"No significant learning can occur without a significant relationship." James Corner
How many tutoring centres have opened up in South Africa over the last few years? How many people have started tutoring children from their homes?
There has been a significant rise in the number of private tutors and the number of tutorial centres in South Africa over the last few years.
According to statistics derived from the propositions Manager at Old Mutual in 2018, it was found that public school parents could expect to pay anything between R50 000 to R60 000 per annum per school-going child. This estimated amount considered the cost of the added educational related expenses such as tuition fees. Almost every child goes for tuition. So perhaps you have decided that with such a lucrative market for the service, you would be able to tap into the tuition market too.
Give yourself a round of applause for thinking such a thought. However, before you even go about advertising your tuition services, think about what sets you apart from the rest of the tutors in your area who are providing the same service?
While you may have a solid grasp of the content that you plan on teaching, this is merely not enough. You need to make children want to come to you for learning. So while having content knowledge and problem-solving abilities are essential, you need to think about how you will keep your learners interested.
We are here to guide you to make your lessons both engaging and fun. Perhaps these tried and tested approaches and methods can get you a good review or two.
How to Make Lessons Fun and Engaging
"It's the little conversations that build the relationships and make an impact on each student." Robert John Meehan
To Make Lessons Engaging, Build Relationships with your Students
You would expect the tutor-tutee relationship to be built naturally but this is not always the case. Can you think about your favourite teacher in school? If you narrow down the list, there may be just one teacher who made a great impact on you and encouraged you to like a particular subject. The truth is that in the South African government schooling situation, there is not enough time for the teachers to bond with each and every student within their classrooms. With 50 or more children filling one classroom, the relationships are such that students are just names and surnames on a page.
This is where you come in, you need to formulate a special relationship with your students. You can motivate your students to engage with the content by showing them that you are interested in them. When a student knows that you are interested in their development, they sort of try to impress you. Again you need to inculcate a love within your students for the understanding of subject matter. Remind your students that they are not learning a certain subject just to get good grades but that they are actually learning to truly have a sound understanding of the subject matter. This may make them want to learn.
Positive teacher-student relations are often associated with socio-emotional learning. If we tap into socio-emotional learning, we see that students who are in tune with their emotions have no difficulty learning. Socio-emotional learning coincides with mental cognition and also helps students reach their maximum learning potential. Children who cannot form social relations and often allow their emotions to interfere with their ability to learn. You want to make sure that while tutoring, you make sure that you teach your children to become responsible for their own decision making and beings who are able to regulate their own feelings.
To make lessons fun, consider a blended learning approach
Blended learning is the amalgamation of traditional classroom learning with online learning. Students in today's day and age want something different. They get bored of the traditional style of learning that all too often occurs within the four walls of their classrooms. While parents may shy away from the idea that having fun equals learning, children do learn better through unstructured activities like play.
The Play Sense curriculum is an internationally recognised curriculum that has been structured in such a way that play is considered to be a central element for learning (especially for children who are very young). So while we can't expect you to structure your tuition sessions as free play sessions, we do want you to remember to make your sessions far more fun in order to ensure that your children learn.
Aside from Play Sense, the Montessori approach also proves that at certain times the rigid learning methodology as prescribed by the Department of Basic Education does not prove to be fruitful. In these cases, you must introduce an alternative and more fun approach to learning. Try to use various online learning applications to make learning more enjoyable.
The reason why Kip McGrath educational programs are believed to work is that at the Kip McGrath headquarters they do not take a once size fits all approach. It is upon this idea that you need to base your lessons on. If a particular student enjoys using a tablet, make sure that you download an application on his or her tablet that will stimulate learning in the subject. Perhaps another student particular enjoys watching Youtube videos. Source a Youtube video base on the topic that you are teaching and let the child become totally engrossed in the video. By doing something that he or she enjoys (watching a Youtube video), he or she will enjoy learning about the new concept in a way that's familiar to him or her.
What are some educational tools that you as a tutor could use to make your classes more fun?
- Incorporate a ThinkLink into your lesson. ThinkLink is an award-winning technological website that enables teachers to augment virtual reality into their lessons. The beauty part is that teachers can create their own ThinkLinks so in this way you can create a video tour for your students for every lesson
- Edupuzzle is another beautiful site that enables you to make every video lesson interactive. These interactive Edupuzzles are also ways for you to track your students' understanding of the subject matter.
How to Make Online Learning more Fun
While you may be keen to incorporate online learning games into your classes, you must remember that you need to motivate your students to want to learn using online media.
The truth is that online platforms have made it possible not only to connect with your students but with their parents too. Give your students the chance to showcase their learning by enabling them to create digital portfolios to showcase what they have learnt. This will be especially helpful if you are teaching subjects like Natural Science and Technology, Chemistry and Physics. Having your students create their own portfolios is one way to make your students more enthusiastic about using these applications for learning as they know that both their tutor and parents are invested in their learning. Again when children know they have the support of their parents and teachers, they are more emotionally equipped to want to learn.
Although the application is a paid-for application, the Class Dojo app allows students to build online portfolios.
Learning Through Play
If we revisit ideas discussed by Play Sense teachers as well as ideas instilled through the Montessori method, you will realise that children inevitably learn through play. During play, children's brains do form connections and these connection signify that children are learning. If you want to cultivate an environment where your students feel like coming back every week, you must include elements of play into your lesson. Set aside a closing 10 minutes where students just play games based on what they learnt.
Good old fashioned games like Hang Man may very well work to reinforce the English spelling and vocabulary learnt but you can always alternate normal games by adding a fun twist. After teaching parts of speech, make it a Hang Man rule that if a students guess a word correctly but do not know which part of speech the word is, the student gets automatically fully hanged. You must make learning as fun as possible. A student who gets the part of speech verbs wrong will tend to remember the concept of verbs for life thereafter after being hanged in the game.
You can also use certain games that have already been developed as a way to further enhance learning. Girltivity boxes teach young girls all about STEM. You could subscribe to these boxes as this would be an excellent resource to have particularly if you are teaching science lessons to primary school girls. It may even get your students more enthusiastic about learning science and may help in getting girl students to value learning science. While topics covered in Girltivity boxes may differ slightly from the scientific theories covered in the classroom and in the CAPS curriculum, it may encourage your students to research more about the topics that they are learning about on their own and boost their general knowledge about the subject too.
It surely is not necessary for you to develop your own games for your students. There are many online games that have been created based on research and these can simply be used in your lesson. The purpose of using games during your tuition sessions is so that you can make the learning process fun.
Being slightly experimental in terms of how you teach can prove to be fun for both yourself and your students. These tools can also be effective when teaching children who are not particularly coping well with learning at school. You want your students to ultimately come out of your lessons feeling like they actually learnt something. If one of your students feels positive about his or her learning experience, he or she will be willing to tell his or her parents all about it. This will automatically cause you to receive a wonderful recommendation from parents of students that you teach.
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