Tutoring SEN Students

SEN. Special Education Needs. This is a huge umbrella covering many different issues; everything from ADHD and Dyslexia to ASD. With this umbrella usually comes the need for some kind of extra help in formal education. Of course, the government offers help and after reams of paper and long waits, students can get extra classes to help with specific things like dyslexia, as well as scribes and classroom assistants. These things are great, but they still require one thing: to learn at the same pace as everyone else, in the same environment.

The dyslexic student may take a while to read something, and will be slower in answering. The ADHD student may have trouble staying focused in a large classroom with a lot of distractions. The ASD simply may not handle general classroom chaos, and will need to go somewhere quiet. These are general examples, but each one leads to the students missing out on instruction and/or classroom practice.

I am often asked if I tutor “SEN kids”, and I happily say yes. My approach to all students is the same. They are individuals with certain needs, and my job is to help them understand their coursework. Working with SEN students just takes a little bit more time, and often a lot of patience. Students may fidget, want to get up and walk around… and that is okay! They’ve likely spent the previous 6 hours being forced to sit still! Frustration may come very quickly, and I have to be prepared to switch topics, change direction, or even take a short break. If a student does not understand a topic how it was presented at school, I have to be ready with other approaches.

The biggest part of tutoring SEN students is simply getting to know them. Tutoring shouldn’t be stressful or “boring”, but helpful and as engaging as possible. Each student has their own ways of thinking, of processing, and of coping. The more I learn about them, the better equipped I am to help them learn.  So if a student wants to sit upside-down in a chair while answering spelling questions..fine! If someone is super-excited about a video game and wants to talk about it…fine! That’s a great break between topics. And if a student has had enough of people and wants to sit in a play tent outside with me and chat, that’s fine, too.

Tutoring SEN kids can be a roller-coaster. There are breakdowns and bad days. I have to be flexible and sensitive, while trying to get them to learn just one more thing. The most important thing to remember is that these students are NOT “stupid” or “slow”, but just handle the world a bit differently.  And some of the best rewards are the smiles on the parents’ faces as they see their child proud of themselves for doing well in school.

Have any questions? Contact Me!

Tutoring. Don’t Delay!

Exams seem so far away, and the students are just starting to get ready for their mock GCSEs and A-Levels. Maybe the results will be out a few weeks later, and the worst happens..! The marks are lower than expected and panic sets in! Can the teacher do something? How about the form tutor? Then the search begins for a private tutor, that Google-minefield of unknown names and businesses. Parents ask other parents, students ask other students. Before they know it, weeks have passed and there isn’t much time left before exams! Finally a private tutor is found, and they are asked to work miracles; teach a year or two’s worth of material in 6 weeks or less!

Okay, that may be a bit much, but the reality is that students who will benefit from a private tutor need support long before the exam-panic sets in. Last-minute tutoring is like a cramming session, and has limited benefit. Sure, some support right before the exams can help students organize their revision, get a better exam strategy, and boost confidence. But that only works for students with a good grasp of the material.

Students who are having a bit, or a lot, of trouble with coursework need more than a few final weeks with a tutor. Instead, tutoring throughout the year, or even the last term, is essential. Why? The classroom setting is not always ideal for every student. Perhaps they don’t understand something, but have no time to ask questions. Or maybe they are too shy to raise their hand. Maybe they just don’t get enough practice. Teachers have a limited time withh each student, and a limited time to get through a required set of coursework. Parents are not always equipped to answer questions about homework. You can’t leave all of the unanswered questions until the last minute. A tutor is there to help explain things as they come up, keeping the student up-to-date with the material. Many subjects build on previous material throughout the year, so continual support will keep a student from falling behind. 

The goal of JLO Tutoring is to help students gain a good understanding of the material, a focus on comprehension. When a student understands the material, they are better prepared to answer exam questions.

Unsure if tutoring is right for you, or your child? Get in touch today!