Michal Parzuchowski 224092

Why bright kids need support every week

Students who are struggling can certainly benefit from time spent one-to-one with a tutor each week… but what about kids who are doing well at school? At My Academy our students show a wide range of abilities and strengths, and we believe all students can benefit from at least one hour of close attention from a tutor each week on an ongoing basis.

Life-long learning v cramming

Students receiving tuition in preparation for exams typically work with their teacher on improving their comprehension of content and mastery of skills, as well as undertaking exercises under timed exam conditions, to get used to exam formats and expectations. Their teacher will share tips on what will give the student an ‘edge’ before and during their exam.

While a quick ‘brush-up’ is a popular choice for students in the lead-up to an exam and can certainly help alleviate nerves, at My Academy we often find that many students need so much more support than ‘cramming’ can give. For example, they may need more time to consolidate their understanding of Maths content, such as how fractions, decimals and percentages relate to each other, or they may need further practice to fine-tune essay writing skills.

We have many students who are preparing for an exam a year or more in advance – and students who, after completing an early workshop on preparing for a selective school exam, will book further tuition for the months to come, to ensure they have covered all possible content that may come up. We find that these students have the best chance of success. Furthermore, just doing a quick cramming session before their exam will only help on a superficial level and won’t send a positive message about the importance of being a life-long learner, always trying to improve knowledge and understanding.

Bright kids need support too

“Gifted children have little difficulty in mastering isolated content knowledge, however, they need to integrate that knowledge and apply it to real problems.”

Diezmann, C. M., & Watters, J. J. (1997). Bright but bored: Optimising the environment for gifted children. Australian Journal of Early Childhood, 22(2), 17-21.

Every bright student who learns new things quickly will need some time to consolidate their understanding. This is most commonly seen when a student is given a numeracy problem to solve out of context, or worded in a different way than they are used to.

Consolidation of knowledge for life-long understanding is best done through structured activities, guided by a teacher, through the natural progression of conceptual learning (such as how the concept of fractional parts flows through to fractional numbers and then to decimal representation).

Support means reduced anxiety

When students know that on a weekly basis they are receiving support and will be prepared and confident in their subject knowledge, their levels of stress and anxiety are significantly diminished.

In the Australian education curriculum, the emphasis is on ‘personalised learning’ with teachers making provisions for daily challenge and learning experiences suited to students’ individual styles: “Young people experience a sense of wellbeing and engagement when provided with supportive and challenging learning environments and opportunities that are responsive to their individual strengths and interests.”

(Victoria State Government Education and Training resource on learning diversity

http://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/teachers/teachingresources/diversity/Pages/gifted.aspx)

However, in the reality of the busy classroom, this ideal is not always the norm. Tuition centres therefore have an important role to play in supporting schools to achieve personalised learning that truly builds students’ knowledge, ability and self-confidence.

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