that many parents will fill almost every minute of their little one’s waking hours with sport, training for sport and transport to and from sport. I am amazed at how many children are undertaking more than one sport a school term. If you are a parent who is building a champion please remember three things.

  1. Training and playing sport is very tiring. That is why great coaches do not over-load their prized athletes. They allow down time for recovery and for their protégés to spend time doing non-competitive recreational activities.
  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.

If the situation has developed where a student may require extra tuition to assist with their education then a choice has to be made with a view to prioritising. It may be necessary to drop another activity for a while as the student regains their academic confidence. It is best to not load up an already over-loaded timetable.

As for being a great coach and preparing for the next season we will be running a pre-school program in January to ease our students back into their academic year.  Contact us for more details.

1 Comment

Filed under Learning, Posts

Sometimes There Might Be Learning Difficulties

I don’t know where this statistic arises from but I read that about 5% of public school children suffer from a learning disability.  The difficulties experienced by students include language, reading and mathematics.  At times social skill, emotional and behavioural problems are associated with learning disabilities. As a parent what can you do?

There are many services available to help parents with children who have learning difficulties but, according to Henry Osieki [B.Sc. (Hons.) & Grad. Dip. Nutrition and Dietetics], one of the prime causes is malnutrition.  He suggests certain factors as possible causes to learning disorders include:

Heavy metal toxicity – in the past lead toxicity has been associated with learning problems.

Nutritional Deficiencies – The most common nutrients associated with difficulties with learning are B-vitamins, iron, iodine, magnesium, and zinc.  This can be linked directly to a poor diet.  Here is an example diet for you to consider:

  • Breakfast – bowl of low nutrient cereal; or nothing (because the parent has not prepared a breakfast for their child).
  • Morning tea – nothing.
  • Lunch – hot dog and can of soft drink; or nothing.
  • Afternoon tea – junk food purchased from local shop on the way home or nothing as both parents work.
  • Dinner – sausages, vegetables and gravy with ice cream for dessert.

A child of any age is growing pretty rapidly and is in need of food for energy and nutrients (protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals) to help supply the body with the building blocks to allow the cells to multiply and the body to grow.  If the dinner from the above example was to become the breakfast you would have an alert, bright student sitting in the class until about lunch time.

Impaired hearing – inner ear infections or inflammation of the ear drum from allergies will hamper the early learning stages of pre-schoolers.  I am talking about your toddler here who is doing their best to learn a language so they may communicate with the world.  Parents need to be vigilant when it comes to ear infections at this stage.  Image the problems caused with learning a language when a child hears only the first part of a word the first time and the last part the next time.  To them they are hearing two separate words relating to the same subject.

Osieki states that dyslexic children tend to have a higher concentration of copper in sweat and hair and this may be reduced by taking zinc and vitamin C.

Leave a comment

Filed under Learning, Nutrition & Study, Posts

Is It Worth Being A Student Who Plans?

Quite often students begin the year in a casual stride and who is to blame them? After all they have just come off holidays (about  1½ month’s worth). I come from a sports training background and I can tell you that an athlete who wants to perform well will not take two months off their training year. The repercussions are too great as they will lose too much form and have to work way too hard to get back to square one.

A dedicated rugby player will take one month off and during that time will be maintaining his/her aerobic level of fitness with moderate exercise. When January comes around he/she is ready to start full swing on improving their strengths, building on fitness and working on skills. That is how you stay ahead of the pack.

I often wonder why students don’t undertake the same planning when it comes to academic performance. Most students and parents of students are willing to let the achievements of the final months of the previous year disappear through resting the brain after the school year. The brain does not need that much time to recover. In fact that length of time of recovery is detrimental. The last month of knowledge learned prior to exams has been lost and has to be relearned in the first month of the new year!

During long Christmas holidays many students maintained their academic conditioning by attending the Tuition Room at Ferny Hills.  They used their academic coach (their tutor) to work on their weaknesses from last year while others used the time to get a head start on the subject matter they knew was coming this year. These guys were staying ahead of the pack. Is it worthwhile? You bet it is. They will go into the new year confident and stress free. They have locked in with their coach who is helping them to perform at their peak

Leave a comment

Filed under Learning, Short Story

I Forgot To Tell You How To Improve Your Memory

“I just don’t get this!” is a cry for help from a student of any age.  Here is the first thing about the learning process – if you don’t get it you won’t remember it and you won’t learn it. A student must understand a concept, in their own words, to be able to learn it.

So the first step to learning something effectively is to understand it.  If you do not understand it then ask your teacher or instructor to explain it another way.  You will not be the only person not understanding and it is your teacher’s job to see that you do understand.

Once you think you understand it then write it out in your own words, this will help to put it into short term memory.  This is where most students stop and then wonder why they cannot remember material.  Short term is good for a few minutes, hours or days, after that it is gone.  You have to take the next step to move it into long term memory.

Recitation (saying something over and over again) has been proved to be the most effective way of placing information into long term memory. And by long term I am talking about a life time.  Reading something quietly over and over again to yourself or writing it down a number of times is not as effective as reading the material, in your own words, over and over again ALOUD.

Leave a comment

Filed under Learning


visual“Let’s look at this differently”, “I can’t see the big picture”, “See how this works?” – stand back here comes a visual learner and a future artist, builder, inventor or musician, that is if they can get through our education system.

These right hemi-sphere thinking (that’s creative thinking) students are not wired to produce written reports on the thoughts they visualise in their mind, at least not until they learn how.  They think and learn in multi-dimensional images.  Our education system is more geared to teach left hemi-sphere thinking auditory learners who think and learn in words rather than images.

A visual-spatial learner may be good at spelling and lousy with names, needs a quiet study time, likes colour and is good with charts, maps and diagrams.  They remember pictures and are good with direction.  They will always have trouble remembering verbal instructions and have to learn by taking notes.

As a parent you can help by explaining a project you wish them to do by explaining why you want them do something, because they need to see the big picture first.

1 Comment

Filed under Learning, Posts


Auditory‘Sounds good to me’, ‘It’s starting to ring a bell’; these are a couple of the phrases used by roughly twenty per cent of the population that help to identify them as auditory learners.  Of course your little one may not be using such readily identifiable markers, but you may still be able to see qualities that help to give you an insight as to the type of learners they may be.

An auditory learner enjoys movies and music and probably notices the sound effects in movies more than other people.  They will readily put up their hands for discussion, happily participate in discussion groups and be involved in discussions without a group as they use self-talk.  These students are not afraid to speak in class and may be accused of speaking in class as they process the information through self-talk.

They will perform their worst at reading passages and writing answers relating to those passages in a timed test, but excel in responding to what they have heard and in oral exams.

The auditory learner learns best when reading aloud, receiving verbal instruction, repeating facts with eyes closed and memorising steps and procedures by repeating them.  Older auditory learners need some external sounds (T.V. or music) while they are reading their notes or processing their homework.  Writing their notes and recording them to listen to later is their best way of obtaining and retaining information.

Remember, though they may be looking out of the window while the teacher is talking does not necessarily mean they are not completely aware of what is being said.  Auditory learners do not require a visual context in order to learn.

Leave a comment

Filed under Learning, Posts


The process of choosing a tutor can be daunting and confusing. Generally when a parent is told by a teacher their child is struggling it comes as sudden news to the parent but has been viewed as a gradual process by the teacher or various teachers. One wonders why measures were not taken sooner to halt this process.

For whatever reason your student now requires tuition so how do you choose? I have seen many one-on-one tutors who do very fine work helping the student with maths at their current level and at times this is successful. School results improve and grades come up, but this system has its limitations.

Learning maths is a progressive process building upon previous knowledge of various maths strands until eventually the student is able to solve complex problems by drawing on their various knowledge strands. If there is a hole in their knowledge strands this makes solving these complex problems more difficult. This hole may have appeared years before and not been repaired.

The tuition process you choose should be able to identify these knowledge holes and plug them. By doing this your student is armed with complete knowledge that allows them to move to the top percentage of their class.

Your tutor should be able to identify the time when your child started to have difficulties; set up a program to begin at the point of trouble; move progressively forward plugging up other holes as they are identified; monitor the student’s progress (we do ours daily); provide progressive reports (our parents receive monthly progress reports on students); and set goals that engage and reward students (this keeps them motivated).

This method takes time but produces the best long term results.

Leave a comment

Filed under Learning, Posts, Uncategorized