Monday, October 13, 2008

Tutoring Help for a Student: When Is It Time?

I answered a publicity query concerning when is it time to get a tutor for a student. After I responded to all the questions in the publicity query, I decided to share my responses here:

Several different ways a parent can know whether it's time for a tutor:

1. If the student asks for one.
2. If the student struggles with the material and doesn't seem to "get" it.
3. If the teacher tells the parent the student doesn't seem to "get" the material.

The age has no bearing on this. I've known students who needed a tutor in first grade to learn how to read because the student's learning style was different than the teaching method.

Teachers are usually NOT the best person to decide because a parent can see up close and personal when a student is struggling. On the other hand, when a teacher tells a parent that a child needs a tutor, the parent should listen and not shrug off the suggestion.

The best time of year is as soon as a student needs help (see above).

It would be better if the child is on board (and this can often be achieved in the way the tutor is presented to the student), but not necessary. Students should not be allowed to fail because they are afraid to admit they need help.

Definitely not wait until a student gets a F. (Sometimes short-term tutoring does the trick if the problem is caught soon enough.)

If regular tutoring doesn't seem to help and there are some underlying hints of learning disabilities, testing should be carried out as soon as possible and extensively as possible with a trained educational consultant.

Parents should also read the book MINDSET by Carol Dweck to help ensure that the student is not refusing to try because of a closed mindset. (I feature this book on my Flipping Burgers blog.)

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