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School tutor: do your homework or teach the language?

A school tutor is always faced with the question: should you catch up with the school curriculum or develop the language skills of the student? After all, parents evaluate the result of the work according to school grades and are often too busy to figure out what the cause of failure is. The teacher, as an expert in his or her field, must find out what caused the need for additional lessons, discuss the strategy with the parents, and move toward the goal. Today let's break down the main causes and scenarios to work around in different cases.

Finding out the reason

First of all, ask the child himself what is the reason for low grades in school. If parents hire a tutor to do their homework, then clarify what kind of problem the teenager is facing: can't study independently? or doesn't absorb the material the teacher at school gives? Maybe the school teacher doesn't explain the material well, or the student has a conflict with the teacher? Depending on the reason why parents hire a tutor for their child, it is necessary to build up the work.

Solve the problem based on the reasons

If the school teacher doesn't give the material well and demands a lot, then it's definitely worth doing language tutoring. Conduct a diagnostic session to determine the student's level. If the student is not far behind, you can go parallel to the school program, sort out difficult points and check the student's homework. But this is an "ideal case" and it happens quite rarely. As a rule, you turn to a tutor when you miss quite a lot. In this case, you build a program of study is no longer in accordance with the school program, but with the weaknesses of the student to catch up (and overtake) the school program for a certain period. Be sure to talk to the parents and talk about the student's actual level and possible options for lessons, timing and results, so that parents do not have any complaints in the future.

If the student is having trouble doing his or her homework on his or her own, you need to not only practice the language, but also teach the student how to practice on his or her own. Here's how you can do it:

  • Introduce online resources to help with assignments: online dictionaries, reference books, encyclopedias, spell checkers, etc;
  • Show the student how to use the dictionary and other resources and include tasks with them in the lesson;
  • Teach the student how to carefully read the exercises before doing them and how to do the different types of exercises correctly and what to pay attention to in them;
  • Talk about word study techniques;
  • Break down essay writing strategies.

If a teenager has a conflict with a tutor, it's likely that dislike for a particular person is transferred to dislike for the subject as well. Therefore, the tutor's task is twofold - to instill a love for the subject and to improve the level of language. Apply elements of coaching to your lessons (more in this article). Discuss in advance with the parents that the teacher is likely to keep lowering the grades even when the student's level improves. So offer an alternative measure of success to school grades, such as passing an international exam or participating in olympiads.

In front of many tutors there is a temptation to analyze the material from the school textbook during the additional lessons, to do homework together with the student and to create a situation of success: the student gets good marks and praise from his parents. But this is a very short-sighted approach: the school teacher can take extra materials, conduct tests, the teacher can also change, the lack of knowledge sooner or later will show up on the surface. So always try, in addition to help do my homework, to help the student learn the material and develop language skills.

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