March 22, 2016

Treating tutoring as an art

Halina Goetz directs the Mathematics and Computer Science Clinic at Chapman University.  In her article for the Orange County Register, she explains that tutoring is an art requiring a special set of skills that go way beyond being a homework helper. “Homework should be treated only as a material or a tool used for teaching deductive thinking, how to learn, how to study and how to think analytically and critically.  Effective tutoring needs to be taught and needs to be learned.”

Goetz continues with “many people think that if one has knowledge of the subject matter to tutor, it makes him/her a tutor. It is far from the truth.  Tutoring is not easy. It requires a formal schooling on how to do it in a way that you are not enabling the student but you teach the student how to learn on his or her own.”

To read the entire article, click here.

Filed under: Tutoring Practices

April 19, 2015

Motivating Students

From The Center for Teaching, Vanderbilt University

This entry on motivating students covers:

  1. Intrinsic Motivation
  2. Extrinsic Motivation
  3. Effects of Motivation on Learning Styles
  4. A Model of Intrinsic Motivation
  5. Strategies for Motivating Students
  6. Showing Students the Appeal of a Subject

1. Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivators include fascination with the subject, a sense of its relevance to life and the world, a sense of accomplishment in mastering it, and a sense of calling to it.

Students who are intrinsically motivated might say things like the following.

  • “Literature interests me.”
  • “Learning math enables me to think clearly.”
  • “I feel good when I succeed in class.”

Advantages: Intrinsic motivation can be long-lasting and self-sustaining.  Efforts to build this kind of motivation are also typically efforts at promoting student learning.  Such efforts often focus on the subject rather than rewards or punishments.

Disadvantages: On the other hand, efforts at fostering intrinsic motivation can be slow to affect behavior and can require special and lengthy preparation.  Students are individuals, so a variety of approaches may be needed to motivate different students. It is often helpful to know what interests one’s students in order to connect these interests with the subject matter. This requires getting to know one’s students. Also, it helps if the instructor is interested in the subject to begin with!

Click here to read more.

Filed under: Tutoring Practices

September 29, 2014

B.C. teachers seek tutoring work despite union directive

by Tara Carman, Vancouver Sun

Some cash-strapped teachers are looking for tutoring jobs to make ends meet. Photograph by: Fuse , Getty Images/Fuse

Many families are looking for tutors during the teachers’ strike and there are plenty of teachers willing to oblige, despite union warnings that some could face censure for doing so. Ann Thorpe, a coordinator with the non-profit Teachers’ Tutoring Service, said parents were scrambling to line up tutors for their children earlier this week when school was supposed to start.

“Tuesday we had a big surge … in demand for tutors,” she said. “The phone was ringing all day and emails were coming in.”

The tutoring service was able to accommodate the surge in demand in part because so many striking teachers have contacted them looking for work, Thorpe said. In fact, there are more teachers looking for work than there are tutoring spots available. “We are able to take some of the people on but we do have a lot of tutors already and unless they’re in geographical areas where we’re lacking tutors or unless they’re for subjects we’re really needing people in (such as math), we just can’t take very many on.”

Teachers are also posting ads for tutoring services on websites such as Craigslist. But those who take on tutoring work over and above what they would normally do during the school year are undermining the solidarity of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation, especially if they are being compensated with the controversial $40-a-day payments the government is giving parents for child care, said BCTF first vice-president Glen Hansman.

To read more, click here.

Filed under: Tutoring Practices

June 30, 2014

United Way offers new tutoring pilot program

By Mary Lou Valenzuela, originally published in on 5/29/14.

(Photo: United Way)

As a Wells Fargo executive, Yolanda Stokes is a busy woman. She didn’t always have the time to drive 40 minutes from work to volunteer at J.R. Davis Elementary in south Phoenix. But as a former student in the Roosevelt School District, she wanted to give back. So when she found out about the United Way’s new tutoring opportunity, which allows her to work with a student remotely, she immediately signed up.

“I can sit at my work desk and give a gift that is immeasurable to a student that is so appreciative and so deserving,” she said.

Each week, Yolanda helps second-grader Jaffett Reyes with his reading. She calls into his classroom from her office phone and reviews reading-comprehension activities and stories from a computer interface they can both see. Yolanda and Jaffett are part of United Way’s tutoring pilot that uses TutorMate technology and volunteerism to improve children’s literacy. Volunteers partner with first-, second- and third-graders in the Roosevelt School District and set weekly appointments to provide support during 30-minute tutoring sessions. The pilot is the first of its kind in the Valley, United Way officials said.

“In just a few months, reading and confidence have improved, behaviors have improved and students that had a difficult time focusing are really putting forth the effort so they can participate,” said Anita McFarland, principal of J.R. Davis Elementary School. “Initially, we were worried participation would be viewed negatively by the students’ peers, but instead of feeling singled out, they feel chosen … every student wishes they could be one of the lucky ones to receive a weekly phone call.”

To read more, click here.

Filed under: Technology,Tutoring Practices

May 24, 2014

Documentary Shows the Tutoring Work of Arne Duncan’s Mother

By Mark Walsh, Education Week, originally published on 4/30/14

Remember Me Sue Trailer from Tellit Multimedia on Vimeo. (click image to access)

When U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was testifying at his confirmation hearing in 2009, he discussed his mother’s longtime work as the operator of an after-school children’s tutoring program serving mostly poor, African-American students on the South Side of Chicago. “What compelled my mother to take her three young children into this community every single day?” the nominee said of Sue Duncan, who “did this work every single day simply because this work was so important. Because this work was bigger than all of us.”

A new documentary looks at the half-century of work of Duncan’s mother with the Sue Duncan Children’s Center, a non-profit program that operates entirely on donations, with no federal or state funding. “Remember Me Sue,” by director Melina Kolb, airs Thursday night at 9 p.m. Central time on public television station WTTW in Chicago. Those outside the Chicago area will have to look for it at film festivals or for it to eventually show up on the Web.

Sue Duncan is in her 70s now, and she retired from the children’s center in 2011. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2010, the film says.

Mrs. Duncan started the children’s center in 1961, and it moved around a bit, but now resides in a public elementary in the Oakland neighborhood, not far from the Hyde Park neighborhood surrounding the University of Chicago where Arne Duncan and his brother and sister were brought up. The brother, Owen Duncan, now runs the children’s center, which includes a new campus that opened last fall in the Woodlawn neighborhood.

To read more click here.

Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,Community,Tutoring Practices

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