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Tutoring For Your Needs • Passion For Education

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May 242012
 

We recently started writing tips on how to improve your children’s self esteem in order to help them lead a happier and more fulfilling life.  In the first part, we discussed the importance of really listening to your children and how valuable that can be to improving their self-esteem.  Here is our second tip.

2.  Teach your children the importance of their culture and their history.  Children often become curious about their family’s background and they begin to ask many questions – it’s important, as parents, to let them know more about where they came from, who their ancestors were, and what makes them unique and special while still being part of a larger group and culture.  Be sure to emphasize the importance of respecting other people’s differences and acknowledging the good in everyone.  If you teach your children that being different and unique make them special, they are more likely to help out victims of bullying as well as to not to allow other’s to put them down, because they understand their own self-worth.  Learning about our ancestors and our culture is an integral part of growing up and gaining pride in where we come from, in order to have a brighter more well-rounded future.

Do you feel that knowing about your ancestors and feeling pride in your culture has improved your self-esteem?

In order to find out more about our tutoring services, please email us or give us a call.  We offer tutoring in Southern California in various different topics.

May 212012
 

As children grow older, there are many new challenges that they face.  Children begin to realize the importance of fitting in and being accepted, and that is when a lot of issues begin to arise.  Although childhood can be a happy time for most people, many children go through their childhood not feeling good about themselves, they believe they are not good enough, which leads to low self-esteem.  Children feel pressure to perform well in school, while still appearing cool and not looking like “nerds”.  They also feel pressured to look good, wear all the trendy clothes, and overall, be physically appealing to their peers.  Children are constantly worried about their actions and how their peers may perceive them.   Therefore, because of all these stressors, it is important to help your children improve their self-esteem and grow to feel happy about what wonderful unique individuals they are. We have provided some basic ideas on how to improve your children’s self-esteem; this is the first of many more blog entries to come.

  1. Build a healthy relationship with your children by learning to really listen to them without placing any judgment.  You might not always agree with everything your children are doing in their lives, but it is important for you to acknowledge what they have to say and what they find value in.  Let them know that their opinions matter and that they are worthy of being listened to.  An added bonus to really listening to your child is that you will be more apt to notice if there is something wrong, and know when your child needs your help.  By listening to your children, you are teaching them not to shy away from speaking their minds and, more importantly, to know that their opinions and ideas are valuable contributions to society.

We are so adamant about improving your children’s self-esteem because we see the value in it; people who have high self-esteem are more likely to perform well in school, to speak up and ask questions, to participate, to ask for help when they need it, and they are more likely to set higher goals for themselves and pursue their passions.  Self-esteem is essential to leading a happier healthier life, and who doesn’t want their kids to be happier and healthier.

If your child needs additional help with school, give us a call or send us an email, we offer tutoring all over Southern California and we are more than happy to help your child realize her or his dreams.

May 152012
 

According to stopbullying.gov, “Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance.  The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.  Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.”

In recent years we have seen an outpouring of stories of how bullying is impacting so many young lives.  Each tale tells the tragic story of how a child has been bullied so much until he or she fears and loathes going to school, some have even been made to feel that there is no other solution but to end their young lives.  One life lost is one too many.

Many people find themselves asking, “What can I do to stop bullying?”.  The simplest and most obvious answer is that parents and educators need to work together and take immediate action in order to stop bullying.  However, it is not only up to parents and educators, it is up to all of us.  We must all take action and continue the trend of speaking out against bullying; we need to have an open discussion, in which everyone feels comfortable and safe to talk about their views on bullying in order to inform children, parents, educators, etc. on what it is and how much it can negatively impact those individuals who are the victims of bullying.

As a parent and/or educator you should ask your children/students if they have ever been the victims of bullying or if they have participated in bullying another child.  Let them know what bullying is; perhaps your children/students may have bullied someone else without realizing how harmful their actions were.  Or you might find that your children/students are currently being bullied but are too afraid to speak up or simply do not realize that they can ask for help in order to make it stop.

We want school to feel like a safe environment for children and for them to feel comfortable and safe enough so that they can learn.  Bullying makes school feel like an unsafe place, it lowers victim’s self-esteem, it makes them nervous and anxious, it brings on depression, and it makes students unable to focus on school and learning.

Bullying is also a way for those who are doing the bullying to cry out for help.  Most bullies also suffer from depression, they have low self-esteem, and some even have a tendency of thinking about suicide.  Bullying is a real problem and it needs to stop now.

Unfortunately there are many of us who have had personal experiences with bullying, and although our tales of woe might be minor compared to others, they were still significant and we would have all been better off without these harsh experiences.

Share your stories on how you were bullied and what you did to overcome it.  Share a story of how you helped a victim of bullying by speaking up.  Or share ideas on how to eliminate bullying.  Let’s begin talking about bullying and how to eliminate it.

May 102012
 

As we probably have all come to realize, we do not all learn the same way and with the same techniques.  Some individuals learn by doing, others learn by simply listening, while others learn by looking.  We are all unique individuals, and as would be expected, our learning styles are unique as well.  The three most common learning styles are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic/tactile learners.  Knowing what time of learner your child is is essential in understanding how to present new information in order to ensure they will retain it more effectively.

  • Visual learners – These types of learners process information best through sight; they need to see someone else do the activity in order for them to gain a better understanding of how to do it.  Visual learners also like to be presented with images, graphs, or videos and they like to highlight information (either with a highlighter or by underlining it with a pen) and they also like to read information in order to understand the information that is being presented.  These types of learners learn best when presented with images – they are typically unable to learn by simply hearing information.
  • Auditory learners – These individuals learn best when they hear or speak information.  They gain the most benefit when they discuss certain information with others, or when they hear a lecture – they don’t retain information as easily if they just see it written on a piece of paper.  Auditory learners also understand the information presented in a book best when they read that information aloud or when it is read out loud to them.
  • Kinesthetic/tactile leaners – These learners are the type of individuals that are very hands on.  They need to try something out for themselves in order to understand the information.  These individuals are usually harder to teach, because they feel a constant need to be moving around and exploring their surroundings, and most lectures are not taught in a tactile way – most lectures are geared towards the auditory and visual learners.

Understanding what kind of learner your child is might be the trick to helping them understand the classroom information, that they are having a hard time with, more effectively.  Although most children are able to learn in more than just one way, it is important to understand which way is the most effective in order to tackle those harder topics and to present information in a way that will be the most effective for your child.

We are passionate educators and we work hard to ensure that the students we tutor gain a love of education and learning.  Give us a call and let us help your child become an avid learner for life.

May 082012
 

With many students currently taking the STAR tests, parents may be wondering
what the STAR tests are and what they are intended to measure.  Therefore, in order to provide a bit more clarity on the STAR tests, we have provided a breakdown of the four different types of STAR tests that are offered in California.

STAR tests are standardized tests that are given to children from 2nd to 11th grade.  Although several different types of standardized tests have been around for decades, they have recently come to be used as regular markers to measure how children are progressing in school.  These tests are administered on a yearly basis and they are usually given close to the end of the school year (typically in March, April, and May).

There are four different types of STAR tests.  What test a child has to take is determined by their cognitive abilities.

Here is the breakdown:

  • CSTs (California Standards Tests) – This type of test is the one that is administered to most children in California; therefore, these tests are developed by educators and test developers who are from California.  They are intended to measure how children are progressing in school and if they are being effectively taught the state mandated standards in math, science, history/social science, and English/language arts.  All children from 2nd grade to 11th grade take the multiple choice CST, while students in 4th and 7th grade must also take the CST writing assessment.  The idea behind the test is that if your child is being taught everything that the California standards mandate, he or she should perform well on the CST.
  • CMA (California Modified Assessment) – This test is used for students who have an individualized education program (IEP) that states that they have to take the CMA, and who, although may be receiving grade-level instruction, are almost certainly not going to get grade-level proficiency.  The purpose for this type of test is to measure the progress of children with disabilities and to see if their schools and the state are meeting the requirements and teaching these students the appropriate and necessary information.  Like the CST, all children who are eligible to take the CMA take the multiple-choice CMA from 2nd grade to 11th grade and the CMA writing assessment in 4th and 7th grade.
  • CAPA (California Alternate Performance Assessment) – The CAPA is intended for students who have substantial cognitive disabilities and, because of that, are unable to take the CST’s and CMA’s even with accommodations or modifications.  These tests are meant to measure the progress of these students.
  • STS (Standard-based Tests in Spanish) – The STS’s are tests that are taken by Spanish-speaking English learners.  These students are also required to take the CST’s and/or the CMA’s depending on their cognitive abilities.  If students are performing well on the CST’s or CMA’s, they may later be reclassified as fluent English proficient (R-FEP).

If you feel that your child’s grades could improve, please be sure to give us a call or email us.  We’ll be happy to meet with you and your child and help improve your child’s grades and understanding of the class lectures.

May 032012
 

Diagram of Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences

According to the renowned psychologist, Howard Gardner, there are 8 different types of intelligence: visual, linguistic, logical, bodily, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic – Gardner later added existential and moral intelligences.  Although there are many who have criticized his theory, it is still a popular theory and one worth delving into in order to figure out where your strengths lie.  Finding out what type of intelligence your child possesses might be crucial in finding his or her strengths and figuring out how to best help your child succeed in school and in the future.

What intelligence do you or your child possess?

Visual-Spatial Intelligence – People who possess this type of intelligence typically are good with puzzles, maps, and graphs.  These people usually enjoy the visual arts and they tend to memorize information through images, videos, and pictures.  Potential career options: architect, visual artist, engineer, navigator, sculptor, inventor, interior designer, and mechanic

Linguistic-Verbal Intelligence – These people are good at remembering written and spoken information, they are articulate, good writers and they enjoy reading, writing, and communicating verbally with others.  Potential career options: poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, and translator

Logical-Mathematical Intelligence – These individuals are good with finding relationships and patterns, they are very good at solving problems, they enjoy conducting scientific experiments and complex mathematic problems.  Potential career options: scientist, mathematician, computer programmer, engineer, accountant, and researcher

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence – People with this type of intelligence are usually good at sports or dancing, they have good physical control, these individuals learn by doing and they enjoy creating things using their hands.  Potential career options: dancer, builder, sculptor, actor, athlete, physical education teacher, firefighter, and artisan

Musical-Rhythmic Intelligence – These individuals enjoy singing and playing instruments, they have a great respect for music, they understand the structure of music, and are therefore able to remember songs easily.  Potential career options: musician, composer, singer, music instructor, conductor, and disk jockey

Interpersonal Intelligence – People with this type of intelligence are usually good at communicating, empathizing, and understanding others.  They are able to interact well with others and to look at things through other peoples’ perspectives.  Potential career options: psychologist, philosopher, counselor, sales person, politician, and businessperson

Interpersonal Intelligence – People with this type of intelligence are good at understanding their own emotions, motivations, and their strengths and weaknesses.  They like to reflect on and analyze their own actions.  Potential career options: philosopher, writer, theorist, scientist, and researcher

Naturalistic Intelligence – This was one of the most recent additions in Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences.  Those who possess naturalistic intelligence are interested in nature and the environment.  They are able to easily catalog information and they enjoy doing activities outdoors, like gardening.  Potential careers: botanist, biologist, conservationist, gardener, farmer, and zoologist

Keep in mind that people can possess strengths and interests in more than one area.  Gardner’s theory is simply that, a theory; nonetheless, it is interesting to learn what your child, your student, or you are the best at and how you can implement that to help retain information more successfully or to chose a future career.

If your child is in need of additional help, please give us a call and we will be more than happy to help your child succeed in her or his educational endeavors.

To take our mini version of the Multiple Intelligence test click on the link.

Apr 242012
 

What is critical thinking? There are many different definitions on what critical thinking is; however, to sum it up in the broadest form, it is a learned skill in which the critical thinker is able to dissect, conceptualize, apply, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information and use that information to solve a problem, reach an answer, or come to a conclusion.  Critical thinkers, not only use the information presented to them, but they also use past acquired knowledge or experiences and they are able to skillfully “read between the lines”.

Why it helps – You will find that most of the kids that are in honors classes, AP classes, or other advanced placement classes, are typically children who have their critical thinking skills refined.  These kids typically are able to look at things in more than just one way and they are able to dissect information more critically.  Most of these children receive high grades and perform very well on exams.  Although these individuals were born with many of their intellectual abilities, a lot of their skills were also learned and perfected.  Therefore, any child can improve her or his critical thinking skills and improve their understanding of the material presented to them in and out of school.

Activities to do to help your children – During the long summer break, don’t just let your children spend all their time watching TV or playing video games, assign them work (hiring a tutor might be a good solution to helping your children improve their critical thinking skills).  Assign your children work that will help develop their critical thinking skills.  The following are just a few examples.

  • Read and analyze a book together – Have your children read a book, that is appropriate for their age and reading level, then have them write a book review in which they state what they liked or disliked about the book and why.  The “why” is the most important aspect, because it causes your children to think more critically about their views and why they formed such views.  You or the tutor should have read the book as well.  Make sure to discuss different elements the author used to get their point across – i.e. analyze the information presented and the different techniques used by the author like symbols, metaphors, foreshadowing, etc.
  • Assign your children an argumentative research paper, but with a twist – Have your children pick a semi-controversial topic (you might want to pick the topic for them), then have your children write, as objectively as possible, why they are for it, then have them write another paper arguing why they are against it.  Once your children are done writing both papers, have them reveal to you what they learned while writing them.  Then work together to improve their papers – provide constructive criticism, while acknowledging the positives as well.
    • Make sure to remind your children that there are different ways of looking at things and that they should learn to take in information with a critical eye and not to allow emotions to dictate their views.
    • Objectivity is essential in becoming a critical thinker; emotions can oftentimes hinder us from thinking objectively.
    • The best argumentative papers are those in which the writer is able to predict what the opposing side will argue, in order to make their point, and is thus able to take on those arguments head on.
  • Analyze the source – Read a research article with your children.  As you read it have your children analyze what the writer’s argument is – is the writer trying to convince you of something?  Make sure to take note of the sources provided by the author, taking into account if they are reliable or not and why that is.  Also be sure to point out flaws or contradictions found in the paper.  Is the paper mostly opinion based?  Or does the writer provide enough factual and objective information to prove her of his point?  Help your children to critically and objectively analyze the information presented; let them know your thought process as you work through analyzing the paper.  Be sure to point out any obvious biases or opinions that diminish the credibility of the article.
  • Analyze a work of art – Have your children analyze an important piece of art.  Ask your children questions about the piece that will allow them to think critically and to view art in a new way.  What is the point of view? Was the painting effective in presenting the desired point of view?  Why or why not?  Make sure to read the caption that goes along with the art piece or any other relevant information in order to gain a better understanding of the artist and their work.  Keep in mind that art is very subjective; the main idea is to get your child to try and interpret an image in a critical and new way.

If you want your children to benefit from summer tutoring and want to help them develop their critical thinking skills, please give us a call or send us an e-mail, and we will be more than happy to assist you.

Apr 122012
 

Any teacher, parent or educator will tell you that a student learns more effectively in a one-on-one setting than in a classroom.  The investment a parent makes in their child’s education can have a lasting impact on the success their child has well beyond their years in school.

Here are some of the reasons why one-on-one tutoring helps improve grades.

4)   The tutor is able to review the material taught in class and to repeat it until it is learned.  Even though we try to teach kids critical thinking techniques, we must admit that repetition does have certain benefits.  In this case, repetition and review allows the information taught in class to be further ingrained in the child’s brain during the tutoring session.  Once the child learns the basics the tutor can then move on to more complex topics.

5)   A one-on-one tutoring session provides a safe learning environment, where the student can feel comfortable to ask questions without fearing peers criticizing them if the questions are perceived as being “dumb questions”.  Students develop a healthy and mutually respectful relationship where the child can feel comfortable enough to ask questions and let the tutor know that he or she needs further clarification in order to understand the concepts being taught.

6)   Tutors are able to present the information through fun activities.  The tutor can create fun educational games to help present the information in a different way.  The child then learns a new appreciation for learning and realizes that learning can be fun.

There are many more reasons why one-on-one tutoring can help improve grades.  If you feel that your child could benefit from one-on-one tutoring, contact us and we will gladly help your child improve his or her grades, and help their love of learning grow.

To read the first part of this blog click here.

Mar 192012
 

Any teacher, parent or educator will tell you that a student learns more effectively in a one-on-one setting than in a classroom.  The investment a parent makes in their child’s education can have a lasting impact on the success their child has well beyond their years in school.

Here are some of the reasons why one-on-one tutoring helps improve grades:

1)   Your child gets one-on-one attention.  Oftentimes students go unnoticed in a large classroom setting; the unfortunate reality is that teachers are unable to devote one-on-one time to each one of their students.  Therefore, many students that need that extra help don’t get the opportunity to work individually with their teachers.  Because students get this individual time with their tutors, the tutors are better able to assess their strengths and weaknesses and to help provide them with the appropriate tools to improve their grades.

2)   Tutoring helps to build your child’s self-esteem. Your child learns how great it feels to be able to understand and learn the classroom material.  Once your child begins to learn the material, their enthusiasm for learning will grow and they will eventually be able to use the tools they’ve acquired in their tutoring sessions, and work independently.  There is truly nothing more rewarding as a tutor, than seeing your student’s face light up with pride and excitement as he or she finally “gets it”.

3)   Tutors are able to offer different ways of teaching.  We are all well aware that not every child learns with the same teaching techniques; therefore, tutors are able to assess what works for their students and to modify the lessons to suit their student’s individual needs.  Tutors are also able to provide less conventional, and perhaps more amusing, ways of teaching to help their students learn the material, like games for example.

All in all there are many more reasons why one-on-one tutoring helps improve grades and provide your children with the necessary tools to succeed academically.

To read the second part of this article, click here.