Tutor Time!

PATHWAY
Community: Service
AGE GROUP
14-16 years
Anticipate Time
240: 4 or more hours min
GROUP SIZE
2-5, 5-15, 15-30
Values
Enthusiasm, Patience, Reliability, Respect, Thoroughness

Synopsis

Participants offer a complimentary tutoring service to a child or small group of children for five one hour sessions.

Through participation in this Pursuit, the Pathfinder will:

  1. Plan and implement an appropriate ‘program’
  2. Identify ways of explaining concepts and processes
  3. Identify and use language which encourages and builds up

Scripture Focus

Memory Verse

Ephesians 4: 29
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

“Surprisingly, the skills of the top teachers are secondary. What’s primary is the person behind the skills. Many skilful teachers fail with their students because they forget that 90% of what the students learn is NOT in the curriculum. Students learn about life not by what you teach, but by who you are. Your students need, more than anything else, your love… and your commitment to their potential. If you teach out of a conviction that every one of your students is a ‘possibility’ awaiting the discovery of their gifts, brilliance and humanity, they’ll show it up for you.” 1
And your Pathfinders are VERY able to convey these messages!

I am a vessel that God can use to dispel the discouragement that comes with failure. I can be a powerful tool in building others’ confidence in themselves. I can use this gift to inspire success.

Preperation

  1. Decide on a skill at which you are quite proficient, and be prepared to ‘instruct’ the Pathfinders in the skill. Be prepared to be quite rushed and demanding with this.
  2. Invite an adult tutor or teacher to come and share some teaching strategies with the Pathfinders.
  3. Once the Pathfinder tutor is aware of what needs to be learned, they will need to plan games and activities to reinforce that skill / drill area.
  4. Have your video camera batteries charged

NB. It is vitally important to not try and accomplish too much with this Pursuit. There are only five tutoring sessions. If they learn one thing well, you have won. Many children struggle because they have missed certain skills in the classroom setting. Having the opportunity to have one on one attention can make all the difference to them, their progress and their feelings of self esteem. This Pursuit will take perseverance and steadfastness. Pathfinders may be inclined to give up after a few sessions. Encourage them to keep at it till the end.

Materials:
  • Materials will be dependent on the age of the student and the subject matter to be explored. Close liaison with a teacher or tutor will shed light on what strategies would be most helpful.
  • Video camera and TV for viewing the video.

Outline

1. Choose a skill at which you are proficient, and, without much instruction, ask your group of Pathfinders to do it. Be quite demanding in your expectations. When they are floundering with their performance, stop the activity and ask the following questions:

  • How did you feel while you were completing the task I had set?
  • What did you feel about me as the leader? What did you feel about yourself when you knew you weren’t getting it?
  • What would happen if, every day, you were confronted with activities which were difficult for you?
  • What would happen to your feelings about learning?
  • What would happen to your feelings about yourself?

Explain that some children go through life with the feelings they just experienced. Tell them how the most common cause of inadequate performance is lack of skill. Skills are acquired through practice (Some simply need more practice than others). By focusing on strengths and assets, and by offering opportunities for practice in a fun, relaxed, safe atmosphere, a tutor can provide motivation for a student to practice and improve. Success can then be experienced. 
Tell the Pathfinders that they are going to be given the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life. They will tutor a child for five one-hour sessions and help them learn a skill they have missed.

Participants need to select a child and be aware of their age and subject area need. Most subjects will invariably require the reinforcement of basic facts. Learning games are an effective way of reinforcing these facts in a positive, enthusiastic environment. Invite a teacher or tutor to share with the groups some time-tested winning strategies for drilling the basics: tables, number facts, alphabet letters, sight words, phonic family words, spelling words etc. Invariably, it will be these type of things that will need to be drilled.

2. A short term goal needs to be established with the student. For younger children, talk about these in general terms, for older students, the following questions could be asked:

  • What short term goal do you have in this subject? (To learn to spell 50 list words)
  • When will this goal be reached? (By the end of the month)
  • Write down some daily activities which will help you achieve your short term goal. (Play the games given to me, Do Look/Say/Write/Cover/Write/Check with each word)
  • List the most important obstacles that might stop you from reaching your goal. (Too much TV)

3. Tell the group that you are going to do some old fashioned drill, just to get them in the way of ‘school learning’. Proceed to give them a series of tables to answer. Ask for hands up and choose random Pathfinders to give the answer. NB. CHOOSE TWO PATHFINDERS IN YOUR MIND AND DO NOT CALL ON THEM FOR ANY ANSWERS. Video this session. Notice what happens to the enthusiasm and demeanour of the two that are not getting chosen with their answers. 

4. When the session is finished, play the video of what they just did. Before playing it, explain how you intentionally ignored two individuals, and ask the group to notice what happens to their effort.

5. Make the point that self esteem and saying something positive when they get the correct answer is very significant in the learning process. Say: More important than the subject matter will be your relationship with the student. As a tutor, you will need to be aware of the power of the following truths:

  1. Your student will need your love, and your commitment to their potential. (How can you show this?)
  2. They need to feel valuable and important. Show them that you care about them. (Look into their eyes often!)
  3. Remember “Cognitive (brain) learning increases when self-concept increases” 4
  4. Place value on the child as he / she is.
  5. Win the child’s confidence.
  6. Give recognition for effort. The younger the child, the more tangible the recognition should be. (ie. Stickers etc)
  7. Focus on strengths not failures.
  8. Use the interests of the child to improve teaching.
  9. Arrange opportunities for success.
  10. Help them to talk about negative experiences in a positive way.
  11. Communicate your stubborn belief in their ability and success. 1

Say: “Your success as a (Tutor) is more dependent on positive, caring, trustworthy relationships than on any skill, idea, tip or technique.” 2

6. State how it will be vitally important to make planning and progress notes in their Journals. Traditional teaching methods of: pre-test; teach; review; post-test, can be used to measure the success of the instruction or total tutoring time. The use of standardised tests, if available from your adult assistant, will help greatly in measuring the progress made by your student in an objective way. 

7. Encourage them along the way with phone calls and support during the next few weeks to help them maintain enthusiasm. Debrief after all participants have completed their five sessions. (If the project seems to daunting solo, they may like to work in pairs to complete the Pursuit requirements.)

Debrief

Leaders, be sure to follow up on discussing when and how the Pathfinders saw the memory text in action throughout this Pursuit. 
Select from the questions below:
Reflection

  • Was the Pursuit harder or easier than you thought?
  • Where did your greatest challenge lie?
  • What words would you use to describe the response of your student?
  • What words describe your feelings having completed the Pursuit?
  • Which personal skills were really tested in this Pursuit?
  • How have you grown now that you have done this Pursuit?

Interpretation

  • What have you learned about children?
  • What was the most rewarding moment during this Pursuit?
  • What have you learned about how to show patience through this Pursuit?
  • What have you learned about what praise can do to someone?
  • Say something about trust and how it relates to this Pursuit.
  • Say something about respect and how it relates to this Pursuit.

Application

  • How can what you learned be transferred to other areas of your life? Which areas?

Commitment

  • Consider your attitude to people who don’t know all that you know or understand. Does it need improvement? Write a paragraph in your Journal about what you will improve.

Appendix

Standardised Reading Tests would be helpful, but are not compulsory. Teachers should have access to a number of these tests.
1. “Superteaching: Master Strategies for Building Student Success” by Eric Jensen (1988) Del Mar, California: Turning point for Teachers
2 Ibid