So often I hear the cries of parents that their child isn’t happy with their 11 plus tutor, they are afraid to approach them and the tutor tells them off or ridicules them if they get answers wrong. Their child is refusing to go to tuition, crying over their homework and they’re at a loss as they only want the best for their child.
My response as an 11 plus tutor and qualified teacher is firstly one of shock and dismay. My students do pass their 11 plus exams, each year winning places at local grammar schools such as Queen Mary’s, Bishop’s Vesey, Sutton Girls’, Wolverhampton Girls’ High and King Edward’s. They do this whilst feeling happy, confident and supported by their tutors at Maze Tuition, because we have forged an environment that achieves this wondrous result.
Private tuition is most definitely a wonderful gift to your child and can change their future forever. If you’re a parent living in the West Midlands then you are undoubtedly at the great geographical advantage of having the option of sending your child to a grammar school in Walsall, Birmingham or Wolverhampton.
Children should always feel that they can approach their teachers and tutors with all of their concerns without fearing judgement or negative feedback. It is a major part of any education provider’s role to deliver pastoral care as unhappy children make for poor learners.
Research shows that unhappy children switch off, they disengage from lessons and resent not only the tutor/teacher but also the learning being delivered. In this situation private tuition loses its value almost completely. Yes, your child may be physically present in their maths and English tuition lessons but without active engagement from them, they become at best passive learners. They might pick up some facts from being in the lessons and will put pen to paper because you’ve raised them to be polite and do as they’re asked but the learning taking places is minimal. We joke about kids telling us that they’ve learnt nothing when we ask them at home! But what if that really has some truth in it?!
A good 11 plus tutor is not afraid of a child in their class telling them that they don’t understand or cannot complete their work; they will only remark that the student needs more teaching or a new approach to help them to reach their goals. I never tell a child off if they don’t understand, Instead I provide extra teaching input to that child and encourage them to ‘try some questions out’ with my one to one support.
It’s also important for a tutor to adapt to your child’s needs because it’s easy to stand at the front of a group and deliver the same teaching sequence for years regardless of learning styles, abilities and personalities. However, this approach doesn’t benefit each individual child in the group, as each brain is unique. Yet teaching can be a wonderful task of variation and innovation and the best teachers will grab opportunities to show off their skills! I just love making the most of all of the equipment I have available to me in my classroom at my tuition centre. Yes, my classroom is often a mess after I have taught my maths lessons, littered with 3D shapes, counters and measuring jugs; but I know that each child has accessed their learning objectives and made fantastic progress!
Patience, compassion and innovation are all key qualities that a tutor MUST have, we must not forget that tuition is an extra-curricular activity and therefore non-essential. Children know this and therefore it’s always good for them to be given an element of choice in their 11 plus tuition journey, as they decide whether they want to do the extra work necessary. As we all know, trying to force 9-11 year olds to do anything they don’t want to create a massive amount of stress on parents and siblings.
Children are making a big commitment here and the least we should do is to make it a happy, productive and rewarding experience. Children learn best when they are relaxed and feel at ease to work in a supportive environment, which I strongly believe all teachers and tutors should and can forge as a foundation of their classrooms.
It is achievable for a child to enjoy their 11Plus tuition and to be successful in getting into a grammar school, so why not try to find a tutor who can offer this opportunity to your child today?