- A tutor discussed the difficulty she has with putting together a long-range instructional plan when at each session her learner seems to have a reading or writing task that must be addressed immediately--often work-related.
One excellent suggestion was to keep track of the basic skills that these work-related tasks involve and at some point sit down with the learner, look at the list, and prioritize which skills are most important to the learner and which ones he or she would like to start working on first. Then create a long-range plan to teach those skills and work through that plan at each tutoring session.
- Another tutor brought up the challenge of motivating his learner to set goals and stay focused on those goals from session to session.
A tutor suggested this simple mental exercise that might help the learner understand the commitment needed to reach his or her personal goals. The suggestion was to ask the learner if she or he has ever decided to learn or accomplish something, worked hard at it, and ultimately been successful. This can include just about anything in life--learning to play an instrument, learning to fix a car engine, completing a rehab. program, etc. Then ask them to describe what they did to be successful--what commitment did they make, and how much time did they devote to reaching this goal? Then, the learner can think about applying the same time and commitment to the reading and writing goals that he or she has set.
- A tutor asked for ideas for helping his learner organize his thoughts so that he will be able to write as clearly as he speaks.
One creative suggestion was to have the learner record himself as he tells a story, and then ask the learner to use the recording as a basis for completing a writing exercise. And don't forget to praise the learner for his excellent vocabulary and speaking skills. Spoken language, after all, is the starting point for all writing.
The September Round Table discussion was a great example of just how helpful and informative these sessions can be. Everyone attending offered their suggestions, based on their own tutoring experience, and helped their fellow tutors find new ways to address a variety of instructional challenges. So come by and join the discussion at one of these upcoming Tutor Round Tables -- October 3 and November 7 (6:00 PM in the Project Read Conference Room).