One-to-one teaching is a wonderful opportunity. It is completely different from learning in a class. The work covered is tailored to that individual, in that moment. After assessing their personal learning style, I can explain things in a way that they can grasp as quickly as possible.
As a team, we can cover a fantastic amount of work in a very short time. I will always say if no more tuition is needed – it is my goal to empower the person so that they can cope on their own and thereby get a real sense of achievement. I don’t believe in pointless repetition and usually do most of the writing myself so that we can cover as much as possible.
I teach maths to A Level, science to IGCSE, Maths 13+ Scholarship, 13+ Common Entrance, 11+ pre-tests and reading. I also offer supervised revision and past paper practice for a small number of GCSE and A Level students.
I have had many pupils who are afraid of maths; some even had proper panic attacks. My sessions are fun and I use humour to make them feel at ease and so that I can then work on their self-confidence. I also have two dogs who often help calm pupils down. They are friendly golden retrievers who are are excellent with children, but happy to go into another room if preferred.
With maths, I explain that their knowledge is like a puzzle and that certain pieces are upside down and some may even be on the floor. As we work together, we fit pieces together and there are the great moments when two sections come together making links and suddenly maths makes more sense.
I have found a brilliant website for teaching maths: http://www.smartickmethod.com. Each day the pupil has a workout to do, which is modified according to how they are progressing. They are rewarded with ticks during their workout. The tutorials are very visual and explain the topics so clearly. They have their own virtual world, with a home, a place for friends, a competition area, a schoolroom, a shop and an area to play games. They customise their own avatar and can buy items to personalise their home.
Reading is always taught using the Toe by Toe reading scheme written by Keda Cowling. This is a wonderful way to teach reading systematically from scratch or to quickly diagnose and rectify gaps in a student’s reading skills. Once they have learnt to read using such a clear, logical progression then their spelling automatically improves. I have had great success with this approach with pupils from ages 6-17, including very dyslexic students.
I also work on reading aloud. We make audio recordings of them reading so that they can hear the difference when they read with understanding. I believe that if they read aloud monotonously and without understanding then when they read to themselves it must be boring too. Once they read aloud using the punctuation properly their writing also improves because they understand the need for structure.
I use Mrs Wordsmith to improve their vocabulary. The cards have entertaining illustrations which help them to remember the word and its meaning.
I also use Lumosity, which is a brain training site that was originally designed for adults. I have had great success in preparing for the computerized ISEB pre-test and the school specific tests. I use Atom Learning and the BOFA website for them to do papers with me and for homework.
I use the Usborne Encyclopedias as they link to fantastic websites. One pupil was particularly interested in history so we trained as Spartan warriors, invaded the monastery at Lindisfarne as Vikings and arranged the troops at the Battle of Waterloo. He really loved it.
The science encyclopedia is also amazing with links to many useful videos and brilliant experiments to do. For practical science I use several kits and do simple experiments.
I work on the presentation of their work. If their work looks scruffy it is hard for them to be proud of it, so I work on their handwriting to make it as legible as possible. I have special pencils to encourage the correct grip.
Exam and Revision Techniques
I tailor an approach for revision and exams for each individual. I often prepare a comprehensive revision timetable for my pupils to follow while they are here and up until the final exam. This structure can make such a difference as they then use their time wisely. They can adjust it is a particular subject needs more work.
I have a dedicated teaching room with all of my resources. I have an extensive library of books and regularly lend these to my pupils. I have many stimulating games to develop their logical reasoning and their manual dexterity. They learn to approach problems in a different way. I find all the Thinkfun and Smart games particularly inspiring and the children love them.
I work with their sitting position. Many slump over their work, so I have special stools that encourage great posture. I have an iMac so that the pupils can look directly at the screen instead of down towards a laptop or tablet.
I have explained my approach and some of the tools that I use so that others can use them. I am happy to do just a few sessions and to then give advice to guide parents or tutors in other countries.