Encouraging each student to embrace their strengths
Nepean Tutoring encourages students to embrace their strengths. We instill the courage and confidence needed to overcome their obstacles and achieve their goals.
Our philosophy centres on the belief that all children deserve the best opportunity to achieve their goals and dreams.
We believe that learning should be an intrinsic act where students have a desire to learn. This is best achieved using methods that encourage their creativity and focus.
Most importantly, we understand that all children learn in different ways. Our tutors are experts in adapting to a student’s individual learning style and prioritise the building of a positive relationship.
Our first goal is always to understand a student’s strengths and learning styles. We can then use these to overcome issues that are holding them back from reaching their potential. There may be many reasons there are gaps of knowledge in a student’s learning journey. We aim to fill the pieces of the puzzle so that the content taught in school is more readily understood and managed by each student.
Learning that meets the academic needs and interests of every student
A differentiated curriculum is a learning program designed to meet the academic needs and interests of every student.
This means that all the teaching approaches outlined in the curriculum are flexible, so that the content being taught is digestible and refreshingly challenging for each individual child.
This can be a real challenge for teachers in classes of twenty or thirty students possessing different needs, interests and skills.
Nonetheless, experienced teachers, including educators at the new NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA, formerly BOSTES), know that such an individualised curriculum is necessary if all students are to meet their full potential.
Susan Winebrenner, an experienced education consultant of the Education Consulting Services in the US, has put forward a compelling argument for differentiated learning, “Equality means giving everyone equal opportunities to learn, not teaching everyone in exactly the same way.”
NESA agrees, and differentiated programming of lessons is integrated within the current K-10 Syllabus Framework. The ability of proficient teachers to individualise and create greater flexibility in lesson plans is also a clear requirement of the NSW Proficient Teacher Evidence Guide (BOSTES, published June 2014), in which the first standard discussed is a knowledge of students and their diverse learning processes.
For example, some students may be visual learners who prefer teacher demonstrations, and some students may be more autonomous when given a written list of instructions.
Unfortunately, and despite the best intentions, efforts towards establishing curriculum differentiation in schools often falls short.
Within NESA guidelines, such programming is a guide, rather than a requirement.
In reality, curriculum differentiation may go little further than a few sentences in a school’s teaching/learning policy handbook. Or informal extension programs where gifted students meet once or twice a term to work on self-guided projects. It is generally left to the students and their families to evaluate the level of success.
Not all schools offer the supported learning or acceleration programs that many students need. HSC students, whose teachers are already at full capacity, can be particularly impacted.
As a result, some students – whether they require additional learning help, would like to fill a few gaps in their knowledge, or are gifted students needing a challenge in class – simply do not receive an equal opportunity to learn.
Why tutoring can give students equal opportunities to learn
So how can tutoring provide the flexible learning opportunities often lacking in many classrooms?
NESA recommends these following methods for differentiating students’ learning programs (Differentiated Programming, NSW Education Standards Authority, NSW Government, 2014):
- tiered and levelled activities
- interest centres
- problem-solving and challenge-based learning opportunities
- open-ended questioning
- collaborative and individual learning
- student choice
- teacher/student dialogue around learning activities
- Experienced tutors, such as those on our team at Nepean Tutoring, are proficient in providing individualised, focused learning opportunities.
In a tutoring setting, students have the opportunity to learn one-on-one, or in a small group.
Programs are tailored to their own specific needs and are free from the distractions and competing requirements of other students in a large classroom.
Furthermore, our tutors can fill those gaps in knowledge, support students to learn classroom content at their own pace and find an approach that allows each student to be challenged. They are able to grow from their learning experience, without feeling overwhelmed.
This creates open student/tutor discussion and encourages learners to generate their own ideas and questions about content. This is an important learning process that leads to further investigation and further learning.
Putting the child before the curriculum
Central to our philosophy is the belief that tutoring is a heart-centred business. Taking time to know our students, listening to parent’s concerns and doing our best to work with compassion and respect are the most significant values we bring to our role as your child’s tutor.
Our Team is a group of authentic individuals who bring a variety of their own learning experience to their role. They are excellent role models and mentors who ensure your child’s needs and interests are at the centre of all learning opportunities.