Very few children, especially younger ones would choose to have a tutor.
Some children learn differently to methods used in the classroom by teachers.
Yesterday I was talking to one of our new tutors about planning a lesson and the type of resources we use.
We spoke about the tasks we can use within comprehension: battleships, writing a diary exert, drawing and annotating a descriptive extract from the book.
We spoke about how in maths we can use a variety of games you can use: Snakes and ladders, pairs and solving clues, to name but a few.
How each task needed adapting for each child, but as you go to know the individual you can learn what their expectations are and what will work best for them.
I was asked if I had ever helped a child with handwriting. A few years back over the summer holidays I had worked with a lad where this had been the main focus.
The weather had always been kind to us. This enabled us to work outside and potentially make more mess!
We used different sizes of paint brushes and used water to draw shapes and letters on the patio and the side of the house. He used large cut offs of wallpaper and felt tips and markers to write larger than life letters. We used trays of rice and gloop to draw the letters to create a completely different sensory experience.
More recently, I’ve been working with a young autistic lad. He’s really lovely and I love the hour on a Friday afternoon. We are focusing on concentration, speech and his writing skills.
This time working outside hasn’t been as practical so we have had to adapt the situation.
Each week I take along a sheet of images to be coloured in. For example, one week it might be the letter “b” we are concentrating on. There will be: a large “b”, a bee, banana, ball, bicycle, bat and a book. We will both have our own copies to colour. As we colour we will talk about what we are doing, the colours we are using, what we are colouring.
Over the weeks it has been amazing to see his concentration improve as well as his speech and the fine motor skills needed for hand writing.
Next, we will have a sheet of words and pictures will have been muddled up. Whereas so many worksheets expect you to draw a line between the corresponding word and picture, we get the scissors and glue out. Cut out each word and picture and glue them back down together so that they match up.
Her response to this was:
“I love the fact that when you are asked to focus on something you address it from a completely different angle. It is so different to being in a classroom”.
I had never thought of it like this, but she’s right. Because I enjoy the lessons (who isn’t going to enjoy some colouring, cutting, gluing and chatter?) my enthusiasm rubs off. I can hear him when I arrive at the house shouting my name through the door.
He also dives into my bag and chooses what we are going to do. As he pulls out each activity he exclaims “Good job!”
He’s right I do have a good job. I love my job. Would I want to work in a classroom? No. “This is so different to being in a classroom”.