Tag Archives: Peter Kenyon North Brisbane Tutor

“X” is for the X Factor in Learning with Technology

In his book “How Language Works” David Crystal discusses the possible effect computer-mediated communication (CMC) has had on both spoken and written language.  CMC is the written communication that takes place on the internet, emails, forums etc.  David Crystal infers that CMC is not like written or spoken language.

An elementary social grace we learn at an early age is that of turn-taking when we hold a conversation and “Turn-taking is so fundamental to conversation that most people are not conscious of its significance as a means of enabling interactions to be successful.” 

When we ask a question and expect an answer; or expect a complaint to be followed by an excuse or apology; even when we acknowledge the receipt of information with a “thank you” we are turn-taking.  This social formality allows people to take turns when they talk and not compete to talk at once.

On the internet turn-taking is dictated by the software rather than the people involved in the conversation.  It is your turn after you push the “send” button and when it is received by the other party, which could be days if they are infrequent with checking their email. 

Similarly, CMC is not like traditional writing because it can lack the permanency and traditional structure.  Because there is so much perceived pressure to communicate some people are happy to send their messages with typographical errors, misspellings, erratic capitalisation and lack of punctuation.  It would appear the care taken to revise their writing is of little or no importance to most authors of communication.

Written language has always had problems of interpretation when compared to face-to-face conversation but no amounts of “????”; “!!!!”; or smiley emoticon on emails or Facebook will replace the quizzical look or a raised eyebrow as immediate feedback to a statement.

By Peter Kenyon: North Brisbane Maths Tutor

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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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“The Karate Master & The Undead Pirates” by Alex (aged 8)

PirateOne stormy night in the heart of the Antarctic Ocean, a Japanese karate master was yelling out “Half-Flesh Pirates!”  Then he boarded the wretched pirate ship and attacked the un-dead scavengers.  Soon the pirates were destroyed and their ship was blown into the Bear Cave where they were eaten by the zombie bear.  The Japanese karate master returned to train his young karate class.

Alex (aged 8)

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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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“J” is Just in Time

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

Male Pupil Finding School Exam DifficultIs there a good time to seek out tutoring?  Does your son or daughter display any of these?

  • Lacks confidence with school work
  • 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?  Unfortunately, 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.” 

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“A Day on the Beach” by Gabby (aged 9)

ice-creamIt was a beautiful day on the beach for Samantha because she loved all the people and dogs surrounding her. She loved laughter and barking.  She heard some people singing “Happy Birthday” and then she had a great idea.  She bought ice-cream for everyone because it was her birthday too.  Soon everyone was singing “Happy Birthday” to Samantha as they licked their ice-creams.

Gabby (aged 9)

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“The Job” by Gabby (aged 13)

baboonA baboon woke up in his gold-covered bed and thought to himself, “I think I will become a nurse.”  Gregory went to the internet, searched www.getajob.com and found his dream job.  Two weeks later he got a call from a man with bad news. “We don’t employ baboons,” the man said.   “I say, that’s discrimination,” said Gregory in his gold-covered bed.

Gabby (aged 13)

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“The Rescue” by Katie (aged 13)

darkened-hallThe policewoman felt her way into the dark room, smelt dead fish and saw ropes hanging from the walls.  The light was so dim that she heard the child’s soft sobs before she saw the tiny, petrified girl tied to the rusty pole in the corner.  The door slammed, heavy work-boots scraped and the harf-harf harf-harf of an asthmatic wheeze lifted the soft hairs on the back of her neck like zombies rising in a graveyard.  Her trembling hands reached for the taser in the side pocket of her belt, she turned and shot the barbs and the dark shape froze, jerked and collapsed onto the concrete.  The policewoman rushed to the child, wrapped her arms around her and whispered, You’re safe now.”

Katie (aged 13) 

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“The Cassowary Feather” by Taj (aged 8)

cassowaryWhen the pigs were in their sty playing in the mud they found a cassowary feather and one pig ate it and suddenly forty-nine more feathers fell on them and forty-nine pigs ate one each and all turned into humans.

They travelled around the whole world telling everyone to eat cassowary feathers but no-one believed them.  One day a kid ate a feather but he turned into a pig and his mother put the story on the TV to warn everyone that eating feathers would turn humans into pigs.

The story went everywhere so all the people knew but everyone in the world ate a feather until the fifty pigs were the only humans in the whole world.  The whole world was covered in mud from all the pigs and the pigs that had turned into humans didn’t like it.

Taj (aged 8)


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“Antboy to the Rescue” by Tex (aged 6)

antboyIn the middle of the night Antboy woke up in his big bed, in his big house, under the river. He’s a superhero who knew his ant friends were in trouble when they rang for help.  He grabbed his super hero axe and sword, jumped into his superhero ant-boat and sped to guess where?  Ant City.  Antboy used his axe and sword to knock the tooth out of the evil spikey anteater who was scaring his ant friends.  The evil spikey anti-eater ran away, his ant friends went home and Antboy went back to his big bed.

Tex. (aged 6)

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