The start of the new school year is, for many children and parents, a time to begin addressing the hurdles ahead. Whether this is 11+, Common Entrance or GCSE’s, this is a busy time of year for putting revision preparations in place.
One-to-one tuition is the popular choice for many parents, with tuition rates across London as high as 47%. This figure includes state educated students; the rate across the independent sector is as high as 85%*. Typically, children will be tutored for a year or two in advance of an important test or exam to give them time to build up a solid understanding of the test content and hone test technique.
Common problems among children of all ages is failure to read the questions correctly, misunderstanding what is required of them, rushing through their answers or time management. Others may struggle with performance anxiety and stress from any perceived external pressure from peers, other parents and even their own teachers.
With this latter point in mind, it is essential that the tuition space acts as a meaningful support and never as an extra pressure. That said, neither should tuition act as a crutch. Good teaching develops confidence and independence in a learner, and these are the qualities looked for during school selection processes.
Jaime Johnson, qualified teacher and founder of tuition agency Young Giants, feels that “..effective test technique allows a child to feel in charge of the task before them. It is not enough for a tutor to turn up each week with repetitive worksheets and practice papers; tutors must tune into their tutee and try to observe the barriers to learning. Often, a lack of confidence can lead a child to underperform as they come to see a test as scrutiny under which they will fall short. A good tutor can re-frame this understanding and encourage a child to see the test in terms of an opportunity for them to show off their best.”
Simple, yet infrequently practiced activities such as self-assessment and teach-back can help a child examine the test from different angles. Engaging a child in discussion about why a school might be looking for certain attributes/knowledge is another good way of helping a child to understand why they are being asked to jump through certain hoops. Tutoring techniques such as these, and many more, encourage a child to analyse and dissect the challenge in front of them.
The approach helps the child to feel more in control and as a result, more likely to perform to their personal best.
*Study conducted by The Sutton Trust 2018
Young Giants Tutoring was established in 2016 by qualified teacher Jaime Johnson in south-west London to provide educational support and exam preparation for children during the important school years leading up to 11+ and GCSE. To find out more about their tutoring please email firstname.lastname@example.org.