Learning Difficulties - Tips For Successful Tutoring
Apr 28, 2010 Tutoring/Home School 2955 Views
As a tutor, it is common to find yourself tutoring a student with learning difficulties (LD). These students need a learning environment which will facilitate their unique needs. This learning environment is often not available in a public classroom setting.
You have the opportunity to provide for your student the environment and encouragement she needs to have a successful learning experience. Here are three tips for you to use which will help both you and your student enjoy a rewarding tutoring experience:
- Learning Assessment by a qualified professional -- this is your first step in being able to determine what to prepare for your student in terms of types of activities, lesson plans and teaching methods. Because the types and variety of learning challenges is broad, the specifics of the learning assessment will determine which teaching methods are most likely to benefit your student.
As a tutor, your role will be to encourage the student's parents to request the assessment. Most of these assessments are done through the school system. For students who are finished high school, contact your local mental health facility and ask where to go for testing. This could be a very worthwhile investment for your student.
An assessment of learning disabilities does not mean the student should feel she should give up on learning. Remind her that this does not equate with lower intelligence. There are many famous people who are known to have had learning disabilities, including Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, George Washington, Walt Disney, Alexander Graham Bell, and Winston Churchill, to name only a few. In fact, I like to use the student's LD assessment to challenge them to find a way to use it as an advantage, something to motivate them toward greater success.
Become familiar with the basic areas which will be tested in a standard school LD assessment. The diagnosis of learning disabilities is not an exact science but will provide valuable insight. It should indicate what type of learner your student is: tactile, visual, auditory, etc. You will also discover where your student is struggling in the learning process: short term memory, reading comprehension, etc.
- A plan must be formulated for implementing strategies which will build on your student's strengths and re-route the learning path around the disabilities.
Your role as tutor will be to create this plan based on your own research and skills, and to incorporate input from your student, her parents, and teachers. For example, if your student has a short-term memory disability she may not be able to take effective notes in the classroom. Her notes will appear to be disjointed; that's because she is trying to listen and write at the same time. By the time she has written the first half of what the teacher has said, the teacher is on to a new sentence and the student cannot remember the last half of the first sentence. This is a very frustrating experience for your student.
An effective strategy for this example is to obtain an outline from the teacher ahead of time for each day's classroom instruction so that the student can just add some side notes. This works well for high school students, because many teachers these days post their lectures or notes online for the students to access.
- Encourage success for your student in her learning experience. Foster confidence in your student that she can succeed not in spite of-- but because of-- her learning difficulties.
In successful tutoring your role is not only to transfer knowledge to your student but also to help them build self confidence in their learning experience.