After a long day at school, the last thing most students want is more instruction. You as the parent might know that a tutor can be the difference between frustration and confidence, but teenagers can be hard to persuade. They might resist and think that it’ll be boring, but why does it have to be? Today, many tutors are incorporating ways to make learning fun. Read on to explore how tutors are making informative content enjoyable to learn.
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Why is Fun So Important in Tutoring?
Parents and teachers alike appreciate that play-based education is critical for preschoolers and elementary school students. But playfulness, imagination and creativity are just as crucial to learning during the teen years. Joyful learning helps teenagers take risks, learn from failure, manage social interactions and build teamwork skills. It also spurs creativity and curbs anxiety and depression.
Finally, fun encourages communication and increases the student’s confidence and trust in the tutor.
That’s why the best tutors understand that fun, laughter and learning should be one and the same.
Connect Learning to Students’ Interests
“So what?” is one of student’s biggest questions. It’s also the reason so many students tune out or feel unmotivated or discouraged in their classes. They can’t understand why they learn what they learn or what role it will play in their future lives.
That’s why a tutor who really knows a student’s interests, motivations and goals is so important.
A great tutor will help the baseball fan learn statistics by calculating their favorite players’ ERAs, or introduce the fashion enthusiast to the economic theories that help them price their future clothing line.
Real-world examples and practical experiments help students engage with academic material on their terms, help them make connections between disciplines and introduce fun and creativity into tutoring.
Through interactive education, your child can learn everything from AP Calculus to U.S. History. Students spend much of their school day passively absorbing information in the classroom. But great tutors know that games, trivia contests and experiments help students engage with the material in a way that encourages problem-solving and long-term retention.
A tutor might challenge the student to organize a dozen American presidents in chronological order, spin the globe and cite three facts about the country where they land, or rehearse a silly mnemonic song to remember the periodic table.
Equally, sometimes picking up the pace keeps students stimulated and fully focused. Trivia quizzes are a great warm-up and ice breaker to kickstart a tutoring session. They also help test a student’s retention, refine their time management skills and provide a low-stakes way for the tutor to assess their progress.
A language tutor might give a student a two-minute vocabulary quiz, a math tutor could pepper them with short mental math exercises and a biology tutor could throw out terms and ask for a definition.
A great tutor understands that trivia and quizzes shift the burden away from tedious memorization and help students truly internalize the core facts and basic skills that form the foundation for more advanced concepts and problem solving.
Much like trivia quizzes, time trials help students quickly recall information and improve time management. They are particularly important for students facing a fast-paced standardized test or ones who struggle with completing homework or exams on time. An SAT tutor might challenge a student to complete 10 math problems in 10 minutes, with a focus on keeping up a steady pace of one question per minute and being mindful of “time traps” that cause students to get stuck for too long on a single question.
Timed exercises can also free students of the inner critic that can stifle their imagination. A writing tutor could encourage a student to write freely for 10 minutes on the novel they’re reading in English, giving them the opportunity to explore the book’s themes without becoming too self-conscious about grammar, paragraph structure or whether their idea is “good.”
Make it Tactile
Some students learn best when they can feel and touch a subject. Savvy math tutors can use everything from magnetic fraction tiles to measuring cups to help students grasp core math concepts. Tutors can enhance even the most advanced subjects with some very basic “props:” a simple paper cone helps students visualize the parabola, hyperbole and ellipsis, while a molecular model kit reveals atomic structure.
Great tutors know that tactile, or kinesthetic learning isn’t just fun; it’s good science. Research has shown that hands-on learning helps students break through their own self-limiting perceptions – particularly in STEM subjects – and improve understanding and retention.
Find a Reason to Celebrate
Holidays (no matter how minor) can be a great way to get students into a festive learning mood. A foreign language tutor might create a fun activity to celebrate a holiday, event or custom from that culture. Your student will learn new vocabulary and develop a greater appreciation for the history and culture of other countries.
But great tutors can get even more creative. March 14 is Pi Day, so why not learn about the foundations of geometry while eating a tasty treat? Even less traditionally festive holidays such as election day, Labor Day or International Women’s Day can spark important discussions on issues of history, government and the connection between world events and teens’ everyday lives.
Most students have no shortage of screen time, but a tutor can help a student selectively identify short video clips to keep them engaged. Short documentaries, fact-based dramas, explainer videos and songs can teach students familiar material in a lively way.
A tutor can also use fun videos to teach students important research skills, including how to search for online resources that are brief but informative, how to discern the trustworthy from the questionable, and how to efficiently find information while avoiding tempting distractions.
Students love it when the tutor steps aside and lets them teach. Students can offer an impromptu presentation on an historical event, explain a math problem or demonstrate the conjugation of an irregular verb.
Teaching allows them to demonstrate their understanding, boost confidence, and refine their communication skills. It also helps the tutor grasp where the student is struggling and might not yet understand the material well enough to explain it to others.
Work Through Mistakes
Equally, students appreciate when a tutor honestly admits to forgetting a math formula or verb tense. The tutor sends a powerful and reassuring message that it’s ok (and normal) to make mistakes and exhibit vulnerability. Even better, a great tutor will use their error to model the process of self-correction and show how to laugh at our own small mistakes.
Take Active Breaks
Great tutors understand the importance of breaks for your child. Even if it’s just a 5-minute refresh, your student will come back refreshed and ready to learn more. A fun and interactive game, a quick bounce on a stability ball, or a pause to look out the window at the sunset can restore motivation and further develop the bond between the student and tutor.
If available and appropriate, you and your tutor can head outside to learn. Classrooms can be stuffy and the kitchen table can be noisy. Sitting at a picnic table or taking a walk around the block can improve a student’s energy, motivation and ability to retain information. This approach works particularly well for students who are kinesthetic or visual learners.
Homework doesn’t have to be tedious. In fact, it can be the spark that keeps learning alight between tutoring sessions. A French tutor might encourage the student to watch their favorite show with the French subtitles on, and a History tutor might challenge the student to learn the backstory to their neighborhood’s street names. The goal is to integrate learning into daily life and make it easy, relevant and relaxing. It also provides a great conversation-starter and warm-up for the next tutoring session.
How Tutors Facilitate and Make Learning Fun for Your Child
After exploring this complete guide on how tutors facilitate and make learning fun for your child, you should have a better idea of what to expect in tutoring. Do you want to help your child succeed in school but they can’t seem to get past that one course?
Let us help! Whether it’s U.S. history, calculus, government, or various other topics, we have you covered. Contact us today, and we’ll come up with a personalized plan to help your child succeed.