As you’ll probably know, on Wednesday 18th Match, the Prime Minister announced that all schools would close from Friday 20th and that all exams scheduled for the Spring and Summer would be cancelled. As a result, parents and schools are shifting their focus to prepare for learning at home.
What does this mean for tutoring
Lessons, of course, look different now schools are closed and exams are off the cards. Your students might have lost motivation to learn now that they don’t have exams to work towards. Even if they’re still excited to learn, it’s hard to know where to direct their enthusiasm when what they’ve been working towards for months has been cancelled. Tutors are asking, “how can we keep giving lessons that will be valuable to students at this time?”
Well, as a tutor, you’re in a unique position to support your students and keep learning alive through this uncertain time. Your support is more valuable than ever right now. Here are some ideas and advice for keeping your students happy and engaged.
Get your student excited
Before you plan your lessons, here are a few ways you can motivate your student to keep learning.
1. Tell them why it's great to keep learning
Continuing to learn remains important right now for a couple of reasons, especially for students moving to college or university (which we’ll discuss more in the next section). Learning keeps our minds sharp and returning to important topics prevents us from forgetting about them. It ensures those who are going on to college/university start their next step in life on the front foot. And that those who enter exam year in September do not suffer from gaps in their knowledge.
2. Remind them that they can still sit exams later in the year
We don’t know how schools will determine their students’ final grades yet, but it’s likely that many students will be unhappy with the grade that they are assigned and that they can sit an exam if that’s the case. You could set a target grade together, assume that an exam is coming in Autumn and then work towards it together.
3. Set goals
Over the coming months you’ll play an important role in your student’s learning, and so your expectation of their effort level in lessons will have a big impact on their engagement. If they're less engaged than usual, at the start of your next lesson make it clear that you expect the same level of effort in lessons as they’ve always given. Use the ideas from the next section to set clear milestones to hit in your upcoming lessons.
You could say something like:
“I totally understand why it’s difficult to keep the same level of focus without an exam coming up, but it’s still really important to keep learning. It’ll help you to stay sharp and keep important topics front of mind. And I think if we keep working hard you can get a 7 - so while our lessons are still going on I expect you to work as hard as I know you can.”
How to plan your lessons
For year 13s & 11s
If your student is going into further education in the subject you’ve been working on, great! That means you can start to shift the focus of your lessons to A-level or university content.
If they won’t be carrying on with your subject, you have a couple of options. We recommend sticking to teaching content that will contribute to improving your student’s overall grade, since achieving a higher grade is still up for grabs. However, it may be tricky to engage some students with this approach (for example, it may be irrelevant for their upcoming apprenticeship), so where you can apply your subject to important life skills, go for it. For example, calculations that will help with managing finances for maths. Or for English, presentation or CV writing skills.
For year 12s, 10s and younger
For any students continuing with school next academic year, take stock of the topics that you still haven’t covered and note down which are important building blocks for next year’s content - teach these topics first. If you finish on these, make a start on next year’s topics. And If you aren’t sure which exam board your pupil will be working on next year, see if they can find out from their teacher. Or if they’re a school student, drop us an email and we’ll look into it for you.
Ideas for content
Apply content/activities to the current situation
Can you find or design an activity that uses the COVID crisis as a backdrop? For example, English tutors might compare Boris Johnson’s speech to other English speaking nations around the world (a great idea one of our tutors, Kirstin, shared in our community forum).