Tag Archives: North Brisbane and Ferny Hills Tutor

“R” is for Readiness for School

“A stitch in time saves nine.”  How do you know if your pre-schooler is ready for their big jump into primary school? 

Does your child understand these words – “above”; “below”; “on”; “in”; “before”; “after”; “beside”; “first”; “second”; “last’: “stop”; “go”; “left”; “right”; “top”; “bottom”; “middle”?

Pre-school education should help young learners with their spatial skills and prepare them for primary school, however there are times when these skills are not acquired.  This is no reflection upon the child, though not having an understanding can place the young learner at a disadvantage when they first attend primary school.

Can you imagine the difficulty a young learner will have following the simplest directions if they do not understand the words from the list above?  We are seeing more instances where the parents of children in Years 1 and 2 are seeking help because their little ones are not keeping up at school. 

How can a student fall into difficulty at such an early stage of their education?

Let the early years be play.  Young children learn through play, being read to, and through song.  Have any of these three things changed in the last two decades?  Do children play with other children or with their parents like they used to?  Are they being read to by an adult?  Do the songs they listen to teach them about the spatial world around them? 

The things we do with our children before they attend school are just as important as the education they receive before they become adults.  If you can get the foundations right the structure is strong.

By Peter Kenyon: Online Tutor

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“M” s for 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 and if you don’t 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 can’t remember material.  Short term is good for a few minutes, hours or days, after that it is gone.  You must take the next step to move it into long term memory.

Recitation (saying something repeatedly) 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 lifetime. Reading something quietly repeatedly to yourself or writing it down several times is not as effective as reading the material, in your own words, repeatedly ALOUD.

By Peter Kenyon: Tutor

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“K” is for Kinaesthetic Learner

Not 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, physiotherapist, massage therapist, surgeon, mechanic, carpenter, P.E. teacher, athlete, farmer, etc.

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

By Peter Kenyon: XtraMile Tuition Strategies Tutor

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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

And on the other side of the coin insufficient sleep will make children:

  • Hyperactive.
  • Lacking in confidence.
  • Irritable.
  • Inattentive; and
  • Fall behind in class

If this sounds like your youngster then it is so easy to fix.

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 a.m. 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 p.m. 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 weeknight 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 changes so quickly when they stop being tired.

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

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

By Peter Kenyon: Tutor

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“Unicorn Guy” by Emlyn (aged 12)

unicornNow a ragged man in shabby clothes, Daryl, was unlike everyone else because he liked unicorns and loved to put posters of them in his room.  He was intrigued by the world of unicorns and he wanted to show the power of them, until he went bankrupt because he bought a concrete unicorn tiled with bright Fluro colours that was bigger than the Statue of Liberty.  Although he lost everything he owned, had nowhere to live, and only had the unicorn, Darrell was still overjoyed because he found his new home.  He climbed up the unicorn’s mane, swung into the mouth of the statue, and relaxed into the belly of the unicorn.  Now a man in shabby clothes lives in inside a unicorn.

Emlyn (aged 12)

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“Teddy” by Sunday (aged 10)

teddy-red-carA long time ago in an old house, there was a brown teddy bear with a special secret.  Every morning, before breakfast, the fluffy little guy would put on his black cloak.  He would get in his toy car and drive right down the narrow street and visit his friend Bob, the polar bear teddy.  They would play in Bob’s huge garden until the sun fell.  Teddy would drive in his little red car back down from his secret friend’s house until he was back in the old house.

Sunday (aged 10) 

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“The Chinese Warship” by Angus (aged 11)

ship-battleOne night a Chinese war ship was in the South China Sea when suddenly an Indian War ship appeared. The Chinese war ship had big guns on the front and back. The Chinese war ship fired first and the Indian war ship retaliated. The Indian war ship then turned around and left because it was supper time. That night the Indian crew ate chicken in Sumatra.

 Angus (aged 11)

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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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