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Priorities in lessons

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by CathySupply, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. CathySupply

    CathySupply New commenter

    I've just had a really helpful reply to a question so thought I'd ask another, rather tentatively ... I realise this is a bit basic! But what do people feel is the best use of their tutoring time? I keep getting confused about this. I've done years & years of class teaching and I know that children spend a lot of time in lessons practising new skills, and that this is done for good pedagogical reasons as well as management ones. Tutors obviously don't have to worry about the latter but I wonder how much of the former can be set as homework (ie assignments and exercises) and how much of lesson time should be spent on the child doing practice exercises? I hope that makes sense. I used to work for a tutoring franchise and I felt I could give better value at home one-to-one as the children just worked their way through endless exercises and didn't get much direct teaching (we had up to five children all at different levels). But I worry that I'm giving too much direct teaching in the hour most have with me. The one thing I don't worry about is the time given to reading with my little pupils as it's very intensive, enjoyable for both and is paying incredible dividends.
    Thanks for reading!
  2. Typhoon

    Typhoon New commenter

    I do spend time getting children to practice skills in tuition sessions, so that I can tell whether they have learned the necessary methods and have the underlying conceptual understanding. However, I try to incorporate a range of different activities to do so, so for example a 'typical' lesson might include a quick revision / starter activity from the previous week, me teaching a skill and the pupil then practising it through either written exercises, an on-line interactive game or us playing a game together for example. With written exercises, I often 'model' myself how I would answer a question, then get the child to have a go at the next one. I do think doing exercises and practising skills is a good thing as it allows me to pick up and tackle straight-away where there are issues or gaps in the child's understanding. With older children, I will often complete the exercises alongside the child - for example, it it's GCSE maths it's good practice for me(!) and we then compare answers and discuss any discrepancies.
    I don't tend to use time in class for setting 'writing' exercises (anything longer than a few sentences that is). These I set for h/w, as I don't think it's good use of an hour's session to have the child writing the whole time. I'd rather teach the skill, or the 'building blocks' then give them the chance to apply them in their written work at home. For maths, I tend to set h/w which reinforces the skills we've practised in class, or if I feel the child is ready, extends them by requiring them to apply the skills to problems. Hope this helps!

  3. CathySupply

    CathySupply New commenter

    Sorry to be late in replying.
    Yes, thank you - you've been very helpful! It's nice as a beginner to have a bit of positive reinforcement.
    I think I've perhaps been a bit over-anxious about giving good value for money and have fallen into the trap of trying to do too much, too quickly. I'm going to try and slow down a bit and cover the ground more slowly so there's time to get in more practice. I think it's about balance, isn't it? Enough repetition but active teaching & learning going on too. I really don't like the way certain organisations seem to rely almost entirely on practising skills but there's no point in throwing the baby out with the bathwater I guess. Thanks again.
  4. I do 1 to 1 tuition tutoring as brought in by the labour government and teach 5 pupils in the school which I just took early retirement from. The format for the 1 to 1 sessions works really well. All lessons follow the same pattern:
    Introduction - of objectvies
    Model - teacher modelling
    Try - pupil tries activity
    Apply - pupil applies activity in a diff context
    Secure - pupil applies activity to a piece of class work with misconceptions
    or maybe to SATS questions
    Review - talk about what you have learnt
    how did it go? Is there anything you are unsure of?
    Next session we will .......
    This works really well and usually fits very nicely into an hour slot.
    You can be as imaginative as you like with activities and I try to use the computer somewhere in each session. 'Easiteach' has lots of good activities.
    Hope this helps!


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