Monday, February 27, 2012

Cultivate a Professional Tutor State of Mind

Teachers, have you run into problematic children who just refuse to learn in your class? Sometimes even after expending ginormous effort into preparing lesson plans and elaborately engaging activities, some children will still stubbornly resist to learn (or perform). Fortunately, this scenario tends to diminish as kids grow older. Some kids simply grow out of it. Others settled for the fact that they must learn to earn a future. And still others stumble to get by. Is this really it? Must these students submit to the dismal "reality" and be "forced" to learn?

Fortunately, education is the combined efforts of both teachers and parents. And the exciting news is, last we checked, anyone can adopt the mindset of a professional tutor! Whether you are a beginner educator,  a veteran teacher, or a concerned parent, you are able to tackle universal problems that children struggle in their process of learning. 

Marian Ruben, who recently published How to Tutor Your Own Child, offers some tried-and-tested, distilled advice for the parents who are dealing with kids who find learning boring. In one of her chapter's, the ingenuity of Marina's approach lies in her emphasis of basics, which concerns 

  1. the parents to show that they care about learning to their child, and 
  2. the parents to acquire the mindset of a professional tutor
(If you don't love learning, for the sake of your child, pretend you do.)

In case you find the talk above too fluffy for your pragmatic-liking, there are some practical pointers she provides to tackle everyday problems you encounter. For instance, how you may take opportunities to show your enthusiasm in learning in various contexts:
Here are other ways to show that you love learning:
  • Value learners. Whether it means making positive comments about the "nerd" character in a television show or praising the efforts of a neighbor who has decided to study gardening, send your child the message that you admire people who make the choice to investigate and acquire knowledge.
  • Ask follow-up questions. Let's say uncle Frank visits and talks about his interest in phrenology. Don't just go "uh huh." Find out what phrenology is, why he started studying it, and whether anyone still really thinks that you can measure architectural talent by skull shape.
Even if you don't really believe any of the above, the book is full of little gems worthy of a hearty chuckle: (And let's be honest, in the profession of teaching, who doesn't need a good chuckle?) 

STUDENT: Why do I have to study Portuguese? That's not fair.
BAD PARENT-TUTOR: Life's not fair.
GOOD PARENT-TUTOR: What if Brazil invades America? You'll be able to translate!

Lastly, we leave you with a quote to ruminate to start off the week:
taking action and taking the right action can be two very different things. - Cal Newport (Study Hacks)

(excerpt via How To Tutor Your Own Child, Study Hack Blog)