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 pupil, 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 have taught many introverts. I encourage the parents (and the pupil if they’re old enough) to read the book, “Quiet” by Susan Cain, so that they get a better understanding of themselves or their children. I believe that I am a learnt extrovert and my daughter is an introvert. Schools expect pupils to perform and speak out and this can be very painful for introverts. I help them to improve their self-confidence and teach them skills to help in an education system that applauds extrovert behaviour.
I have also taught many late developers. They can really struggle, even though they are very clever. Again, it is a matter of building their self-confidence and showing them that they are clever. I often use Lumosity for this. If they haven’t learnt algebra, I teach them it very logically and they feel very proud of themselves when they understand it, as it looks different and complicated, but they get it.
I regularly come across younger siblings who think they aren’t clever. I explain that their older siblings have been alive, so much longer. Children in families can take on roles, so if the oldest is clever and hard-working, then the younger one may do the opposite. Once, they are aware of what they’re doing they can develop as themselves to their own full potential.
I use a video of a woman turning to get an idea of how a child’s brain works. If they see her turning clockwise then they use their right brain predominantly, and if she’s turning anti-clockwise, then they use their left brain. I have found that many children can concentrate and make her turn both ways, which is the best of all. Most teachers are very left brained and logical. They struggle to deal with right brained pupils who can just get an answer and may not be able to explain in steps how they got there. I am very right brained and have learnt how to encourage these very creative, right brained thinkers to show their working. Just realising that they may be thinking in a very different way to those around them, has had a dramatic effect on many pupils.
I adapt according to the needs of my pupil. It is a bit like sailing, we will tack in one direction and then another. I know the destination but will adapt to how we get there. Sometimes, we just have to go to the shore and do something completely different for a while before trying again.
In the following sections I explain 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.