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Tutoring For Your Needs • Passion For Education

Se habla español.

Manihi Kontnik

Feb 222012
 

Welcome to The Tutoring Solution! We are a group of passionate, experienced educators and life long learners dedicated to helping our students reach their goals.  But, we also believe education should be enjoyable. Our dedicated tutors encourage students to pursue their passions while providing the necessary support to be successful in the classroom.

We provide in-home tutoring for students of all ages and in all subjects and we have an excellent SAT Preparation program as well.  Call us today to help your child succeed in and out of the classroom – (909) 973 – 9089.

We serve Chino Hills, Chino, Ontario, Eastvale, Corona, Mira Loma, Norco, Diamond Bar, Rancho Cucamonga, Alta Loma, Riverside, San Bernardino, Beaumont, Lake Forest, Ladera Ranch, Whittier, Pasadena, Pomona, Upland, Claremont, Monrovia, Orange County, San Bernardino County, Los Angeles County, the Inland Valley, the Inland Empire, and the Chino Valley.

Feb 082012
 

The most difficult part of tutoring has got to be hearing that your student failed their test even though they were doing the problems perfectly for you the night before. When I heard this story from a student of mine in Rancho Cucamonga for the third time, my brain started whirling: “What went wrong? How could you fail another test? What are we going to do?!?”

 

What went wrong? Test anxiety! Test anxiety is a common problem that can have negative effects upon students including poor performance and poor grades, which can in turn decrease their self-esteem and motivation. Furthermore, it can lead to unfavorable opinions about school and learning. The question that we come to is “what can we do to combat test anxiety and help our students enjoy their education?”

 

While a little bit of anxiety is healthy and improves students’ performance too much leads to poor performance and poor grades. One of the most difficult things about test anxiety is that it gets worse as the expectation of the student increases. Basically, test anxiety hits the hardest when it counts the most, which explains why some students always bomb the big test. Nonetheless there are things students can do to combat the harmful effects of test anxiety.

 

The best thing students can do is be prepared. Preparation includes studying well in advance to avoid last minute cramming, which can be a stressful ordeal in itself. Preparation also includes, getting and staying organized so they know how to best manage their time during the test and practicing answering questions of the type they will encounter when the big day arrives.

 

During the test, students can also use a few tricks to help keep their anxiety in check. First and foremost, they need to keep their head in the game and avoid daydreaming and needless worrying. To avoid becoming overly anxious, students ought to start with the easier questions and go back to trickier questions after they’ve gotten a few correct answers under their belt. A good way to keep from getting overwhelmed is to break tough problems into manageable pieces.

 

When in the grips of anxiety, it may be difficult, but it is helpful to stay positive and use uplifting self-affirmations. Students can remind themselves “I did this type of problem perfectly all week” or “I am a smart person.” Finally, they need to remember to breath. If your student gets completely overwhelmed, tell them to stop, put their pencil down and take three deep breaths before continuing.

 

If you or your child is struggling with study habits, test preparation or suffers from test anxiety, please call The Tutoring Solution at 909- 973- 9089. Our passionate, experienced tutors can help!

 

Feb 022012
 

Every Tuesday evening I drive to Rancho Cucamonga to tutor a student, and after our sessions I spend another fifteen minutes driving back to Upland.  On the drive over, I rehearse my lessons and try to come up with the right way to explain the quadratic equation or remember the order of operations. By the time I get to my student’s house, I am pumped to start because I am ready to help him tackle any tricky problems his Algebra homework can throw at us. Usually we are successful and can even pin those word problems down with the help of some equations and diagrams. On the drive home, I am always amazed at how much I learned from his way of approaching the problems.

I am so grateful to my students for showing me news ways to view the world. As a tutor, my job is to come in and assist students in doing things the right way. I help them read the right way, do their math homework the right way, remember the water cycle the right way and spell words the right way. I take this task seriously because there’s a lot to be said for the right way!

Still, with all due respect to the right way, my favorite part of tutoring is asking students why they did something their way. When it comes to algebra problems, their way often means a negative sign was ignored, the order of operations was confused or an arithmetic error was made, but sometimes they invent a new way of approaching a problem. Usually, their way shows you what they know. Frequently, I see students approach a problem by drawing on skills they’ve already mastered and combining them in new and interesting ways.

With beginning readers, this often manifests in their spelling. I had a student who loved silent e’s. Once she understood what a silent e was, every word with a long vowel got a silent e at the end. While I eventually worked with her to get beyond her silent e obsession, I loved to see her enthusiastically using silent e’s. Her way showed me that she had developed good phonemic awareness, she understood the concept of vowels and that they have both a long and short sound
and that she understood how to use silent e’s. Furthermore, her silent e’s spellings often made more phonetic sense then the bizarre rite right way .

Whether I am driving home from my students in Chino Hills or Alta Loma, I am always grateful for my commute because it is my time to remember that I may teach them the right way, but what they share with me is the wisdom to see all the ways that are possible. My students help me remember to take risks, to use what I know in new and creative ways and to sometimes question whether the right way is the best way or the only way.
Jan 302012
 

Lately, I have been reading a lot of blogs about controlling children’s access to explicit media. While I agreed with most of the blogs I’ve been reading, something about them doesn’t sit quite right with me.

 

The idea of censoring material is always difficult to swallow, even if it is to protect our children. Freedom of speech is our first amendment right, so that no authority has the power to limit our search for knowledge. Nonetheless, I am aware that many song lyrics, many shows and movies and many websites contain ideas, words and images we don’t not want children exposed to. Given these conflicting desires, on one hand the desire to protect our freedom and on the other hand our responsibility to protect and teach our children, what should we do?

 

The overwhelming answer from the blogs I’ve seen is to censor children’s media access. While I generally agree, I also encourage parents and educators to be thoughtful about why they are censor material, what they are censoring and how they go about it.

 

For the most part children are interested in these “bad” ideas, words and images out of curiosity, not some desire to be bad. Curiosity is an innate human characteristic. Our curiosity fuels learning, so we ought to encourage our children’s curiosity. Simply censoring explicit content if children are interested in it is not the best response and may discourage their curiosity and desire to learn.

 

Talk to your children! Try to understand why they want to listen to that music, watch that show or movie and go to that website. Then explain why you’re concerned about them seeing or hearing those ideas, images or words. You might explain that some things are scary, others things dangerous. Explain that words and images can be hurtful.

 

Talking with your children will force you to reflect on what you’re comfortable with, and why you have concerns in the first place. Is it okay for your children to be scared? Is it okay for them to see bad behavior? Furthermore, talking with your children will open lines of communication with your children, which you will be grateful for as more sensitive issues arise. Finally, open communication will inspire their curiosity, not stifle it.

 

Jan 252012
 

Research shows that alienated extrinsic motivation—extrinsic motivation that is completely external to the actor (the stars on my chore chart)—leads to surface level learning. Students focus on learning outcomes such as grades. They learn to use tools such as rote memorization to recall or reproduce what has been said. These students have the ability to pass and even do well in classes, but never really engage with the material. This type of motivation is great for success on standardized tests, but it leaves little room for students to grow intellectually and it does not inspire them to discover and explore their passions.

The more extrinsic motivation becomes self-regulated by the student the deeper his or her learning is likely to become. Extrinsic motivation is often the starting place that hopefully leads to genuine interest. Once the student is interested they will integrate the new knowledge, concepts and skills they are learning with their existing knowledge base. Integration will not only help them remember facts, but it will also lead to deeper processing of the information. Interested students are more likely to make connections between different topics and subjects, to relate concepts to their lives and to feel that what they are learning is meaningful and useful.

Some practical, but maybe not very intuitive, research results suggest that teachers should give students praise instead of tangible rewards. Praise, whether it is contingent upon completing a task or spontaneous, increases students identification with the information and thus increases their likelihood of becoming intrinsically motivated to learn the content. On the other hand, task-contingent tangible rewards decreases interest in activities and information. If students get a reward for completing an activity, research suggests, that the students complete the activity for the reward. If no reward is offered they are more likely to do the activity in order to learn or master the concepts or skills. Spontaneous tangible rewards do not seem to affect students’ motivation or interest. What this research means for educators is that you should use verbal rewards over tangible rewards when possible. If you need or want to use tangible rewards be aware of how you are using them. Tangibles are very effective in classroom management, but if you are using tangibles to encourage learning though make sure it’s spontaneous, not contingent upon a task. Instead of putting stickers on their tests, given your students stickers one day simply for showing up.

As educators we have a responsibility to help light the fire within each of our students. Sometimes it is difficult to know the best way to go about it, but research on topics like motivation can help us understand the most effective ways of inspiring our students to find and pursue their passions!

References:

Deci, E. L., Koestner, R., & Ryan, R. M. (1999). A meta-analytic review of experiments examining the effects of extrinsic rewards on intrinsic motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 125(6), 627-668.

Ryan, R. M., and Deci, E. L. (2002). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: Classic definitions and new directions. Contemporary Educational Psychology, (25), 54- 67.

 

Jan 232012
 

While motivation is usually split into intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, a better way to conceptualize it maybe to think of motivation as a continuum with amotivation or apathy at one extreme and intrinsic motivation at the other. Amotivation occurs when someone is stagnate and no amount of reward or punishment will encourage them to act. Intrinsic motivation is where someone is driven to do something because they enjoy doing it and nothing can stop them. Extrinsic motivation occupies the area between these extremes. Sometimes extrinsic motivation has a somewhat compulsory aspect to it, but other times actions can be instrumental in the broader scope of achieving goals that are intrinsically important to someone.

For example, a gold star can motivate to varying degrees. Sometimes a gold star is a completely external reward to encourage a behavior, other times a gold star is a tool used to help achieve one’s self-identified goals. Think about the difference between the gold stars I got to put on the chore chart for taking out the trash and Glee’s golden star Rachel Berry.  When I took out the trash, I only cared about getting a gold star because that was one star closer to my allowance. The gold star was tool to motivate me to do something I had no desire to do; thus, the star had merely instrumental value. On the other hand, for Rachel, gold stars are a metaphor for her life’s ambition of being a star, a goal that she completely identifies with. Giving herself a gold star for winning the lead in the school musical has instrumental value because it comes from an external source, but it is closer to the intrinsic side of the spectrum because she is regulating her own actions.

In terms of education it is vital to conceptualize motivation as a spectrum or continuum. Most students fall somewhere in the middle area and are in need of extrinsic motivation to give them the push they need to be successful in school and in finding and pursuing their passions. Our goal as educators is to find the right degree of extrinsic motivation for each student.

 

Jan 192012
 

The Tutoring Solution is excited to have a table at My Kid’s Dentist’s Community BBQ.

My Kid’s Dentist has locations throughout California, Colorado, Nevada, Texas and Utah. They are committed to pediatric dental care and creating a “safe, warm and fun” environment for their patients.

The Chino Hills location is proud to be hosting a community BBQ to promote local businesses. The BBQ will be held this Saturday, January 21 from 11 to 2 in the Gateway Village Center. It is located on the corner of Grand Ave and the 71 Fwy, at 3580 Grand Ave, Chino Hills.

The Tutoring Solution will be hosting a bean bag toss for the children. Come on out for fun activities, learn about other local businesses and eat some good food.

 

Jan 182012
 

Motivation is the cause of actions. It is what drives behavior. In the world of education, understanding motivation is the necessary starting place. The methods don’t matter if students don’t want to learn, so how do we increase students’ desire to learn? Let’s start by learning about motivation itself.

Traditionally, our understanding of motivation has been split into two categories: extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic motivation derives its power to compel action from external sources. Extrinsic motivation is most simply seen in rewards and punishments used to increase or decease specific behaviors. In most educational settings, extrinsic motivation is widely used for classroom management. The use of sticker charts, pizza parties, and extended recesses are examples of rewards given to increase positive behaviors. Punishments—such as, no recess, time outs and bad grades—are sources of extrinsic motivation used to decrease undesirable behaviors.

Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, is a property of a behavior that is rewarding in and of itself. When it comes to intrinsic motivation, we are not concerned with positive or negative outcomes; we simply enjoy the activity. In most educational settings, intrinsic motivation is difficult to nurture. Some students love to write, others love to draw, some students come to school for gym, while others can’t wait to go to science. The normative, structured nature of classrooms and schools make it difficult to allow students to pursue activities that are intrinsically motivated.

If learning is our desired outcome, how do we find the best balance between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation? Is one better than the other? How do we deal with the practical realities of the typical classroom?