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Tutoring a teenager, tips

(7 Posts)
RedPandaMama Fri 24-Aug-18 23:24:28

I have a tutoring job starting next week. I've tutored others before but not from this particular age group.

Without disclosing too many details he's a young teenage boy with a mild-moderate learning difficulty along the lines of dyslexia wanting advice on becoming more confident and help with his English skills.

Any tips or exercises I could do with him? My experience in teaching has been with younger girls (age 6-8) and college age so this is quite new to me. I'm going to need to refresh myself with the year 8/9 curriculum as it was about 10 years ago I was doing it.

Any advice appreciated. Bit nervous as I really want to help him as much as possible, his mum is lovely.

OP’s posts: |
gingergingerginger Sat 25-Aug-18 08:48:45

I know it's not quite the same, but I 'tutored' my DS for his recent English GCSEs. He got 3s in his mocks and then, after my help (and his brilliant effort) got a 5 and a 6 in his exams.

My DS is mathsy and logical, so what really helped was knowing the papers inside out and breaking down answers into almost a set of instructions. Point, Evidence, Explain over and and over.

Another really useful exercise we did was taking the PEE method and applying it to a subject he was actually interested in. So, for example, if your tutee is really interested in football, get him to write a short essay about why one team is better than another using the PEE method.

RedPandaMama Sat 25-Aug-18 11:14:13

gingergingerginger thank you! That's really helpful.

OP’s posts: |
TeenTimesTwo Sat 25-Aug-18 14:50:26

My DD2 has just completed y8. She also has an English tutor as she struggles there too and my skills are more maths/science.

To be honest I think you need to get up to speed with the styles of questions in the new GCSE. A lot of work seems very tailored to these. e.g. Descriptive writing from a picture, or discussing the 'structure' of a piece of text. There are marks for content, but also 'technical accuracy' (i.e. SPaG).

My DD responds well to
- lots of encouragement
- tutor alternating reading out the passages with her (so she can listen without also having to read)
- tutor sometimes writing out the answers for her (so she can concentrate on content)
- passages selected to be based on her interests

Pythonesque Sun 26-Aug-18 16:23:54

I think the first thing to do is to work out where he is actually at now. Don't think in terms of "what is his school curriculum" - he can be taught that at school. In your first couple of sessions, talk to him about what he thinks he does well and what he thinks he finds most difficult. Check out the basics - get him to read something to you aloud, see if he can tell you what it is about, get him to copy out a passage, is his basic handwriting legible and a reasonable speed? Then get him to write out something to dictation and look over it for spelling and punctuation. Finally give him a starter for some spontaneous writing, perhaps a description or write some instructions.

From all that you should be able to agree some specific skills that you want to work on. I'd aim to incorporate curriculum-relevant stuff alongside more basic skills (as needed) in every session. And if you have identified particular weaknesses, think about doing stuff to compensate for those weaknesses when dealing with more advanced work. For example, my mother tutored a severely dyslexic adult through a health sciences diploma. A large chunk of their lessons was reading through textbooks aloud, discussing what she needed to put in her essays, and writing down a plan that she could use when writing them.

I absolutely agree with the need for positive praise. That's why I think identifying where his basic reading and writing skills are at will help, you can point out what he DOES do well, and also have a baseline that you can help him improve steadily from. That might be "you write beautifully even though it is slow" - if letters are well formed, even if the spelling is a problem. Or it might be "your writing stays on the line" - even if you can't read any of it. Good luck, hope you can make a difference!

TeenTimesTwo Sun 26-Aug-18 16:30:52

If you haven't done so, you need to check the ambition of the parent. I kind of assumed it was to pass GCSE, but it might be lower than that. I agree with what Python wrote as well.

RedPandaMama Sun 26-Aug-18 16:44:33

Thank you so much for the advice. Particularly you @Pythonesque those were exactly the kind of ideas I needed. smile

I'm so excited to meet him and his mum tomorrow. I really think I can make a difference. According to his mum the main issue seems to be that his low confidence hinders his English, so I'm thinking maybe spelling and handwriting will need some work, and definitely presentation and speech skills which I know are part of GCSE curriculum but we'll start slow.

OP’s posts: |

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