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Importance Of Education

Parental Tenacity – You Won’t Find a Better Example Than This

If you have a child with some kind of special learning need, it is important that you do not assume that the schools are automatically going to meet your child’s learning need. In an ideal world, you can expect that needs will automatically be met. But we all know that our world falls a little short of ideal. Sometimes it takes a little–or a lot–of extra tenacity on your part.
Almost 15 years ago I got a phone call from the mother of a 7th grade boy asking me to tutor her son in math. I wasn’t looking to take on any new tutor students, especially a student who wasn’t in high school. But this mother wouldn’t take NO as an answer. She stressed that she had checked on various tutor recommendations and wanted me to be her son’s tutor because he had some learning issues. I agreed to meet them and make my decision after that.
When they arrived at my home and came into my dining room, my tutoring room, my first impression was how little this young man was. I generally only tutor high school students, so this 7th grader seemed really little. And, then, he sat in his mother’s lap! That was a first for me! That image of this young boy sitting on his mother’s lap has stayed in my mind. It was so indicative of the affection this mother and child shared, and it was indicative of this mother’s intention to make sure her son was always comfortable and getting what he needed. As we talked it became obvious that she was a very tenacious lady. She stressed that it was obvious that her son had some kind of learning disability so math had always been difficult for him. His previous school experience had been that the school refused to test him. I couldn’t say no to either one of them.
I took on this little 7th grader at the beginning of that school year and we worked together until the end of his junior year of high school when he finished 2nd year Algebra and met his graduation requirements for math. But this article is really about his mother. During that 7th grade year, she pursued, she pushed, she demanded, and worked her way up the administrative channels until she managed to get her son tested. The results showed a very severe learning disability that qualified for special education help. So for the remainder of his middle school and high school years he had constant help with his reading and writing, and occasionally his SPED person would call me and we would discuss strategies for me to use. And his mother? She was on top of everything that happened. She frequently sat in on tutor sessions and took notes, so she could help her son with his math at home. Having a parent sit in on tutor sessions was also a first for me; but it proved to be very effective for her son. And she admitted that she learned a great deal of math herself.
During her son’s sophomore year she started looking into colleges. I think most people really thought her son would not be able to be successful in college. But his mother kept working and kept looking. She found several colleges that actually had SPED programs and would meet her son’s needs. They visited several different schools and made the decision on which school best met his needs. Her son continued to work with his SPED help at high school and he and I made sure he had his math requirements for college.
After he graduated from high school, I returned to full-time teaching and I lost touch with both of them. I thought about them frequently and wondered what happened to him. This past summer I received in the mail a letter with a picture of a very tall young man I didn’t even recognize. He was wearing a cap and gown. The letter, of course, was from his mother announcing that her son had graduated with his Master’s Degree! Her letter was sent as a thank you letter to all the people who had made her son’s success possible. Not only had her son grown very tall, he had also graduated with both his Bachelor’s Degree and his Master’s Degree, and he had been hired as a speech therapist to work with stroke victims–his way of “giving back” to all the people who helped him along the way.
I was thrilled to hear what all this young man had accomplished, and I felt honored to be included in the group of people who had made his success possible; but, of course, the person most responsible for his success is his mother. From the day they arrived at …

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Public Education

What Is “Differentiating The Curriculum”

A Differentiated curriculum provides students with different avenues to learning so they have access to a variety of processes to acquire knowledge of the content being taught. If children do not have the curriculum differentiated to meet their academic needs, they are likely to find difficulty in understanding or completing classwork and homework. However there is a flip side to the differentiation question. If a student requires academic challenges to meet their needs, it is essential they be given every opportunity to reach their potential.
Thus if a year five student is gifted and talented, the curriculum outcomes and activities are planned at a more challenging level than the average outcome for a year five student. Conversely, if a student demonstrates difficulties in their learning, outcomes and activities should be created to provide the student with success in their learning and an opportunity to fill some gaps they may have missed in previous years.
Examples of differentiating the curriculum are the Spelling and Reading groups that evolve in the junior years of school. These are determined by the abilities of each student in the class. Your child’s ability to handle a certain level of competency in these subjects, therefore determines their ability group level. This can also be the case with writing. For instance, a writing outcome for a Year Three group might be:
Writes complex sentences which are creative and demonstrate a solid understanding for the use of correct punctuation.
A higher achieving student may be expected to:
Write well structured complex sentences that use sophisticated vocabulary and a variety of punctuation.
Whereas a child who has difficulties with understanding the structure of writing may have a differentiated outcome that states:
Writes simple sentences with a capital letter at the beginning and a full stop at the end
The creation of a differentiated curriculum requires some pre-planning. It is important to find out what the students already know and their level of skill attainment. These types of pre-tests can provide valuable information about individual differences in ability within the class. The curriculum can then be adjusted accordingly where future lessons can be planned to accommodate higher order tasks for more able students and additional support for those who are struggling. For instance, during a reading lesson in Year Four more able groups can be given independent tasks such as comprehension or a written response activity while less able students work with the class teacher on strategies to read difficult words and to develop comprehension through explicit instruction from their teacher.
For the student who is struggling with a concept, the outcome must be adjusted so he/she can achieve at their level of ability. If understandings are evident, they will be ready to move to the next level with confidence. Imagine if you were expected to answer a Mathematics test on addition with trading when you have no idea how to trade. It would be much fairer for a student to have a test with questions they can achieve rather than a paper that show 0/10 as the grade.
Below is a very simple idea of the above notion using the Mathematics concept of addition.
(Can calculate vertical addition algorithms)
22 + 5 = 33 + 6 = 28 + 7 = 34 + 5
(Vertical addition without trading)
56 + 47 + 39 + 43 + 65 +
21 32 12 21 40
(Vertical addition with trading)
58 + 39 + 43 + 75 + 84 +
37 15 29 46 69
Differentiation does take time and effort and it is a craft that teachers are very competent at utilising in the general classroom. However it is often unrealistic to expect every lesson to be differentiated to the extent demonstrated above. Sometimes it may be a simple matter of the quantity of work to be achieved or the time expended on presenting a short talk to the class.
Teachers are professionals whose experience and knowledge of your child’s needs are met through the differentiation strategy. At times it may be necessary for your child to seek further assistance outside the school. This is always a matter for discussion with your child’s teacher in order to understand the specific areas your child can benefit in from such support.

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Primary Education

All About Soccer Drills

As we all know, soccer is the most popular sport in the world. Millions of people from all walks of life enjoy watching it because it is exciting. To master all skills of the game, it takes some effort and dedication from a player. There are a few drills that anyone can use to improve on his/her soccer skills. In fact, most of them are tailored with the amateur in mind.
Controlling the ball
To do this, one needs to have a partner and if not, a rebound board. Having control of the ball is very important because once one is able to take full control of the ball; he/she can be able to learn the next move. The player learning ball control spends time kicking the ball off the rebound board and trying as much as he/she can to control it when it comes back. The secret is using just one touch to kill the speed. Once one is able to control the ball effectively with the feet, it will also be possible to control it with other parts of the body like the chest and also the knees.
Passing the ball
This is another very important drill that each and every football player should know. This should be done by standing ten feet apart and trying to pass the ball to the next person. Once the ball arrives at one player, he/she should try to pass it to the next person as fast as possible. With more progress, the players can move further apart and continue with the drill until they become efficient. Both passing and controlling the ball are fundamentals and therefore each soccer player should be good at them.
Heading the ball
This drill requires two players and one ball. One player throws the ball into the air to the other player who heads it back. Both players should take chances to practice so that they both become good at it.
Dribbling the ball
This drill needs a few cones and a ball and it can be done by as many players as possible. The cones should be set out in a straight line approximately 4 or 5 feet apart. The players should take turns running with the ball between the cones and at the same time keeping the ball really close to the feet and under control. The players should increase on the speed so as to be able to perfect their dribbling skills because they are important when tackling opposition.
Once the players have perfected dribbling between the cones, it is important to set small opposition teams so as to be able to know how to get past another player. One player takes on a defender’s role and tries to stop the other. An area should be marked in which the players must remain. Any coach watching should from that point will get an idea of who are his/her best strikers and defenders too. The above drills are in most cases used on players who are beginning to play soccer. However, even advanced players in the game still use them for regular practice.…

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Higher Education

Tutoring for Students With Learning Disabilities

Helping Students with a Disability
Speaking from personal experience and having had 3 of my 4 children born with learning disabilities, I can share with you some tips and tricks as well as frustrations. I was always an A student and when I married and began having children, it never occurred to me that the daughters and sons of very intelligent, educated parents could be learning disabled. I have one daughter who excelled in school and another who struggled with math concepts from junior high and up. I have two sons, one of whom has severe ADHD coupled with learning disabilities and the other who has problems decoding words. All of my children are very bright and intelligent. That fact is very evident if you have a conversation with any of them. Helping students with a disability is the responsibility of the school, parents and other professionals in the community. Tutoring for students with learning disabilities is essential.
Tutoring for Students with Learning Disabilities
Children with learning disabilities deserve as much of an opportunity at success as those who don’t have them. Working diligently with teachers, counselors and other professionals in the community is a start, but getting your child in touch with a tutor can be a God send. You need to find a tutor who is very patient and creative to enable your child to succeed. Learning disabled children are as intelligent as other children and tutoring them is not much different than tutoring another child. LD kids have trouble demonstrating their “smarts” in the classroom because of some problem with their “hard wiring” that prevents the message from getting through the way it would get through to others. Their listening skills can be weak and they need more time to understand and complete their work. LD kids tend to be disorganized and “forget” either what they’ve been assigned or the books or papers they need to take home to complete assignments. Spelling can be a challenge for these kids as well. Students with learning disabilities tend to be able to express themselves better orally rather than in writing.
With a learning disabled child, their learning can be affected because of problems with attention span, memory, language skills, execution of what is learned, reasoning and perceptual/motor skills. These children learn best when they are taught with a multi-pronged approach, including visual, auditory, verbal and tactile opportunities. Tutors cannot “fix” the child, but can offer the opportunity to explore various styles of learning to allow the child to develop strategies to help themselves.
Results
As stated earlier, the tutor must be patient, but also positive and very supportive. It can be a learning curve for both the child and the tutor while exploring learning styles. It is crucial to keep the student involved and not spend too much time talking to him/her. By concentrating on processes rather than the end result, the child will eventually become accustomed to using the process and it will hopefully become automatic.
While you many find that results are slow, your child will make progress with a tutor who keeps your child very interactively involved with learning. You may notice after a while that you child no longer makes homework excuses and actually enjoys learning. A tutor can have a very positive impact on a child’s life, with great results like better grades and higher self-esteem. Results like these will influence your child’s life in all areas.…

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Higher Education

Online Tutoring An Effective Method of Tuition

In the online environment of tutoring, the students and tutor use computer and internet connection in this interactive method of tutoring. The evolution of internet has simplified almost every thing and new innovations are taking place every where in the world. Online tutoring is one of those innovations where one tutor can provide tuition to many students sitting in the different corners of the world with a huge difference in time, weather, climate and culture.
This type of distance learning methodology which uses the concept of virtual learning is convenient for the tutors who determine the pace of online learning and the number of the students. Since the inception of this revolutionary concept of online tutoring the researchers discovered the roles of the tutors in this distance learning. The roles they play are educational role, mentorship role, managerial role, social support and development role which also include technical support.
There is a difference between online tutoring and normal tuition. This is a different way of tutoring and resembles the conventional method of tutoring and keeps the learners always involved & interested in it. The interactive approach of learning is a fun and students learn easily and effectively at a very little time. The interactive tools are available online and can be easily used while providing online tutoring. One of the most popular tools available is online quiz which is easily affordable and makes the students interested if designed as a competition amongst them and it helps the students in mastering the subject they are learning. Some educational games which enhance their learning are also available online for every subject and they can also be downloaded and used.
The prime objective of any type of education online or conventional is to enable the students in lateral thinking, be creative and independent in learning. Online tutoring encourages the learners in finding solutions to their text book problems independently which maximizes their learning potential.…

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Higher Education

Tutoring Companies: The Stories Behind the Success

Many of the world’s most successful tutoring companies come from humble beginnings. This article looks at several of these companies and tells the stories behind their success in the tutoring business.
Kumon
Kumon may be the world’s most successful and well-known tutoring company, but it began with a high school math teacher trying to help his son.
Kumon’s story began in 1954 when founder Toru Kumon’s son came home with a poor score on his math test. Toru’s wife suggested that Toru begin helping their son. Toru who was a high school math teacher with 20 years of experience compiled worksheets that would take his son step by step from the easiest arithmetic to complex mathematics. Toru’s son made clear progress in the following year and Toru began allowing other children to use his worksheets – who also achieved impressive results.
The first Kumon Center opened in 1956 and 2 years later the Kumon Institute of Education was officially founded in Osaka, Japan. Through word of mouth the demand for the Kumon Method grew, new centers were opened up across the country and Kumon soon became Japan’s leading private education program. Kumon continued to expand by opening centers in other countries using a franchise model. As of 2009, over 4 million students were studying at more than 26,000 Kumon Centers in 46 countries.
Huntington
Huntington Learning Centers were one of the first tutoring centers for children in the United States and is now one of the largest tutoring companies in the country. Huntington Learning Centers were started by Dr Raymond and Eileen Huntington in 1977 after they saw a desperate need for tutoring centers to help children. Eileen was a high school teacher and noticed a large numbers of students who lacked basic study and reading skills. These students lagged further and further behind their classmates, unable to receive the attention they needed from teachers who were stretched thin because of large class sizes. The Huntingtons were looking for a business opportunity and, concluding that there was a market for supplemental educational services, decided to launch Huntington Learning Centers.
The Huntingtons left good-paying jobs and financed their business by selling everything they owned and relied on personal lines of credit. They scraped together enough money to rent 1,700 square feet of space in an office building and opened their first learning center. In 1978 they opened a second and by 1985 they had a 11 centers in New Jersey and one in Pennsylvania.
Huntington grew aggressively through the 1990s using a franchise model to expand and had 178 franchises in 2002 and is now one of the most successful tutoring companies in the United States.
Kaplan
Kaplan is a well-known test prep company based in the United States. The company is currently owned by the Washington Post Company, but its history goes back to 1938 when it was founded by Stanley H. Kaplan. Kaplan got his start by tutoring students for the New York State Regents Exam in the basement of his parent’s Brooklyn home.
Many of his students were from immigrant families eager to pursue higher education. Kaplan began adding more locations and his business continued to grow as American universities began relying more heavily on standardized tests to measure students’ potential. Test-makers claimed the exams were not coach-able, but Kaplan knew people could improve their scores with the right preparation. The company grew significantly in the 1990s by expanding its business and purchasing other test preparation and educational companies. It is now one of the leading test prep countries in America.
Kip McGrath
Kip McGrath is a household name in Australia, but the company was unknown for the most part when it started in the 1970s. The founders of the Company, Kip and Dugnija McGrath, opened their first Kip McGrath Education Centre in 1974 with the founding principle; “any child can learn if they are taught properly”. Over a very short period of time the McGraths opened six centers in the Hunter Valley and ran those centers successfully for ten years before selecting franchising as the method to expand their business.
Today Kip and Dugnija McGrath are still actively involved in the day-to-day running of the company and are members of the Board. They continue to support the franchise network with their extensive experience in both education and business operations. Kip McGrath now has 160 Australian centers that provide assistance in reading, spelling, comprehension, English and math.
Megastudy
Megastudy is a very young company, but is already the leading tutoring company in education-crazed South Korea. In the 1990s, Megastudy founder Son Joo-eun was a success in South Korea’s hyper-competitive business of preparing students for the national college entrance exam. He had an annual income of 720 million won – the equivalent of $573,000 today as a private tutor …

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Primary Education

Maths at School is Hard – Here’s Why

For most, the word “maths” will stir up feelings of irritation and letdown. A comment resembling “i was so bad at math” will most certainly emerge. Usually that’s the end of how much we think about maths. For some of us it is a different story. For some, the word “maths” stirs up feelings of pride and confidence in one’s abilities; an acknowledgment of just how much maths has helped us in life and how many opportunities for education and career it exposed us to. What a difference in perspective. Why does maths not click for so many?
Maths is rarely taught cooperatively – with partners, groups or teams. Yet to succeed at it, math requires a lot of discussion, feedback and reflection. Reflection in particular is important – unlike many subjects understanding of maths comes in layers and reflection is necessary.
Maths is rarely taught globally – with the big picture in mind. It is usually taught in small micro-chunks. Relationships between topics are neglected and concepts become too patchy to remember. Some topics are learned out of context, without their real value emphasised. Algebra is a prime example. Often taught as just another topic, algebra is so much more. If mathematics were a language then algebra would be its grammar, syntax and punctuation.
Maths is rarely taught with real world relevance. Theorems and formulas become more distant from a student’s life than they really are. Maths seems useless and students resort to memorizing maths instead of understanding it.
Maths is rarely taught proactively – with teachers encouraging lots of questions and a deep understanding. Teachers have strict guidelines, large classes and limited time. The result is many, many gaps in knowledge.
Most importantly, maths is never taught strategically with a focus on the learning skills required to succeed. Unknowingly students rely on memorizing rules and processes which simply does not work for maths. Those hard word problems that we all hated cannot be answered by remembering maths. Problem solving and lateral thinking are required – unfortunately they are not explicitly taught at school.
It is no surprise that many struggle with math but it does not need to be this way.
These are just a few ideas to ponder. If you want to succeed at math, you need to stop focussing solely on the content and start focusing on your learning strategy.
Students who start to learn maths the right way can often improve by 20-35% in just months. As grades improve, further study and career opportunities become available. Students can finally join the group for whom the word “maths” stirs up feelings of pride and confidence.…