Communication in first turtorial
The first session should begin with at least a 15 minute conversation between yourselves and your tutor. The aim of this is for you to meet your tutor, set up the ongoing routines, discuss the tuition and gain a clear picture of what will be happening during the sessions. This should ideally be conducted in private, without the child present,so that there can be an open and frank conversation which will lay the foundations for a productive relationship.
Before meeting you and your child for the first session, your tutor should have taken as much detailed information about the brief of tuition over the phone or via email with you, and will have spent time making a long term plan of tuition to meet your goals and expectations. Because they have been fully briefed beforehand, the tutor
will often have a number of specific questions that they will want to ask or things (e.g. recent school reports) that they would find it useful to see. In addition, it is likely that you will have a number of questions for your tutor too.
What to Discuss:
Here are some examples of common details brought up for discussion.
The Best Method for Feedback after Each Session: It is ideal to have a weekly face to face conversation between you and your tutor for five minutes after the session has taken place. Ideally this would not be in front your child. As tutors are very open and transparent in their feedback to you, there will often be things mentioned that it is not constructive for a student to hear.
It is important that you have a clear picture of the progress being made in the sessions. If there are specific things that you want feedback on from your tutor then do mention these. Here are three common examples:
- Specific areas my child struggles with in comprehension or story writing.
- What types of maths questions does my child find difficult?
- What new topics does my child now understand as a result of the last few sessions?
Holidays and the Routine: Details of any planned holidays or if there are likely to be breaks in tuition and what contingency may be necessary as well as ensuring that both parties are able to give at least 48 hours notice of any changes to the normal schedule. Also, where the tutor will work with your child, who will be in the house during the tuition and who will be receiving feedback at the end of each session.
The Long-Term Plan and Tuition Targets: Regardless of if there are any upcoming exams, it is likely that you will have some fairly definite targets and aims for the tuition. You may well have mentioned them in giving your initial brief in which case the tutor will already be aware of them, but it is important to mention these as the
tutor will then want want to give you specific feedback about these aims, how realistic they are, and whether the frequency of tuition and amount of homework planned is sufficient to meet these goals.
Reference to Particular Schools you are Applying for: If your child is taking the independent or grammar school entrance exams, your tutor will have researched the particular schools that you have mentioned and may have further questions or pieces of information to give you based on this research.
Results and Information Relating to School: Your tutor will very often want to discuss your child’s achievement at school, including details of the level that they are at on the national curriculum or recent results at GCSE or A-Level. There may be additional details regarding the particular topics that the tuition is to cover, for example, information on the exam boards and syllabus if the tuition is focusing on GCSE, AS or A2 level. This may include things like school reports, textbooks, exam timetables, school exercise books, coursework deadlines and parents’ evenings.
Your Child’s Hobbies and Interests: This may include things like current books your child is reading, what else they like to do with their time, their likes and dislikes and their opinions about school. This is great information as it helps your tutor to quickly relate to and understand your child. It can also be used to liven up a subject that your child might not be finding enjoyable at school.
Progress and Assessment of the Tuition: Your tutor will want to give you regular feedback on the progress of the tuition and if your child is on track to meet their long-term goals. This is common for entrance exam tuition. We recommend that you ask your tutor how and when they will be assessing if your child is on track.
Homework: You should expect your tutor to set some kind of homework. Often that will be set with a view of the progress needed for the long-term goals of the tuition to be achieved. You might also want to discuss any suggestions or recommendations as to the frequency or content, and the method of giving homework feedback to yourself and your child.
Ongoing Communication: As the tuition progresses there may be information or concerns that come to light that you will want to discuss with your tutor. Your tutor may give you examples of the kinds of information it would be useful for them to know.
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