Does tutoring, extra help and extra work make a child smarter?

(61 Posts)
mam29 Tue 21-Aug-12 14:26:35

regardless of age I wonder due to lots thread here and real life.

my daughters freind goes to infant school-with a no homework policy-it feeds into a junior that does better in sats than our dds primary which has lots of homework from reception up.

a few schools round here have varying homework levels and varying results.

I know a few people who do loads extra at home.
I have done a little extra with dd on subjects shes struggling with.

private schools-have smaller classes so therefore do they get extra help and better education due to class being small?

Im on a usa education forum and theres a lot of parents over there who do afterschool education in classical subjects like latin and extra maths ect.

Some kids will be just be born clever.

Others need to work at it.

other kids late bloomer-clicks later

some kids need extra help.

at gcse/alevel we widly encourage our kids to try best, work hard aim for good grades.

but pre that if someone mentions

they doing extra then they considered as pushy.

looking at entrance tests for grammer and independants at 11+ and the common entrance exam at 13 -it appears that they need lots of additional help with that to get up to required standard, especially if in state and dident go to prep.

but we accept the extra work then as its purpose is to get them into good senior school and hopefully bright future.

but if a child goes through state school with large classes will they always be at disadvantage. .

does doing the extra =good results?

overthemill Tue 21-Aug-12 14:32:04

it doesn't make you 'smarter' if by that you mean more intelligent but it probably will improve chances of not missing out. i tutor sometimes and tend to do so for kids whose parents worry they are missing out on individual attention at school. I also do exam subjects for those who need a 'boost' (or whose schools stop mid a level providing a subject!) But a decent school should give most children a chance

mermaidbutmytailfelloff Tue 21-Aug-12 14:36:26

My DS1 had English tutoring, for GCSE. It was all confidence building stuff, he is dyslexic and believed he would fail iyswim. He got a B which was amazing. So...it didn't make him smarter, he just thought he was...and then showed it.

mam29 Tue 21-Aug-12 15:03:20

thanks for input guys.

I do wonder sometimes if we teach to test.

I read about schools coaching for year 2sats

Recently tok dd to museum and she couldent name hardly any dinosaurs yet did whole topic on it last year

she either has goldish brain and dident find it very interesting

ot they just skimmed the topic?

yet she can watch a nature programme and come to me all knowlegable an exited telling me about it.

I can remember some topics at school and its been a long time!

I know for sure tutoring helped me pass gcse french as in my mocks got a e and was predicted an e. my cousins wife was french teaher I got a c and many years later survived honeymoon in paris with my limited but quite crap french.

my freind had maths tutor paid but still failed her maths gcse.

A couple people on my year has private tutors in latin or music to earn them an extra gcse.

Think we sat 10 at the time so astounded in papers when read someones has 14-16 and wonder how hell do they fit it all in same with alevels some acheiving 5-6 when most in our 6th form did 2-3 not including general studies.

When I went to school the top groups got lost of attention but always felt there were people in middle or bottom that fell by the wayside that could have been raised higher.

Of course schools are fixated with testing due to league tables.

With such large classes can we really expect it all to get done at school?

agree with the confidence thing or what they call in education does the child feel secure in that subject.

My dd hates maths and does better with one to one, lots patiance and time . trying to enthuse her this holiday.

MissBoPeep Tue 21-Aug-12 19:54:53

I don't really understand your question. What do you want to know?

You can possibly help a child become better in a subject- if they have the innate ability- but you can't make an "average child" into a genius, no matter how much extra input they have.

Takver Tue 21-Aug-12 20:26:33

Its a really interesting question, though I think you'd have to push your starting age right back pretty much to birth.

IMO it's not so much tutoring/extra work at primary age, but all the things before then; exposure to wide vocabulary early in life, lots of interesting experiences, being read to loads etc etc etc. Its a bit like the families where all the members are incredibly musical, have perfect pitch etc. Are they born like that or is it constant exposure to music from day 1 (or indeed in the womb), people commenting when something is out of tune, et al.

I'm really dubious about 'innate ability' as such, though of course its so hard to disentangle - I guess separated twin studies are the only way?

MissBoPeep Tue 21-Aug-12 20:32:21

Nature v nurture.

Age old argument and even the experts can't agree. Hans Eysenk used to say 75% nature- then lots of people disagreed.

However- look at Olympians- Mo Farah- his twin brother was also a great runner but Mo received the training. Nature- and a bit of nurture?

mam29 Tue 21-Aug-12 20:56:13

I ask as read some threads who say kids are coached to get into grammer ie pass the test but once in the school struggle with adademic levlel.

Then theres hidden talents-remember head master in assembly saying every ones good at least 1things- confidence booster I guess.

there was programme few months back think was c4 with Richard bacon where they went round uk testing people for potential in areas ones that stuck out were nurse trained in rock climbing and 1 young boy learnt fluent arabic in 6months as he had innate ability for languages he never realised.

Eldest went to nursery from 11months as went back work full time I think thats why shes so vocal and opionated now.

There are early year grants for 2years olds if parental income low as good preschool can be a leveler when they all start school.

A child may have a ability for sport or music but never realise their potential as were never given the opportunity ie parents couldent afford the music lessons or school dident offer much in way of sport.

Education can open doors if life to higher ed and jobs market.

my cousin has non identical twin boys and they different ones really into sport and good at it the other ones not.

we do seem too see quite a few sibling althletes/tennis players I always assume they must come from active families.

of course we can work hard to improve. at 32 given up being a genius think lost few cells per child.

A lot on mumsnet is about in equality of the uk education system and social mobility and income thrown in.

wondering how do we combat that for our children?

I think one to one-smaller groups more attention
greater opportunities to try new things and go places
extra work for gifted child is know as enrichment stretch their talent.
extra work when child is struggling helps them keep up and not fall behind.

JeuxDEnfants Tue 21-Aug-12 21:00:04

Practice makes perfect. Brains have plasticity and using them develops them...trade off is what else the child could be using their brain for...

LackingNameChangeInspiration Tue 21-Aug-12 21:06:42

I think the english school system streams kids down, they prefer to tell them that they are not capable of more and stream them into something they're told they can do then to let them try for something harder and risk them failing

its horrible IMO, When I went to school we were pretty much told it was down to effort! none of us were told that we needed to be born with a god given flair for history or french or maths etc, everyone had the option of trying if they wanted to, for say higher maths we were told that it was very hard, but if anyone wanted to put in the hard work they were welcome to give it a try

of course doing extra = better results, in everything in life! what on earth are we teaching kids here in the UK with the way they're told that if they aren't amazing at something RIGHT NOW they shouldn't try to learn or improve it in the future as they obviously haven't "got it"

Takver Tue 21-Aug-12 21:18:27

That sounds excellent, lacking. Where did you go to school?

mam29 Tue 21-Aug-12 21:27:16

I went to school pre league tables and pre sats.

one could say these tools help the parent.

but think its been damaging to the kids and the schools themselves.

schools would say put child in for higher maths as would skew their results and make them look bad.

Is it a co-oincidence that my step son whos not very academic before has just picked his options for gcse

hes in for foundation so highest grade c

gcse-art
pe
gnvq in travel and tourism-suppost to be equivilant to 4gcses

I expect many kids are shoehorned into topics they dont want to do.

also suspect the extra curricular arts, musics, sports probably goes by wayside as they fixated with the academic subject

my dds school does no after school clubs.
she does do gym and cheer leading but thats private, paid by me away from the school shes getting quite good at it as had to chuckle at school report she shows good fluency,balance and sequenced routine like it was down to them not the 4years of lessons since she was 3.

I think I could have been good at gym and dance as pe teacher said i showed promise but coming from single parent family wasent an option.

Im in favour of anything that works up levels and badges as gives them incentives to get better.

not every child can be super academic but could excel.

fil was a carpenter. but my dh never did woodwork at school.
But the gifts not passed on hes rubbish at diy and cant build flat pack.His mum went grammer and was secretary. his add no qualifications apprentice and trades person yet his dad taught him and his brother chess and took them all over for chess competitions.Hes also inherited his dads love of gardening.

So many jobs are service sector and very few highly skilled vocational jobs out there which is a shame.
Some professions will always be dominated by upper and middle classes and people who went private politics, media, law and medicine.

I do think we have bit negative non competative outlook in uk why we linger at bottom of world tables.

Theres so many proffessions kids may not get exited about engineering. one very bright lad did actuary as remember in 6th form think crikey whats that-specific type of accountancy.
he came from very academic family both parents were doctors and both him and his sister got amazing grades although not too active social life.

Now uni fees are so high people asking if its worth it will humanities suffer badly?

Uks appaling at modern languages as everyone else speaks english.yet go on hols and have guide who can speak 6languages fluently just blew me away.

Do private school pupils do better because

they had small classes
longer hours
wide range of opportunities/subjects

or is its because they

more confident and aspirational?

rabbitstew Tue 21-Aug-12 21:32:22

Extra help and work can help make you better educated. It doesn't stop the fact that some children need lots of extra help and work to get to the same point as other children who didn't need the extra help. Also, what is work for one child is fun for another. If you are naturally reasonably good at something and find it fun, you aren't going to notice how much effort you put into it - just compare the children who run up and down the hockey pitch enjoying the experience with those who stare at the ball, looking miserable and noticing how uncomfortable it is for them to be sweaty and out of breath and checking how much longer the lesson will last. Also, some people find something they perceive to be effortful more irksome than others do - some can keep the desired end goal in mind to motivate them and others begin to wonder rather sooner whether they really wanted to meet that goal at all and whether they really are capable. I do think that the experience of working hard for something, pushing yourself a bit further than is comfortable for you and achieving your aim creates a virtuous circle, though - if you have gone through the pain barrier several times before and have realised that your aims were achievable, rather than letting yourself give up (or others letting you give up without trying to encourage you to try a bit harder, first), then you will gain a bit of extra resilience each time you set your mind to something and may be more likely to set yourself challenges in future, because you begin to enjoy the experience of achievement. Having a parent or someone who knows you well to set you realistic goals can help you build up the required resilience (or, of course, set you back by getting it wrong and demanding too much).

In a way, despite all the talk about competition being a good thing and there not being enough of it in state schools in this country, I think there is too much of a focus on being the best or just not bothering, which is how some people react to competition. The focus should be on being the best that you can be, because it makes you feel good about yourself, not on being better than everyone else in the class and then giving up, or giving up before you've started because you know you'll never be the best unless you can con everyone else into not bothering themselves.

Munashe Tue 21-Aug-12 21:34:53

Read the following books and make up your mind

Outliers - M Gladwell
Talent Code - D Coyle
Bounce - M Syed

You can borrow some of these from the local library.

mam29 Tue 21-Aug-12 21:41:24

I guess majority of us fall in the middle.

In my comp teachers streamed and had people written off into bottom sets.

those who tried hard to get moved up a set then got picked on as swot as their work ethic meant chucking stuff round classroom and skiving.

no surprise my d in geography as was always fights in our class and teacher frogmarching lad to heads office. very little teaching.

pe wasent set so swimming was mostly standing most lesson standing by side of pool add into changing time very little sport done.

how do you instil right culture and work ethic in child if their school is dire?

WolfinaRedCloak Tue 21-Aug-12 21:57:43

I've found it much more productive to follow their lead and arrange additional activities which will interest them as well as widen their knowledge. Ds1 is registered as gifted in Maths and Science, has always shown a gift in those areas since being 18 months, but for love nor money can you get him to do English homework and Art activities, yet he salivates on the spot if you produce a Maths sheet. You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make them drink. He is only 8 and I've ignored all the 'advice' on enrichment activities, he will only have one childhood, he does damn well for his age, I will follow his lead it has worked well up till now.

I would rather he spent the extra time and money doing physical activities, playing in the park, riding his bike, being a kid. Diet, exercise and sleep can have an impact on mental ability. A well looked after mind will perform better. Depression and stress can also have an impact. I concentrate my efforts on keeping him healthy and happy.

My sister on the other hand has various learning difficulties inc dyslexia and dyspraxia , struggled though school, failed her gcse's. She finally got the help she needed at college whilst retaking her exams. She has since graduated with a 2:1 in English Language and is saving to do a Masters. Based on this I would let them live their childhood, if they want to they can work on their education at a later stage when they are more mature and better equipped to deal with the stress.

LackingNameChangeInspiration Wed 22-Aug-12 10:47:25

Takver, Ireland: everyone gets to attempt most subjects at whatever level you choose up to A Level

I had class mates who did poorly at GCSE level who were allowed to do the same A Levels as the rest of us and many of them did better at A Level than those of us who did great at GCSE - I firmly believe that you cannot tell how someone will do at 18 when they are 15! or even younger!

E.g. my best friend and I: I did sod all work for my GCSEs and did fab! lulled me into a bit of a false sense of security so I didn't break my balls over A Levels - still got very decent A levels but not as many As as I got at GCSE, Best friend did fine but not great at GCSE, she was allowed to take same A Levels as me, the diseappointment at GCSE motivated her and she was in studying for A levels every evening and god bloomin amazing A Levels!

so which of us had this "natural ability" huh? in the english school system it would be me, and they'ld never be proved wrong about my best mate as she would have been streamed down to less academic subjects!

LackingNameChangeInspiration Wed 22-Aug-12 10:51:09

"Do private school pupils do better because

they had small classes
longer hours
wide range of opportunities/subjects

or is its because they

more confident and aspirational?"

IMO the latter! definitely the latter! didn't have small class sizes at my school but there was a culture of being academic and none of us were told we couldn't do anything! My class mates are mostly university graduates (many red brick) in good professional jobs

LackingNameChangeInspiration Wed 22-Aug-12 10:53:49

I'm quite frightened of sending DS into the English school system actually - who the fuck are they to tell him what he CAN'T do at a young age - what are they psychic! I don't want him streamed out of all his options!

DH was told he couldn't and wasn't bright (english state school), his parents told them they were wrong and sent him private - yes class sizes were smaller but the main difference was being told he COULD! he now has a masters and is in the kind of job he was told he could never do at state school

unfortunatly he was an only child so his parents managed to scrimp the fees together, but we're expecting DC 2 so its a massive worry for me

LackingNameChangeInspiration Wed 22-Aug-12 10:56:04

oh and back to the example of me and my best friend (the one who would have been streamed down early on if in the English system) - yeah she got a first! I got the 2:1. I was the "bright" one in primary and GCSE years! she was considered not so bright back then!

LackingNameChangeInspiration Wed 22-Aug-12 10:56:26

and hers was from a red brick, mine ex-poly

RosemaryandThyme Wed 22-Aug-12 15:02:04

Yes you can make a child more intelligent (score higher on IQ tests, Gutheri Assessments etc_) by deliberately "teaching" them, by parents at home or through a paid provider.
The idea that intelligence is set at conception and can not be either enhanced or reduced is utter nonsense.
There are copious research articles showing how intelligence by a wide variety of measures increases the more a child is taught - what is less clear is which way of teaching is ideal for which child - when that is cracked children absorb and recall knowledge and can expand and adapt concepts at an incredible rate, often leading people to presume they are inherently super-bright -0 a tiny proportion of children are, the majority of bright children are simply taught at a pace and in a way that is motivational for them.

MissBoPeep Wed 22-Aug-12 17:40:27

Are you saying R&T that children can increase their IQ with no top limit?
I don't think so.
Practise at IQ tests helps achievement in those tests, but only by a small percentage- it doesn't keep rising up and up.
Practise doesn't make the child more intelligent- it shows them how to use their intelligence and problem solving skills to answer those types of questions, by a small margin.
I really disagree that a teaching style is the key factor in enabling children to achieve highly or not.
How would you explain the difference for example in yr 7 CATS tests between children who'd had the same teaching throughout primary school- just as one example?

bowerbird Wed 22-Aug-12 19:09:40

R&T you are so right. There is so much that can be achieved with effort. Just as an example, I'm involved with music education, and time and again, I come up against this idea that kids must be "talented" before taking lessons. My experience is that almost all children, with practise and hard work, can become accomplished musicians. Yes there are geniuses, but they are rare. Most successful professional musicians are not geniuses. They've just worked hard, and had years of practice.

CecilyP Wed 22-Aug-12 19:22:07

No practice in IQ tests can definitely increase your scores in IQ tests. And by far more than a small percentage. However that does not make you more intelligent - it merely invalidates the test.

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