May 31, 2018
A full day at school can take a toll on a student’s ability to return to the books for their tutoring session. Fortunately, there are many creative and energizing ways to motivate your students.
Tutors don’t have the luxury of choosing any time of day to tutor. For school-aged clients, tutoring sessions need to fall outside of school hours, which in practical terms means after-school or weekend sessions.
In both cases, tutors may find their students needing a boost of energy (and probably enthusiasm, too).
While there’s no guarantee that hitting the books after a long day at school can be fun, tutors can follow these 5 tips to make after-school sessions more productive and interesting for their students:
1. First, cover the basics
It’s mid- or late afternoon and you’re meeting your student after-school. Chances are they’re well between lunch and dinner, too.
Make sure your student is well-fed and hydrated before your tutoring session. Not only does eating and drinking enough water keep our bodies healthy and balanced, there’s also a strong link between good diet and academic success.
It’s just as important that your sessions take place in a comfortable environment. After all, your student spent most of their day in and out of classrooms; ensure the place you tutor has adequate light and space and isn’t too noisy or distracting.
2. Keep things moving
Mobility is key. If your student gets restless, take a quick break. A few minutes spent away from the books are a great way to decompress and refocus the mind.
Some light exercise can be reinvigorating, too. Have your student do 10 jumping jacks – or another form of light cardio – to get the blood and creative juices flowing.
Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the many other ways tutors can help students unwind and manage the extra study time productively.
3. Put those early minutes to good use
The first few minutes of your tutoring session set the pace and expectations for the rest of the session.
Develop techniques to kick off your tutoring session the right way.
For example, before the lesson starts, pose a set of thematic questions to your student that you’ll return to at the end. Or provide an illustration, graph, or other visual that graphically sums up the lesson, and have your student reflect on how it connects to the lesson.
4. Make it personal
It’s useful to build on your working relationship with your student, too. Yes, you’re another adult, but unlike school teachers who have to manage dozens of students in the same classroom, your bond, like your lesson plan, is far more personalized.
Get to know your student to help make them feel more relaxed. Start off the session asking simple questions about their day, or what they did during their weekend, or their favorite TV show.
5. Get creative in your lessons
Tutors also have greater leeway than their school counterparts in making use of material and time to deliver more engaging, targeted lessons.
If appropriate, adapt your lesson plans to increase your student’s interest and focus. The more the lesson plan fits your student’s learning style – for instance, incorporating music for an auditory learner – the more likely your student can stay focused and engaged.
Whether it’s getting the heart pumping or cultivating a space for open minds and well-fed and hydrated bodies, the bottom line is to put your student’s individual needs first. So, start exploring valuable methods to transition your students from their after-school reprieve to a productive, personalized learning session.