"Play is our brain's favourite way of learning." Diane Ackerman

There comes a time in every tutor's life when they realize that a student hasn't grasped anything that he or she has learnt in school nor is the student understanding the concepts and the knowledge that you are imparting during your tutorial lessons. The reason why certain students cannot grasp the information is because they just lack the focus to concentrate for long enough during traditional classroom lessons as well as during traditional type of tutorial lessons.

This lack of focus means that these children do not recall what was taught and may not be interested in the learning in the first place. Sometimes knowing that you spent an hour teaching a child who has grasped nothing can seem rather frustrating and it may make you want to pull all your hair out. Don't take this setback personally.

You may still be a really great tutor, the child may not be drawn to your teaching approach. This simply means that it's time to change your teaching style to adapt to the child's needs. There are many ways that you can do this. While a baseline assessment may help you see where the child's weaknesses lie, it's not the only strategy that you could employ. You could find out where a child's interest lies and work with that as a starting point.

You may want to pull your hair out
Teaching a child who doesn't seem to grasp what you are teaching may be frustrating but you can change this. Source: Unsplash

Another strategy that could be used to differentiate the way that you teach from that of the traditional classroom setting is the use of games during your hourly tutorial session. Incorporating educational games could be an effective tool to ensure that the learners who fall through the cracks in the normal schooling setting can succeed too. Almost every South African child that you speak to is being tutored and almost every teacher teaching in mainstream schools have started tutoring after hours as well. If you are keen on making an impression as a tutor and being able to compete with other tutors, you must include games in your lessons.

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Kids Learning Games that are Beneficial for Pre-Schoolers

"Children need to be taught how to think not what to think." Magaret Mead

If you tell parents that your tutoring strategy is to incorporate games into your lessons, they might take a step back and not even sign up for your tutorial lessons. Most parents are under the impression that online games are highly detrimental to the child's development.  You do need to ensure that you promote your tutorial approach well to secure students. Let parents know from the onset that using games could be a way of furthering learning and development. So what exactly does games do that are beneficial for all children (more so especially beneficial pre-schoolers)?

If we think about the tried and tested Montessori method, play is advocated as a way to get children curious about the learning process.

Most Superprof tutors are skilled in incorporating play into their weekly lessons. In fact, Superprof tutors are able to diversify their lessons for each and every one of their students. Having said that, playing games is essential to the learning process. If you need to convince parents that including play in your lessons is an ideal tool for learning, perhaps you need to understand how play can encourage learning. Play is beneficial specifically for children who suffer from attention deficit disorder. As a learning strategy, online games could be used to help these children learn when all else fails.

Throw away the pencils
Put away the pencils for a while and have the child play a game. This strategy may work just as well.                Source: Unsplash

If you let a very young child play a rather strategic game, he or she will be able to overcome all the hurdles in the game. This is because the child must think for himself or herself how to solve problems within the game and also complete levels. While it doesn't seem like these children who seem hopelessly engrossed in these games are not learning anything, they actually are. These kids are learning how to problem solve and this is a skill that will help them later on in subjects like mathematics and possibly even in Natural Science. The idea that all children need to know how to problem-solve is at the core of the CAPS curriculum. Games also increase the memory span of children. 

Many games such as matching games entail recall and the more the child has to recall while playing games, the easier it will be for him or her to recall when he or she has to memorize concepts in Social Sciences, History or Geography. Once you mention the benefits of learning through games, parents may be more enthusiastic about giving your tutorial strategy a try. Parents may even ask for progress reports so they can keep track of their child's progress and know if the gaming learning method is actually working for them.

Educational Games to Bridge Gaps in Understanding

"Playtime is precious. Play builds brain pathways for thinking, creativity, flexibility, empathy and many lifelong skills." - Heather Shumaker

While we have mentioned that games worked to teach Pre-school learners, you may think that providing private lessons for preschoolers is rather extreme. However, parents of preschoolers often think it may be the best strategy especially when they notice that their children are struggling with their phonics and fine motor skills from the onset. Working parents may also be unable to spend enough time fostering the ideal learning situation for their preschoolers. That is where you could come in so that you can create the optimal learning environment for these preschool children.

Think about your role as a tutor
You have to think about making learning fun for preschoolers if you are employed to tutor this age group.  Source: Unsplash

Then again you can step in as the tutor who bridges any literacy and numerical gaps that primary school children may experience. For primary school children, you can even encourage the use of mathematics apps and English apps for added enrichment. If children are learning alphabets and phonics at school, games like,  Teach Your Monster How to Read, can work well. You could also incorporate games like Mathletics into your weekly tutorial sessions. Mathletics is an educational maths game developed to align with South Africa's CAPS curriculum.

The reason why Mathletics was developed was to ensure that a love for learning maths could be fostered in all learners. Again for High School learners, there are tons of ways to make lessons more interactive. You could teach subjects like Maths and Science using a Smartboard. Smartboard for education allows you to incorporate awesome graphics and features to make your Maths and Science lessons more vivid and interesting. Here are some other strategies on how to make learning fun for your tuition students.

How to Make Class Fun for Students

"The purpose of a good education is to show you that there are three sides to a two-sided story." Stanley Fish

There are certain online apps that you can rely on to make your tutorial classes more fun.

Bring online apps to your class
Sift through all the online apps freely available to find the best ones. Source: Unsplash

If you are not as enthusiastic about relying solely on online methods to teach your subject to your students, you can also play ordinary games with your children during your breaks to keep learning interesting. There are many free printable games that you can find that will be fun to play with your students. You would be surprised at how much children enjoy good old fashioned paper-based word searches and crossroads.

A new idea is to create laminated worksheets so that children can write on the laminated worksheet and erase them so as to reinforce repetition. If you are teaching a high school literature class, perhaps consider having a movie day so that your students can watch their literature set work on the big screen. The more fun you make your lessons the more interested your children will be. In fact, your students may even start to believe that you are exceptionally keen on helping them to succeed. If your children feel that you are invested in them, they will be more willing to try their best in all aspects. We feel that you ought to keep learning fun so that:

  • Children can find learning enjoyable
  • To allow children to feel more relaxed than they would normally feel in the classroom
  • Encourage children to be more self-confident about their learning
  • Give children a sense of responsibility for their learning and get them to problem solve on their own

Other strategies could be to try as best as possible to relate the content that you are teaching to real-life situations. If you are teaching a class of students, ensure that you can encourage teamwork as best as possible. If you really want to step it up a notch, take the learning outside and make the learning more practical. For subjects like Science and Geography, it's important to incorporate hands-on learning approaches into your tutorial lessons.

Take learning outside
Get children to want to learn by making learning hands-on. Source: Unsplash

For the most part, children enjoy hearing anecdotes so tell them often. Do not ever just stand in front of your class and simply lecture. Make your lessons as interactive as possible. Talk to students and constantly through interaction and probing check if your students are actually paying attention or not. Lastly, think about it, you wouldn't like sitting still for 3 hours soaking up bits of information after information.

Therefore try to get your children to move during the lesson. Allow some movement while teaching. Teamwork could also encourage students. The idea is to create a fun learning environment. If you make your tuition classroom fun, children will become so engrossed in lessons that they will even forget that they are learning. You need to remember that children are coming for extra tutorial lessons because they are not getting stimulated enough in their normal classroom. Therefore make sure that you are constantly stimulating your tuition children.

Always remember: "When the atmosphere encourages learning, the learning is inevitable." -Elizabeth Foss

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Laila

Laila is an enthusiastic English educator and a fun-filled freelance writer. She has accomplished her dream of getting her first book published and has managed to write over 1 000 000 words since beginning her freelance career. In her free time, she is a travel blogger who explores all South Africa has to offer.