Wednesday, January 11, 2012

UPCOMING: Tutors, Inc. Workshop


TUTORS, INC

In this workshop you will learn how to start and successfully run your ESL tutoring business. You will learn the basics of what makes you a successful ESL tutor and entrepreneur. By the end of the workshop you will have valuable ready-to-use tools in the form of a portfolio that you can use directly with your students. Topics include: marketing your service, teaching methods 1:1, setting your prices, lesson plans, resources, motivating your students, adding value to your service, common mistakes and problems, challenging your students, time-management and many more. Students please bring a bag lunch.

Course number #BV87
Cost: $52

Saturday February 25, 2012 @ 9:00am-3:30pm
New Westminster Secondary School


Registration now open!
Call: 604.517.6345
or visit www.ce40.ca

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A European Perspective

I am in Europe at the moment and I am curious to find out what tutors here do to have a successful tutoring practice... in other words, I am curious to know how they do it :)

It seems that most of the tutors are still stuck with the old methods of teaching - "I know everything and my students learn what I say" or "Questions from students on things I have already taught them is a sign that they have not done their homework or memorized the material". Unfortunately, you can see the same methods in private extra-curricular schools where students are supposed to get a "different" learning environment than the one in their public schools. It seems that teachers use the same methods of teaching expecting different results. I have heard so many parents say: "We paid so much for a private tutor and my kid hasn't learned anything more than what they teach at school." And I am not surprised. I tried to explain to a friend of mine that she should have a better understanding of how a private tutor approaches their students and how they teach the material. This preliminary "interview" is necessary in order to set the expectations on both sides.


Another conflict I see in Europe is the fact that word-of-mouth is extremely strong and yet parents and students are not happy with a tutor. So how do people refer tutors to their friends if they are not happy with the service? I mean the concept of "word-of-mouth" suggests good (or bad) publicity and yet tutors get referred although they haven't really been entirely helpful. My only guess is, if a tutor has a certain old fashioned teaching style and has, say, 20 students, 7 or 8 of them will find this style appropriate for their learning style and the results will actually be satisfactory. It could be a match between teaching and learning styles, help from the parents, or short-term learning achieved only for a test at school and later disappears. The rest of the students will struggle with this teaching style. They will not find it helpful. However they will reluctantly continue attending the lessons because 7 or 8 of thier friends find the tutor good. Applying the old fashioned thinking, parents compare their kids to the successful ones and think that their kids are not smart enough to achieve what the 7 or 8 other kids have achieved. In other words, if a tutor is referred by so many (7 or 8) kids, my kids should be able to learn as well regardless of their continued poor academic performance. In fact, their poor performance is due to my kids' lack of learning skills/habits and the fact that they are not as smart as the other 7 or 8 kids. How strange is it that no one even for a second entertains the idea of trying another tutor? Or two? Or three? Finding a tutor is difficult. It is sometimes related to poor qualifications or teaching skills. But most times it is related to a mismatch in learning objectives of the tutor and learning style of the student. Often it is related to a mismatch in personalities if you will. I am amazed how this possibility doesn't even occur to parents or even adult learners.


Somehow in North America, and more specifically Canada, the choice of a tutor is a process rather than a one-time event. Instead of deciding to go with a tutor only because their friends are happy with him/her, students require to meet and talk with this tutor ahead of time. The so-called trial lessons are extremely popular and important. All of my tutor friends offer trial lessons and consider meeting with the student before both sides decide if they want work together. At the trial lesson the student asks questions about teaching methods, homework, etc. The tutor explains what the expectatations are and how they are going to help the student reach their goals. One of the first questions I always ask my new students at the trial lesson is: "Why do you need these lessons? What do you need to learn English for? Is it for work or for fun?". These are important matching points - can we work together and how do I need to approach this student so I can teach them in the best for them way?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pro-D Day - Reward Yourself!

Pro-D and the word "reward" in one sentence? That is a joke, right?!

Wrong! Everyone needs professional development - we are life-long learners after all. But pro-d doesn't have to be the worst nightmare of all teachers. Everyone is scared of "d-day"... as if it's the end of the world. And with its current format it may as well qualify as the end ... of happiness, motivation, drive. It's true. Today's pro-d days are considered the most boring and least antici
pated time that a teacher can spend. Listening to a speaker, participating in a seminar or workshop, reading latest research, etc. How bad can it get? (Forum discussion on pro-d day from Castanet.net)

Instead of following the usual format... why not reward yourself with a "me" pro-d day? It is about your own personal development as a teacher, isn't it? Spend the time doing the things your like, the things about teaching that make your happy. This is a well known technique that companies use to motivate their employees and get new fresh ideas to the company. All employees get one day per week or month when they can do whatever they want as long as they come up with new ideas for the business. They go hiking, visit a museum, go to the beach... anything. At the end of the day they bring an idea to the team and describe their inspiration. Why can't this be applied in teacher professional development?

Instead of chasing what is new in the world of education, look for what you need in your own world first and if you can't find it yourself, look for it outside. So go backwards... spend the day brainstorming ideas on how to make your teaching better. What are the things that will make your students happy and motivated? How can you transform your lessons into fun learning experiences? Sit down and mind-map your teaching. Revisit older lesson plans and reflect on what you have already done. Once you determine the areas of opportunity/development, try to improve them. Use your existing knowledge and creativity to add flavour to your lessons.

Then sit back and take a look at what needs to be improved but requires additional knowledge or information you don't have at the moment. This is when research and innovation begins. Search the academic articles and new technologies, innovative ideas and even suggestions from fellow teachers on blogs, forums, and other social media. Watch an educational video, talk to a coworker, go to the library, find out more information and idea that will bring a sparkle in your students learning.


Go back home and revisit your teaching portfolio. See what part of the new information you can include. Consider meeting with other teachers to discuss your findings. See what they have to suggest.

Remember, pro-d is about self-development and discovery. It's not just about learning new things. It's about learning about you and your own teaching. It's about becoming an outside observer of your classroom. It's about motivation and fun. After all, you cannot make your lessons fun if you are not having fun while creating them.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

It's the "why" that should drive us

Tutors have an amazing power - we actually incorporate everything that education at large should be. I mean, think about it:

1. Smaller classes We usually have one or two students or perhaps a small group of 4 or 5 people.

2. Student-centered It can't get more personalized, student-center than this - tutoring is all about addressing student needs.

3. Motivation to teach and learn Both tutors and students are motivated to teach and learn respectively. I mean it's the students who choose their tutors and it's the tutors who "advertise" to students. Our students aren't usually "assigned" to our class. They called us because they have a learning need and they heard we could help. That motivation makes the energy and learning environment extremely effective.

4. The tutor is a mediator, not a "know-it-all" We are there to facilitate learning, not "make" someone learn something. Usually our students come to us with a specific task in mind, we figure out their particular learning style and we accomplish maximum amount of achievement in a minimum amount of time.

5. ...for a minimum amount of budget Yes, when you think about it, there is never a budget shortage or a crisis to negatively impact learning. How many time have you told your students: "Sorry I couldn't make copies because I didn't have money today".

6. We start with the WHY What is the regular school's principle of operation (and that's why it's so boring too): "We have a school, which will teach you how to be successful in life by predicting where you might have problems later in life - so you MUST come to us" How does tutoring work: "Have you already experienced a difficulty? We have a method to solve exactly that problem you are having. So do you WANT to sign up with us?"

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Upcoming Events!

Tutors, Inc. Workshop

Starts: Saturday October 16, 2010, 09:00AM
Ends: Saturday October 16, 2010, 03:30PM
Event Type: Training/Seminar
Location: New Westminster Secondary School
835 8 St
New Westminster, BC V3M 3S9 CA
Price: CAD $57
Website: http://www.ce40.ca/GI.html
Industry: education management
Keywords: tutor, workshop, ESL
Intended For:
Organization:

In tough economic times, we try to find sources of extra income. In this workshop you will learn how to start and successfully run your ESL tutoring business. You will learn the basics of what makes you a successful ESL tutor and entrepreneur. By the end of the workshop you will have valuable ready-to-use tools in the ...form of a portfolio that you can use directly with your students. Topics include: marketing your service, teaching methods 1:1, setting your prices, lesson plans, resources, motivating your students, adding value to your service, common mistakes and problems, challenging your students, time-management and many more.

"Spread the Word: Marketing for Tutors" (part of Tutors, Inc. Workshop series)

Starts: Wednesday October 20, 2010, 07:00PM
Ends: Wednesday October 20, 2010, 10:00PM
Event Type: Training/Seminar
Location: New Westminster Secondary School
835 8 St
New Westminster, BC V3M 3S9 CA
Price: CA$ 57
Website: http://www.ce40.ca/GI.html
Industry: education management
Keywords: marketing, tutor, ESL, workshop
Intended For:
Organization: E.S.Team (Educational Solutions Team)

In this workshop you will learn in detail how to plan, produce, and distribute your marketing materials in an effective way. Choose your marketing materials and create your first tutoring service ad, flier, business cards, blog, etc. Receive feedback from peers and the instructor on how to use them to sell your service. Learn how to set your prices and use them to offer attractive deals for your potential students. Learn what the best way to market your services is and how to go about creating it.

"Resources for Tutors" (part of the Tutors, Inc. Workshop series)

Starts: Wednesday October 27, 2010, 07:00PM
Ends: Wednesday October 27, 2010, 10:00PM
Event Type: Training/Seminar
Location: New Westminster Secondary School
835 8 St
New Westminster, BC V3M 3S9 CA
Price: CA$57
Website: http://www.ce40.ca/GI.html
Industry: education management
Keywords: resources, tutor, workshop, ESL
Intended For:
Organization: E.S.Team (Educaitional Solutions Team)

Find out about valuable resources that you can use directly in your lessons. Learn how to find ready materials as well as how to create your own tailored to your specific students. Share effective materials that have worked for you in the past. Learn how to search for resources and carefully select the ones that are effective. Discuss materials that fit the format of your tutoring: online, face-to-face, or both.

"Teaching Methodoly for Tutors" (part of the Tutors, Inc. Workshop series)

Starts: Wednesday November 03, 2010, 07:00PM
Ends: Wednesday November 03, 2010, 10:00PM
Event Type: Training/Seminar
Location: New Westminster Secondary School
835 8 St
New Westminster, BC V3M 3S9 CA
Price: CA$ 57
Website: http://www.ce40.ca/GI.html
Industry: education management
Keywords: methodology, teaching, tutor, workshop, ESL
Intended For:
Organization: E.S.Team (Educational Solutions Team)
  • Grammar & Writing (1 hour) In this component you will learn how to teach grammar and what it takes to significantly improve your students’ grammar. Learn how to use writing to teach and correct grammar. Learn how to teach essay writing, help your students write their resume, short stories, etc.
  • Speaking & Conversation (1 hour) In this component you will learn methods to effectively correct mistakes during a conversation, how to start a conversation, ask questions to make the conversation flow, and let the student initiate the next one.
  • Reading and Pronunciation (1 hour) In his component you will learn how to effectively teach reading and pronunciation. Learn methodology that will help you improve your students reading skills and pronunciation as well as techniques for accent reduction.

Monday, March 15, 2010

We need to talk... technology

I have heard so many teachers say that their students are too tech-savvy and are way ahead of the game when it comes to using technology and multi-tasking. A teenager can text on her phone, read a book and chat online all at the same time without even losing her train of thought. How are teachers supposed to keep up with that? Are they supposed to be even better than that teenager? I mean, a teacher should know more than the student. Right?

Well actually… no. Learning how to multitask is not something you just go to school for to learn. You don’t get a certificate in multitasking. It’s something that comes with the needs of every day life and the way the world works and changes. A teenager in the 60s would have been perfectly happy to sit down and write a letter on paper, fold it, put it in an envelope, and send it by mail to his friend who lives in another country. Then he would have waited for about 20 to 30 days for a response to come back. While writing the letter though, this teenager would have had no way of doing anything else at the same time, because he had to hold the pen, the paper, and put all of his mind into actually putting the words together so the letter makes sense. If he was watching TV at the same time or was walking around the house, his letter will either look ridiculously confusing and out of focus, or will not be readable because we can’t walk and write clearly at the same time.

Nowadays, however, technology completes a few of these steps for us and we don’t even think about it. You can walk (some people even drive) while writing an email or a text message, which you will send with a click of a button. Less than a minute later, your friend who lives abroad will receive it, open it while watching TV or walking, or driving to the local drive-through ATM, and respond to you in detail before the cash comes out of the machine. How long was that? 10 minutes? Less?

So why are we expecting kids to change? And more importantly, why are we expecting us, the people who merely 15 years ago were happy to have saved for a personal computer for the house, to change? We shouldn’t! Life will continue going in the direction of technology and multitasking because this is the coarse of the future. So instead of trying to understand why teenagers are able to put us down by a simple phrase as: “You haven’t heard of Facebook?” with a look of shock in their eyes, we should look into what we can do to actually use this new “power” kids have today.

So when using technology for learning, we should not stress out about not being able to reach the level of tech-savvy-ness of our students because we won’t be able to. The question we need to ask ourselves is whether we need the technology to teach in the first place, and also, if we do, what type of technology will make our teaching more effective? Designing a sophisticated video game is not going to help us teach decision-making any better than using a simple mind-map created with construction paper, scissors and a large sheet of paper to stick all the “bubbles” on. As long as the process is collaborative, your students will appreciate the engagement in the classroom. Besides, remember that you are in charge. You can make a simple tool engaging by altering it, adapting it, and applying it in an effective way.

Having said that, I don’t mean that teachers shouldn’t try to at least be up to date with what technology tools are out there. There are some really good resources that a teacher can use to make teaching interesting and engaging. For example, I have used many podcasts with my ESL tutoring students where I would design my lessons around one topic but I would include different sources and types of information. I found that one of my students was staying at a home-stay family that lived in a very noisy neighbourhood and my student didn’t know how to express her frustration about the situation. She simply didn’t have the vocabulary, confidence, pronunciation, and etc. to come forward and speak with her home-stay coordinator about it. So I prepared a lesson around the problem. I included a textbook passage on “Noisy Neighbours” to focus on vocabulary, sentence structure and grammar. The passage had a few reading comprehension and grammar exercises so we used them in class. I also added a newspaper article about a city’s noisy streets and traffic noise as a discussion piece – we spent almost an hour discussing the article which let her use the vocabulary and grammar while speaking and also practice discussing the topic. I also added a great free podcast in order to enhance listening comprehension, that I downloaded from a website and I also included the transcript of it so my student had a reference to look at when she was listening to the recording at home. The podcast was a story about a noisy neighbour and it was written and read in a funny way so it added some humour to the situation. After all this, my student told me she felt confident to speak with her coordinator and in a couple of weeks she was moved to a new home in a much quieter part of town.

The idea of including different technology into your teaching is not in order to show off to your students that you are tech-savvy. It is to help you teach. So if using cell phones and texting in class is not effective to teach grammar, then you don’t use cell phones and texting in your teaching. It is as simple as that.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tutors, Inc. Workshop

TUTORS, INC

In tough economic times, we try to find sources of extra income. In this workshop you will learn how to start and successfully run your ESL tutoring business. You will learn the basics of what makes you a successful ESL tutor and entrepreneur. By the end of the workshop you will have valuable ready-to-use tools in the form of a portfolio that you can use directly with your students. Topics include: marketing your service, teaching methods 1:1, setting your prices, lesson plans, resources, motivating your students, adding value to your service, common mistakes and problems, challenging your students, time-management and many more. Students please bring a bag lunch.

Course number #BV87 1
Cost: $52

Saturday May 15 9:00am-3:30pm
New Westminster Secondary School (ROOM 160C
)

Registration starts March 22, 2010
Call: 604.517.6345
or visit www.ce40.ca

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

As tutors, we are constantly making plans, looking at our schedule, envisioning the near and far future. If we don't manage our time and goals properly we may not advance in our work and it will be difficult to achieve long term goals.

What are your new year's resolutions for 2010?
And how are you planning on achieving them?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Dear friends,

Thank you for your continuous support throughout the year. We are looking forward to working with you again in 2010. We wish you a prosperous new year full of new exciting projects and financial success! We wish you lots of health, love and true friendships!

Cheers,

Tutors, Inc.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Tutors, Inc. Workshop


TUTORS, INC at NWSS
Course #: BV87-2 Cost: $52.00 View courses in your shopping cart
In tough economic times, we try to find sources of extra income. In this workshop you will learn how to start and successfully run your ESL tutoring business. You will learn the basics of what makes you a successful ESL tutor and entrepreneur. By the end of the workshop you will have valuable ready-to-use tools in the form of a portfolio that you can use directly with your students. Topics include: marketing your service, teaching methods 1:1, setting your prices, lesson plans, resources, motivating your students, adding value to your service, common mistakes and problems, challenging your students, time-management and many more. Students please bring a bag lunch.
  • Registration starts at 9:00am Monday, January 4th 2010
Number of sessions: 1
Start date: Feb 6.10
Time: 9:00am - 3:30pm
Days:SAT
Site: NWSS Room 119
Instructor: TEDDY PARVANOVA

Tutors, Inc.

WELCOME TO THE SPACE FOR NEWS, NETWORKING, AND METHODOLOGY FOR ONE-ON-ONE EDUCATORS.