Tutor or No Tutor?

Now, at the mid-school year point, many families worry that a student’s fall term grades were less than expected, many concerned about a dwindling college admissions opportunities. Seeking to bridge the gap between what happened and expectations, families can rush implementation of a solution, typically hiring a tutor, without understanding what is breaking in the intricate learning process

Thus, I often ask both parents and the student questions to assess the student’s performance, then devise an appropriate solution, which may sometimes result in hiring a tutor, but not always. 

First, ask: “Did the student understand the grading rubric?” and “How did the teacher apply the grading rubric?” Then, in discussion with the teacher, students can clarify any confusion about the grading standards then know how to demonstrate their understanding on forthcoming assignments.

Second, ask: is the teacher’s test question format, like multiple choice, fill in the blank, or essay questions, match how a student naturally demonstrates their knowledge? If not, then students can determine how to prepare for any upcoming tests, practicing for the specific test format. 

Third, reflect on the student’s attitude, like are they confident to learn a particular subject. When a student doesn’t believe they’re “good at” a subject, they lack concentration, distracted by emotion. Additionally, what’s the connection between the student and teacher? If a student doesn’t “like” a teacher, or vice-versa students may lack motivation to complete assignments.  

Fourth, ask students to review a recent homework assignment or the incorrectly answered test questions. If students are unsure about how to answer the question or even decode the question to know what information is being requested, then the student may lack content knowledge, necessitating a tutor. 

With awareness, students, with their parents’ support, can account for any complexities in the learning process and implement the most appropriate solution.

Creative Marbles was founded by teachers who appreciate helping students (re)discover their aptitude, first in the academic classroom, now as part of the complex college admissions process. For more information, please contact us.

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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