One of the major concerns for parents today is the fear of their child dropping out of school.
Students today are exposed to a range of pressures from not only their teachers, but their classmates and even their parents.
For this reason the rate at which all of these pressures, both social and academic, can build up to a point where they begin to cause issues for the student in all aspects of their school experience. The amount of homework, the pressure to do well at school and the strain of a busy classroom environment are all factors which can impact how well a primary school student can engage with the information they are learning.
With all of these influences and factors in mind let us now investigate how private tutoring and private lessons can help enhance Australian primary school student's learning experience.
What Does Victorian F-10 School Curriculum Include?
The Victorian Curriculum F-10 (which incorporates aspects of the national curriculum) clearly defines what the first eleven years of a student's learning should encompass. Primary school in Victoria is divided into two sections, lower primary and upper primary.
Lower primary includes students from foundation to Grade 2 (age 5-8) , upper primary includes students from grade 3 to grade 6 (age 9-12).
All primary school students are expected to gain knowledge and skills across these subject areas;
- Literacy (English and English as an additional language EAL)
- The Arts (drama, music, dance, visual arts and visual communication design)
- Health and Physical Education
- The Humanities (civics and citizenship, economics and business, history, geography)
- STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics)
The Victorian F-10 curriculum works to provide students with lifelong skills and abilities such as; critical thinking, social and emotional coping strategies as well as an understanding of ethical and intercultural civic duties.
One of the key differences many students will find during their transition from lower to upper primary school is the workload and amount of responsibility.
Once a child begins grade 3 the expectation is that they are able to cope with the increased workload and personal responsibility, for some students this can be very overwhelming.
Another aspect of the transition from lower to upper primary is that grade 3 students are expected to sit their first NAPLAN (National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy) test.
Australian school students complete the NAPLAN exam in grades 3, 5, 7 and 9, they are tested on their literacy abilities (reading, writing, comprehension and language conventions) as well as numeracy.
In Australia, primary school students spend approximately 10,120 hours at school from the beginning of primary school until the end of lower secondary school.
This is above the global average of 7,475 hours for OECD countries, for some students a large amount of time spent in classroom setting can sometimes be detrimental to their learning.
It can be overwhelming to be in a classroom setting for the majority of a child's learning time, especially for those students who are neurodiverse.
For both neurotypical and neurodiverse children it can sometimes be difficult to absorb all the information they need from just one or two lessons.
Lessons with private tutors can be a great way to reinforce and support the learning primary school students who are struggling to meet the curriculum standard.
Providing Extra Support for Students Who Struggle in Numeracy
For many people, and from a personal angle myself included, maths can feel frustratingly foreign; especially if you are someone who's strengths are more aligned with literacy.
We listen attentively and try to apply the information and logic we are taught, but for some reason when we go to solve a problem or equation it just doesn't seem to work. This can feel disheartening particularly when we feel we aren't being rewarded with good marks for the effort we put in. We can find ourselves thinking;"Why doesn't this make sense? How can I make this less exhausting?"
Australian grade 4 maths students according to a Trends in Mathematic and Science Study showed that students results have not increased since 2007.
For many parents the lack of educational growth and/or increase in results is a large concern. It has been discussed in the media that this could be due to the way the teaching profession is taught.
Primary school teachers are often generalist teachers as opposed to secondary teachers who are specialist teachers.
Some parents are worried that this will make the transition from upper primary to lower secondary more difficult for their child. There is continued discussion in the Education sector as to how numeracy and STEM as a subject can be taught in a more productive and engaging way which is inclusive for those students who often fall behind.
In order to make sure your child is getting the best out of their primary school education why not look into hiring a private tutor who will be able to help your child's learning in numeracy subjects such as; multiplication, division, geometry, fractions and decimals and more.
With the help of a private tutor you will be able to see growth and a rise in your child's academic results, which will allow you to feel good about supporting your child's education.
One of the first things a tutor will do is identify which learning areas in numeracy your child is experiencing difficulty with:
These two questions can help identify where the issue is:
- Is the student able to grasp the concept but unable to carry it out?
- If the student is unable to fully understand the concept from solving equations, how else can we support their learning?
Once the learning areas in which the student has difficulty comprehending are identified the student can then return to these ideas and concepts to see where they are going wrong. Showing a student how their workings out can be adjusted is incredibly beneficial to their learning.
Most often in primary school mathematics there is a large focus on multiplication and division, especially once students begin to enter upper primary school. This alongside understanding the challenging concepts in decimals and fractions can cause stress for some students...
For a huge amount of students the leap from lower to upper primary mathematics is often exacerbated by a leap from sensory based learning to conceptual abstract learning. In lower primary school students are encouraged to use their fingers, counters and MAB blocks to work out maths problems.
So for some students the leap from using teddy bear counters to multiplying decimals with only their brain can be scary!
Helping students towards a successful experience at school isn't always easy, we must also acknowledge that there is not just one way to help ensure this. Rather it is important to consider a broad range of solutions and options as means for success.
As mentioned before for some students the leap from sensory based learning to abstract reasoning can not be taught by simply memorising and learning rules off by heart. An alternative way in which a private tutor could present abstract mathematical reasoning during a lesson could include multi-sensory learning tools.
MSL tools are great way for students to still engage with more abstract concepts in a physical way.
In order for the child to independently determine and reason answers to numeracy problems it is important to let the child discover this for themselves. Discovering and reaching the answer without assistance will allow the student to retain the information and logic in their long term memory.
Lastly, make your pedagogy inclusive!
Whilst your private tutoring lessons are happening consider the 5 senses. Often the trouble that students have with maths linked to their inability to physically or visually manipulate the problem they are presented with. Only after the student is able to grasp a concept will they be able to make progress and start understanding the equations they are presented with.
Numeracy is an incredibly important school subject for the majority of a child's time at school. Even more so if the student wished to pursue a STEM based career, so you could also consider numeracy support and remedial classes at a secondary school level as well?
Reading Recovery For Students Who Struggle in Literacy
It is difficult to recall when we "grow up" specifically, but for many learning how to read can be the first complicated step, it can be difficult and a time consuming part of our childhood.
It is certainly more difficult than, for example, a game of down ball or colouring in!
Learning how to read quickly increases our capacity to retain knowledge and information. We learn how to remember stories, identify letters and the sounds they make and expand our vocabulary in order to unravel the meaning of words.
At the beginning of primary school all of these techniques and skills involved in reading can be challenging for students and occasionally difficult for primary school teachers to relay to in an overcrowded classroom filled with a variety of differently abled learners.
In some cases it is incredibly beneficial for a student to have a personalised learning plan as well as personal tutoring lessons in order to ensure that they can understand all the components of reading mentioned above.
A speech pathologist, learning specialist teacher or paediatric occupational therapist are also excellent professionals who are able to provide additional help to those students who find it hard to cope in a typical classroom environment.
As well as regular and structured lessons with a private tutor you are sure to see successful learning growth.
Connecting the gap between what a child learns in the classroom and what they can retain can be aided by private lessons. Private lessons are sometimes essential for a student who is not moving forward with their reading skills.
MSL tools are also a great way to help students and their literacy learning just the same as maths. It could be worthwhile for the tutor to consider getting the student to make letters using play-dough or using a vowel ferris wheel to help students understand the phonics of letters and sounds.
Learning in a conventional classroom setting moves at a fast pace, gaining rapidity as primary school progresses. This is when a student can start to lose their confidence in their abilities and gives up on learning.
This shouldn't stop a student from being able to learn and grow, as it can affect their emotional and social development.
With this in mind, the purpose of a personal tutor can have enormous positive effects. Working with a private tutor is like having someone who will encourage and support your learning no matter what, having someone in your corner feels good!
Primary school students often love working with their own tutors!
In order to provide learning support for a child who is struggling in literacy a private tutor will be able to identify the key areas where the student is having trouble.
A reading assessment is a great way to help identify where the same mistakes are being made, the tutor will be able to observe where to catch the mistake before it occurs.
These questions are helpful to ask :
- Is the student able to demonstrate comprehension of what they have read?
- Are they able to decode words or have they simply memorised them?
- Is the student able to differentiate between similar looking letters?
A variety of activities should be used to assist the student in their literacy learning growth. While the student is working in their tutoring program they will ultimately be able to understand how read from a etymological, phonological and morphological perspective.
Considering an ongoing academic support programme during high school and university studies is also an incredibly positive option for child to support their learning!
Helping Students Who Have Difficulties in Writing
All across Australia there has always been a plethora of students in school who struggle learning how to write during their literacy learning.
What are the options we can consider for a student who has trouble writing and is preparing for an exam?
Allied health and educational professionals who you can turn to for extra support could be:
- Speech pathologist: some schools employ their own speech pathologist for during school hours lessons,
- A paediatric occupational therapist: who can focus on muscle strength, motor control and coordination
- A psychologist: some schools also employ their own psychologist through the education department
Not being able to write and develop their skills at the same level as their peers can be discouraging and distressing for students, which can lead to them refusing to hand write at all.
Working with other skilled professionals and taking into account the areas in which a student is having difficulty, it is of great benefit to also work a private tutor who can provide the extra learning support the student needs so they are able to reach their full potential.
From the comfort of their own home, a student often feels more relaxed and comfortable not being surrounded by an over stimulating classroom environment.
The stress of the hustle and bustle of a busy classroom disappears when a child is able to work one on one with a personal academic instructor.
It has been shown that MSL tools are a fun way to incorporate fine motor skills into writing, by working with kinetic sand, chalk, play-dough and more children are able to manipulate letters and words in a way that makes them feel confident in their writing.
Useful Hint: Practice writing using enlarged coloured dotted thirds, or write on brick walls with water and a paintbrush.
Work With a Personal Tutor So You Won't Have to "Catch Up" at High School
If you are considering a personalised tutoring program for your child in high school, they will need to have fun finishing primary school first!
The jump from upper primary to high school can be a shock; piles of homework, heavy textbooks plus new classmates and multiple teachers, it's a lot to remember all at once!
Even with a motivated attitude, aide from teachers, peers and family high school can still be really hard if you haven't fully grasped all the key F-6 curriculum learning from primary school.
Don't forget about after school, weekends and school holidays; there is plenty of time for you as a parent to think about why your child may be having trouble academically.
What are the benefits of a private tutor, and how could they help my child more than their teachers. That is certainly an excellent question!
According to this article, it seems there are number of contributing factors as to why more and more Australian students are falling behind and why private tutoring is becoming more popular than ever.
The number of contributing factors are of concern however it is clear that when you hire a personal tutor there are bound to be positive outcomes for your child.
Employing a private tutor in order to prepare your child for the jump to high school can help:
- Fill in and bridge gaps which may be present your child's upper primary learning,
- Support and sustain your child's numerological and phonological awareness,
- Emotionally and practically prepare your child for all the new responsibilities a high school workload can bring.
Report time can be super stressful for some students, private tutoring can change this experience so that your child is able to see the fruits of their labour and see their progress, helping to put a smile on their face.
After reaching the end of this article you may have convinced yourself it is time to look for the perfect tutor to help bolster your child's foundational learning in primary school. At Superprof we have a great range of professional private tutors for you to choose from!
We can't wait for you to explore our tutors and hope your child has the best experience at school they can have!
Check out how to find the ideal tutor for your child no matter their learning capabilities...