Wednesday, March 9, 2016

READ OC :: Dear Paige Turner

Dear Paige Turner, My learner does not seem to be as motivated as she once was. She attends our sessions, but she often cancels, and she never does practice assignments.
READ Writes: Feb/Mar 2016

What can I do?  -- Perplexed

Dear Perplexed, The adult learners in our program are usually motivated by realistic needs in their everyday life. They are here because learning to read and write will make a very material difference for them. 

However, that doesn’t mean that it is easy to stick with reading tutoring. Keep in mind that for a beginning reader, the tasks that a bookworm might find relaxing and enjoyable can feel like climbing a mountain peak where everyone else always seems to be a few steps ahead. One of the best ways that a tutor can help in this sort of situation is to act like a compassionate and understanding trail buddy, who keeps them focused on both the path right before them, and the ultimate peak above.   Below are some tools to help. -- Paige

 Help your learner set realistic short term goals. Be sure to celebrate even small victories.

 Point out how the things they have learned so far relate to their long term goals. (Show them that they are already halfway up the mountain.)

 Make sure that her original goals that you have been working towards are still relevant to her life. In other words, is she losing interest because she is climbing the wrong mountain?

 Identify practical obstacles. Is your learner cancelling her sessions because she has a frequent schedule conflict?  Is she stuck on a particular concept and embarrassed to say so?  Does she have other home and work obligations that prevent her from dedicating her time to reading? Once you know the root of the problem, together you can brainstorm a way to get past it.

 Are there ways that she could combine the difficult aspects of reading and writing with other activities that she enjoys more? Or other activities that she is required to do on a daily basis? Perhaps she could read short magazine articles on the bus during her commute.

 Help her become the master of her own learning. If she doesn’t respond well to the practice assignments that you assign, have her choose her own ways to practice during the week.  Ask her to help you write the lesson plan for your next session. That way, she will feel more empowered and accountable to herself.

 Give each other a break. Just as athletes can’t maintain peak performance 100% of the time, you should expect your tutoring to flow in fits and starts. One example — it’s hard to concentrate on reading when the bills are due.  It’s ok to miss a week or two to allow her to take care of immediate needs, but that should give her the opportunity to return after the break recharged and ready to learn.

Think of a major goal that you worked hard to accomplish in your life. How did you stay motivated?  You can apply those same lessons to coaching your learner to achieve her reading dreams.  READ MORE @

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