More than anything else in the world, parents want their children to be happy, successful, and able to reach any goal they set for themselves. For some students, a tutor can be a great help toward achieve those goals. Finding a tutor who is an expert in their field is beneficial, but equally important is finding an instructor who is able meet their child’s unique learning needs.
I recently spoke with Matthew Hadodo, an instructor for TakeLessons and founder of Verilingo.com, about tutors, learning styles, and study skills for middle- and high school-aged kids.
Matthew tutors all different grade levels. His tutoring caters to individual students based on different learning styles, ages groups, personalities, and time schedules.
Matthew finds that incorporating other parts of life into studies is an effective strategy. Students are more consistent with studying and tutoring when they have strong overall organization skills.
“I talk with students to see what they have going on in their life and go from there,” says Matthew. All of his tutoring is catered to individual students. Whether they are athletic-, aesthetic-, aural-, or music-oriented, “I want to keep it fun and engaging because studies can become very tedious.”
Make the Subject Matter Relatable to Their Interests
Matthew believes that you need to keep a certain levity to tutoring, so that by taking it seriously and studying, students are also being able to make connections to their day-to-day activities.
For instance, Matthew tutors a high school senior in SAT prep. She’s active in sports, attends private school, takes elective classes, dance, martial arts, and interns at a hospital. She’s got diverse skills and interests, and has a lot of things going on in her life. She’s interested in pharmacology or pre-med for a college major. There’s nothing wrong with taking your non-medical interests and applying it to studying.
Matthew suggested she improved her reading comprehension for the long passages by coming up with a paragraph of her own, trying to think of the questions that the SAT will ask. “If she approaches it from reverse because she already knows the thought process, it’s easier to answers the questions,” says Matthew.
Use Analogies to Engage Students
The challenge comes when a student is being pressured to take a lesson or isn’t interested in the subject matter. You have to appeal to their interests. For example, if you have a middle-school or elementary-school student who is struggling with math, take examples that are more in tune with their lives. Have them watch a 1 Direction or Charlie XCX music video and use it to engage and make the connection visually. In context of something they are interested in, the concept and studying will be more engaging to them.
“Find ways to get interest at first and then they make their realizations to get through to them,” says Matthew.
Differences between Middle School and High School Study Skills
“Age is a factor. Every body is different and everybody is different,” says Matthew. Middle school students have different expectations of them than high school students do. Be focused on the expectations more than the way they process the information.
High school students have more homework than middle school students. Middle school students are engaged in extra circular activities and recreational sports than most high school students
Also keep in mind how to organize time and scheduling. Students need to learn how to organize their time to get things done and prioritize their tasks and be aware of their individual workload. What is most important to that student? For example, if the student has a spelling test they need to study for, when is that test? Are there other tests around the same time? If the student excels at spelling, spend more time on math that may be due a couple of days later but they struggle with math more.
Tutoring Doesn't Have to Be Boring
Matthew concludes that tutoring doesn’t have to be boring. Studying doesn’t have to be a chore. It boils down to your attitude. Even if you are not the most academically oriented student, you can still succeed and improve if you have fun with whatever you’re doing.
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Great tips! I know a lot of people don’t tap into tutors that are available an should. Especially when they are free through school systems.
Carissa Pelletier says
I think I’ll have to keep up to date on pop culture so I can follow the analogy tip. I need to learn more about this topic and so glad you shared these tips!
I really love these ideas – especially making learning relative to the music, etc that the kids enjoy. I wish I had had this type of attention as a high school student and I want to be there to help my daughter out should she need it (she’s way smarter than I am so it’s kind of hard!). Thanks for sharing.
Tatanisha W says
these are great tips! We are not there yet, but I am trying to get them into having good study habits now and working at their pace. We also have a tutor.