HOW WE WORK
We know every student (and family) has their own goals for tutoring. Our amazing tutors and education specialists are individually hand-picked by us to help students reach their academic goals and develop positive feelings about learning and about themselves.
We believe every student:
- is unique;
- knows what they need to succeed academically and personally;
- is resourceful and capable;
- is hopeful.
Unlike tutoring services that focus exclusively on delivering content, we believe effective tutoring starts with building confidence. When a student sees themselves as a resourceful person who has experienced new things and developed new skills in the past, they believe in their own abilities to build on past successes, and are more open to mastering new processes, and tackling academic challenges more independently in the future.
Our tutors know how to cultivate the confidence that creates independent learners.
Our solution-focused tutoring model combines expert delivery of subject matter with an increase in a student’s awareness of their strengths and goals. We approach each student knowing they’re successful, resourceful and hopeful. We don’t see weaknesses or deficits or something to be “fixed”. We see strengths and competencies that help students master skills not yet learned.
We tutor from each student’s class material, using learning objectives and expectations set out in the Ontario curriculum. Unlike some tutoring services that actually add to a student’s workload, we use a student’s own textbooks, homework, and assignments to prepare for and help them succeed in the classroom. We believe the potential “loss of transfer” and additional unnecessary homework that often comes with a company-owned curriculum is counterproductive to effective tutoring. In some cases a tutor may provide additional examples of a problem or exercise, but these are only used to complement what the student is learning in class – not assigned as homework.
Our tutors’ interactions with students are process – not answer – oriented. We start with each student’s level of understanding, and focus on building foundational knowledge and personalized learning strategies. We teach students how to unpack new concepts and processes, to the point of completion. By breaking difficult material down into small doable tasks, students learn how to think analytically and critically, and how to set and achieve goals. The confidence that comes from mastering new skills, and along the way reducing unnecessary stress and anxiety, motivates and equips students for lifelong success.
Whether a student works with our expert educators 1-to-1 or in a small group, our tutors look for each student’s existing strengths and positive behaviours, and support students in building those competencies to become independent learners by:
- working with each student’s individual attention span, learning style and personality to explain unfamiliar concepts in a gradual but compelling way;
- teaching actual strategies to help students understand and apply – not just memorize – content, and see connections within and between subjects;
- encouraging a growth mindset in students – a belief that learning is acquired through experimentation, error, and effort;
- reinforcing the value of planning, effective note-taking, and good study habits to creating a positive school experience.
Our tutoring sessions provide personalized learning strategies and academic support for learners of all ages. Our tutors devote 100% of their attention to the student’s unique needs, create a safe environment for asking questions, and work at the student’s own pace to achieve increased confidence and skill mastery.
Families interested in tutoring can contact us through our web form or by calling us at 1-833-STUDY-UP or emailing us firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free consultation. Both the student and a parent should attend the consultation. In preparation for our meeting, the family and student should consider their specific goals for tutoring. Does the student want to feel more confident about a certain subject? Be more organized and prepared for daily classes? Does the family need to relieve the pressures of nightly homework?
We also encourage parents to tell the student’s teacher they are thinking about working with a tutor. Ask the teacher for any insights they have on how individual academic or organizational support may enhance the student’s school experience. See if you can get a copy of the class syllabus or any recent assignments or tests that could provide a better understanding of what your child is doing at school. Your child’s teacher spends a lot of time with your child, and can provide valuable information to assist with goal-setting.
We do not conduct an initial assessment of students. We believe assessments are unnecessary and stressful for students, especially at the outset of tutoring. Instead, we ask the student what they would like to be different or better as a result of tutoring. By taking an active role in choosing the direction of their tutoring, students enhance their self-awareness and begin to take responsibility for their own learning. We encourage the student to paint a picture of the positive changes they will see in their academic and personal life, once their goals are achieved, and to explore what they are already doing that is working. This goal-setting with the student allows us to create benchmarks that will set the student up for academic progress.
During this meeting we will also ask the student about their passions and interests, how they like to spend to their time, the people in their lives who will support them in their tutoring efforts, and what they find most useful in a teacher. We then focus on matching the student with a tutor who we believe will help the student see themselves as someone who can excel academically and personally. We consider the student’s educational needs, learning style, personality, interests and schedule and the tutor’s knowledge, skills, personality, interests and schedule. Tutors fill a different role than teachers and parents, and this puts them in a unique position to support students. The more connected a student feels to their tutor, the more the tutor can:
- personalize learning;
- incorporate connections to the student’s interests;
- teach to the student’s strengths;
- develop strategies for future growth.
A few days after the initial consultation, we recommend our hand-picked tutor to the student’s family. Once the family commits to tutoring, we schedule a first tutoring session. This first session is an opportunity for the tutor and student to get to know each other, and for the tutor to learn how the student processes information and try multiple approaches until the student begins to “get” whatever brought them to tutoring.
After the first session, we’ll schedule additional sessions – usually to coincide with the rest of the summer or the school term. During this time the tutor works to unlock the student’s full engagement and curiosity, and develop habits that lead to academic and personal success. Consistent guided practice, together with encouragement and positive feedback, are vital to a student’s success. Because our tutors work 1-on-1 with students, they are constantly assessing each student’s skills, goals and progress, and can quickly identify improvements and opportunities for growth. Throughout the term the tutor helps the student see how they are getting closer to and achieving their goals, and helps them set new goals. Parents receive regular updates and check-ins to ensure tutoring is progressing as hoped.
We support and maintain a student’s progress by asking the student and key adults in the student’s life, including parents and teachers, to notice things that are going well or getting better. In our experience, when tutors communicate with a student’s teachers, the student is significantly more likely to participate in class, and to engage more positively with school. We look for small, positive changes that show the student is moving in the right direction. For example, if a student wants to become a more confident writer, then articulating a clear thesis is progress. If a student’s goal is to improve their grades, then a higher mark on an assignment or quiz is progress.
Progress may come after weeks or months and can be inconsistent. All students have good and bad days, but a week without anxiety or an unexpected compliment from a teacher are signs things are moving in the right direction. Ultimately, the best way to determine whether tutoring is useful for a student is simply to ask them: What’s better at school, even a little bit? What does that look like? How did you make that happen?
By focusing on the process of learning and teaching students how to learn, we create independent learners, eager and capable of tackling the next concept or process on their own. Subject matters change from school year to school year, so it’s not unusual that a student will return to tutoring for subject matter instruction, however, the critical thinking, problem solving, and organizational skills a student develops in our sessions remain part of their lifelong academic and personal toolkit. As the student comes to appreciate that “being good” at school is a skill they can master, their increasing belief in their own abilities will help them tackle new experiences, both in and out of the classroom, with confidence.