Private Tutoring Can Help Any Child
Private tutoring is a valuable and personalized educational supplement, offering students the opportunity to receive targeted assistance in specific subjects or skills. While traditional classroom settings are essential for learning, private tutoring provides a tailored approach that caters to individual needs, unlocking the potential for academic success and personal growth. Here are numerous ways in which private tutoring can be a helpful resource for students seeking an extra edge in their educational journey.
- Personalized Attention: One of the most significant advantages of private tutoring is the individualized attention that students receive. In a traditional classroom, where the student-to-teacher ratio can be high, it’s easy for some students to get lost in the shuffle. Private tutors can tailor their approach to the specific learning style, pace, and needs of each student, ensuring a more effective and personalized educational experience.
- Customized Learning Plans: Private tutors create customized learning plans based on the strengths and weaknesses of the individual student. This personalized approach allows for targeted reinforcement of foundational concepts, addressing gaps in understanding and building a solid academic foundation. Tutors can adapt their teaching methods to suit the student’s preferred learning style, whether it be visual, auditory, or kinesthetic.
- Improved Academic Performance: The focused attention and personalized learning plans provided by private tutors often lead to improved academic performance. Students who may have struggled with certain subjects can benefit from the additional explanations, practice, and reinforcement that private tutoring offers. This, in turn, can boost confidence and motivation.
- Flexibility in Scheduling: Private tutoring offers flexibility in scheduling, accommodating the busy lives of students and their families. This flexibility allows students to receive additional support without disrupting their regular school or extracurricular activities. Whether it’s evening sessions, weekend reviews, or intensive exam preparation, private tutors can tailor their schedules to meet the unique needs of their students.
- Targeted Exam Preparation: High-stakes exams, such as standardized tests or college entrance exams, can be daunting for students. Private tutors specialize in exam preparation, guiding students through the content, format, and strategies needed to excel. The focused attention on exam-specific skills helps reduce anxiety and increases the likelihood of achieving favorable results.
- Building Confidence and Motivation: Success breeds confidence, and private tutoring is a powerful tool for building both. As students grasp challenging concepts and see tangible progress in their academic performance, they gain confidence in their abilities. This newfound confidence often translates into increased motivation and a more positive attitude toward learning.
- Addressing Learning Differences: Every student learns differently, and some may have specific learning differences or challenges. Private tutors can identify and address these differences, providing tailored support and accommodations to help students overcome obstacles and succeed academically. This personalized approach is particularly beneficial for students with learning disabilities or attention disorders.
- Encouraging a Love for Learning: Beyond academic success, private tutoring can instill a love for learning. By fostering a supportive and engaging learning environment, tutors can help students discover the joy of acquiring knowledge, cultivating a mindset that goes beyond the immediate academic goals and extends to a lifelong appreciation for learning.
Private tutoring serves as a helpful and impactful resource for students of all ages. By providing personalized attention, customized learning plans, and targeted support, private tutors empower students to overcome challenges, excel academically, and develop a lifelong passion for learning.
Reading is Key to All Academic Achievement
Reading is not merely a skill; it’s a gateway to a world of imagination, knowledge, and empathy. As a parent, fostering a love for reading in your child is one of the greatest gifts you can provide. Here are some practical strategies to help your child develop strong reading skills and, more importantly, a passion for the written word.
- Create a Reading-Friendly Environment: Cultivating a reading-friendly environment at home is the first step towards instilling a love for books. Set up a cozy reading nook with comfortable seating, good lighting, and a variety of age-appropriate books. Make sure books are easily accessible, encouraging spontaneous exploration.
- Lead by Example: Children often emulate the behavior of those around them. Demonstrate the joy of reading by letting your child see you immersed in a book. Share your reading experiences and discuss the stories you love. This not only models positive reading behavior but also fosters a sense of shared interest.
- Read Aloud Together: Reading aloud is a powerful tool for developing literacy skills. Start reading to your child from a young age, and as they grow, encourage them to read aloud to you. This not only improves their reading fluency but also provides an opportunity for bonding and shared enjoyment of stories.
- Explore Various Genres: Introduce your child to a diverse range of genres and topics. Whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, mysteries, or fantasy, exposing them to different styles of writing expands their literary horizons. Consider their interests and incorporate books that align with their hobbies.
- Visit the Library Regularly: The library is a treasure trove of books waiting to be discovered. Make regular trips to the library a family affair. Allow your child to choose books that capture their interest, fostering a sense of autonomy in their reading journey. Libraries often host storytelling sessions and other literary events, adding an extra layer of excitement.
- Use Technology Wisely: Leverage technology to enhance the reading experience. Educational apps, audiobooks, and interactive e-books can complement traditional reading. However, ensure that screen time is balanced and that the focus remains on the joy of reading rather than passive consumption.
- Encourage Questions and Discussions: Foster a curious mindset by encouraging your child to ask questions about the stories they read. Engage in discussions about characters, plot twists, and moral lessons. This not only enhances comprehension but also deepens their connection to the material.
- Be Patient and Supportive: Every child develops reading skills at their own pace. Be patient and supportive, celebrating small victories and progress. Avoid putting undue pressure on your child, as negative associations with reading can hinder the development of a love for books.
- Celebrate Reading Milestones: Acknowledge and celebrate your child’s reading milestones. Whether it’s completing a challenging book or mastering a new set of vocabulary, recognizing their achievements reinforces a positive attitude towards reading.
- Connect Reading to Real-Life Experiences: Help your child see the relevance of reading in everyday life. Whether it’s following a recipe, reading street signs, or exploring information online, connecting reading to real-life experiences reinforces its practical importance.
Helping your child with reading is not just about building a fundamental skill; it’s about nurturing a lifelong love for stories and knowledge. By creating a supportive environment, modeling positive reading behavior, and exploring the vast literary landscape together, you lay the foundation for a future where reading is not a chore but a source of joy and enrichment.
How Parents Can Help
The disruptions brought about by the global pandemic have led to significant learning loss for many students, emphasizing the importance of proactive and targeted efforts to support their educational recovery. As a parent, you play a pivotal role in helping your child rebuild their academic foundation and regain confidence in their learning abilities. Here are some practical strategies to assist your child in recovering from learning loss.
- Identify Specific Areas of Concern: Begin by identifying the specific areas in which your child may be struggling. Assess their recent report cards, speak with their teachers, and consider seeking a professional assessment if needed. Understanding the specific challenges your child faces will allow you to tailor your support more effectively.
- Establish Open Communication: Create a supportive and open communication channel with your child. Discuss their feelings about returning to school and any challenges they may be experiencing. Encourage them to express their concerns and frustrations, and assure them that you are there to provide support and guidance.
- Implement a Consistent Routine: Consistency is key when helping your child recover from learning loss. Establish a daily routine that includes dedicated time for homework, study sessions, and leisure activities. Consistent routines provide a sense of stability and predictability, helping your child feel more in control of their academic responsibilities.
- Utilize Educational Resources: Leverage educational resources, both online and offline, to supplement your child’s learning. Educational apps, websites, and books tailored to their grade level and areas of struggle can provide additional practice and reinforcement. Many platforms offer interactive and engaging content that makes learning enjoyable.
- Encourage Active Learning: Move away from passive learning and encourage active engagement. Incorporate hands-on activities, experiments, and real-world applications of concepts to make learning more tangible and interesting. Active learning not only reinforces academic concepts but also enhances critical thinking skills.
- Set Realistic Goals: Work with your child to set realistic and achievable academic goals. Break down larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks, celebrating small victories along the way. This not only helps build momentum but also fosters a sense of accomplishment.
- Provide Positive Reinforcement: Offer positive reinforcement and praise for your child’s efforts and progress. Focusing on their strengths and acknowledging the steps they are taking to overcome learning challenges boosts their confidence and motivation. Celebrate both academic achievements and personal growth.
- Consider Professional Support: If your child’s learning loss is substantial, consider enlisting the help of a professional tutor or educator. A qualified tutor can provide targeted support, addressing specific learning gaps and tailoring their approach to your child’s individual needs. This personalized attention can accelerate the recovery process.
- Promote a Growth Mindset: Encourage a growth mindset by emphasizing the idea that intelligence and abilities can be developed through effort and perseverance. Teach your child that setbacks are a natural part of the learning process and an opportunity for growth. This mindset shift can positively impact their approach to challenges.
- Stay Engaged with Teachers: Maintain regular communication with your child’s teachers to stay informed about their progress and any additional support they may need. Collaborate with teachers to create a cohesive plan for your child’s recovery, ensuring that everyone is working together to support their educational journey.
Recovering from learning loss requires a concerted effort from both parents and educators. By identifying specific challenges, establishing open communication, and implementing targeted strategies, you can help your child rebuild their academic foundation and rediscover a love for learning.
STEM Builds a Foundation for Life
In an era marked by rapid technological advancements and an ever-growing reliance on innovation, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education has emerged as the cornerstone of societal progress. STEM education is not merely a set of subjects; it is a dynamic and interdisciplinary approach to learning that prepares individuals for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.
- Fostering Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills: STEM education cultivates critical thinking and problem-solving skills from an early age. By engaging in hands-on activities and real-world problem scenarios, students learn to analyze situations, think creatively, and develop solutions. These skills are not only vital in scientific and technological fields but are also transferrable to various aspects of life, empowering individuals to navigate complex challenges in any domain.
- Driving Technological Innovation: The heart of STEM education lies in fostering innovation. Students immersed in STEM fields are encouraged to question, explore, and experiment. This mindset fuels technological advancements that drive progress in fields like medicine, energy, communication, and transportation. The next breakthrough in renewable energy, medical research, or artificial intelligence may very well be conceived in the mind of a STEM-educated individual.
- Global Competitiveness: Nations with a robust emphasis on STEM education are better positioned to compete in the global economy. The workforce of the future will be dominated by jobs that require a strong foundation in STEM fields. From coding to data analysis, proficiency in STEM disciplines is becoming increasingly indispensable. Countries investing in STEM education are not only producing a skilled workforce but are also fostering an environment conducive to innovation and economic growth.
- Addressing Societal Challenges: STEM education equips individuals with the tools to address pressing societal challenges. Whether it’s finding sustainable solutions to environmental issues, developing breakthroughs in healthcare, or creating technologies to bridge socio-economic gaps, STEM professionals play a pivotal role. Through STEM education, we empower future generations to contribute meaningfully to the betterment of society.
- Closing the Gender Gap: Historically, there has been a gender disparity in STEM fields. Encouraging STEM education from an early age helps break down gender stereotypes and fosters an inclusive environment. By providing equal opportunities and representation, we can bridge the gender gap in STEM, ensuring that diverse perspectives contribute to scientific and technological advancements.
- Adaptability in a Dynamic World: STEM education instills adaptability in individuals. In a world characterized by constant change, having a foundation in STEM disciplines prepares individuals to navigate evolving technologies and industries. This adaptability is a key attribute in the face of future uncertainties and challenges.
STEM education is not just about preparing students for specific careers; it’s about equipping them with the skills and mindset needed to thrive in an increasingly complex and interconnected world. The importance of STEM education extends beyond the classroom, influencing societies, economies, and the collective human experience. Promoting STEM education, helps lay the groundwork for a future where innovation, progress, and the pursuit of knowledge propel us toward new heights of achievement and understanding.
Students can’t get off their phones
The announcement yesterday that schools across England are ordered to outlaw smartphones during lessons and break times, has given a boost to conversations about the topic. Gillian Keegan, Education Secretary in England, reportedly “believes that mobile phones pose a serious challenge in terms of distraction, disruptive behaviour, and bullying, according to an insider. ‘It is one of the biggest issues that children and teachers have to grapple with so she will set out a way forward to empower teachers to ban mobiles from classrooms.’”
School districts all over Europe have grappled with the problem, agreeing that “the presence of smartphones in the classroom – and constant notifications from apps – has been blamed for causing disruption, as well as fuelling cyber-bullying and thefts. In June, Finland became the latest country to ban phones in class in a bid to reverse a decline in exam results ”
In July of this year, UNESCO reported that “Smartphones should be banned from schools to tackle classroom disruption, improve learning and help protect children from cyberbullying.” The UN agency said there is evidence that excessive mobile phone use is linked to reduced educational performance. Additionally, high levels of screen time have a negative effect on children’s emotional stability.
Based on its analysis of 200 education systems around the world, UNESCO estimated one in four countries had banned smartphones in school, either through law or guidance. These included France, which introduced its policy in 2018, and the Netherlands, which will bring in restrictions from 2024.
The Washington Post reported in May that “schools in Ohio, Colorado, Maryland, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Virginia, California and others banned the devices in class to curb student obsession, learning disruption, disciplinary incidents and mental health worries.”
How can schools implement and enforce a cell phone ban?
Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has broken down the phone banning methods to five levels:
- Level 1: Students can take their phone out during class, but only to use it for class purposes.
- Level 2: Students can hold on to their phone but are not supposed to take it out of their pocket or backpack at all during class time.
- Level 3: Phone caddies in classrooms: Students put their phone into a wall pocket or storage unit at the start of each class, and then pick it up at the end of that class.
- Level 4: Lockable pouches (such as those made by Yondr). Students are required to put their phone into their own personal pouch when they arrive at school, which is then locked with a magnetic pin (like the anti-theft tags used in clothing stores). Students keep the pouch with them but cannot unlock it until the end of the school day, when they are given access to a magnetic unlocking device.
- Level 5: Phone lockers. Students lock their phone into a secure unit with many small compartments when they arrive at school. They keep their key and get access to the phone lockers again only when they leave school.
Levels 1 and 2 are the hardest to monitor and rely on student impulse control. Levels 3, 4, and 5 remove the responsibility from teachers and students, and ensure there is no phone disruption during class time. Levels 4 and 5 restrict cell phone use for the entire day.
Although most school systems have had some sort of ban, or restrictions on student cell phone use, enforcement has been lax and difficult. Teachers have complained about the extra burden of being the “phone cop”. With academic performance down in many districts, some are blaming it on social media distractions and constant connection to the internet and would like to ban the phones but don’t know how to implement such a ban.
Critics of restrictions on cell phones say they are necessary for emergencies. Students say they use them to check in with parents or coaches, and use them to check on grades or assignments. Some say they use them to listen to music, which helps them concentrate. Allowing students to bring their phones to school, but surrender them until the end of the school day can partially satisfy those objections. In a Pittsburgh suburb, though, students got around the phone surrender by giving up an old phone and keeping their current phone hidden.
In Virginia Beach, “a new regulation this school year forbids cellphone use during instructional hours or in a school setting. Middle-schoolers now must keep phones stowed in their lockers. High school students may carry phones — and use them during lunch or between classes — but not in class.”
Teachers in Kansas have raised concerns during contract negotiations, asking their districts to ban cellphones in class. Wichita high school teacher Mike Harris said that since students now have district-provided Chromebooks they can use in class, “they don’t need their cellphones to learn.”
In Danbury, CN, Kristy Zaleta, principal of Rogers Park Middle School, has switched to a compromise plan where phones are off limits except during the transition periods between classes, and during lunch. Any other time, and the phones are taken away. The result? “There’s a calmer sense,” she said. “It definitely feels like the air has changed.” The previous year, she said, “almost broke us.”
How are things going in schools with a cell phone ban?
School superintendent Bill Wilson, of the Brush, CO school district said that nearly all of their discipline issues last year were related to phones. Social media posts and texts during school hours led to conflicts, bullying, or other issues. This year, no phones allowed in classrooms, and he said he sees more interaction between teachers and students, more focus, less conflict in hallways. And only a handful of students are second-time offenders. “The majority of our students, when we surveyed them, were thankful for it because it has reduced the stress in their life,” Wilson said. “They’re not worried about what their friends are saying, at least not during school time.” Several parents were critical early on, he said, but most have been accepting.
More research needs to be done to provide high quality experimental evidence as to the benefits phone-free schools provide, but “It helped me a lot,” one student at San Mateo High School in California told NBC News after her school started using lockable pouches. “Before, I would usually just like curl over in the side of my desk, and, like, check my phone and text everyone. But now there’s no other thing for us to look at or do except for talk to our teacher or pay attention.”
For a deeper dive into the current state of cell phone addiction, please read this fabulous essay in The Atlantic by Jonathan Haidt, Get Phones Out of Schools Now.