At Top Dog Tutoring, our instruction is designed to teach the required subject or test content, but we will also use that same required material as a vehicle for teaching students how to learn.
Here's a little secret...
Making academic improvements or earning stellar test scores may at first seem like a demanding process, but with guidance from an instructor and a consistent effort from our students, the entire journey to success can also be fun and rewarding.
After all, the objective of just about any academic endeavor or standardized test is very simple: a student must demonstrate a certain skill level through certain applications within a certain time frame. Students who can achieve these three goals are considered “top students.‿
To this end, almost every teaching situation can be broken down into the following plan of attack, through which we expect to increase student confidence and results via three connected principles:
1) Mastering Basic Content
2) Understanding How to Apply Basic Content
3) Quickly But Accurately Demonstrating Accumulated Content Knowledge
In addition, we also expect students to be sensitive to the instructional process of how to learn as they work through their mistakes as well as through the material that they have done correctly. We believe this self-analysis is a key component to learning faster and more effectively.
We encourage students to take their lessons about how to learn back to their classroom. This process will enable students to apply their refined skills to their future assignments and studies.
The Student Experience
As a series of sessions begins, we show respect for our students by getting to know them and by finding out what brought them to us in the first place. We look for information from teachers and parents through applicable report cards and/or grades, written comments, recent student work, etc. In addition, we look to discover student attitudes and self-images with respect to academics, testing, self-confidence, etc.
Throughout the sessions, we ask creative questions which help the students to use their current strengths, skills and talents to address their academic objective. This approach allows the students to participate directly in their growth rather than simply be told "the right answer" or "what to do." We make sure to infuse a healthy dose of patience and encouragement into the learning environment so that students can give themselves a chance to improve--and to keep on improving. Since we value communication between teacher and student, we also encourage students to share their thoughts about the work and progress that occurs during the tutoring process.
In addition, we always keep in mind that it is important to train students to be in control of their academic development. This means that we help students learn to realize when they have "done enough" for a particular goal or assignment. At the same time, students will also learn to recognize when they need help--no matter how minor the issues may be. Furthermore, students will begin to appreciate what questions to ask and how to ask those questions. This knowledge allows students to easily and confidently discuss their needs and therefore makes their learning and/or extra help sessions as efficient as possible.
The more students adhere to these principles and welcome the process, the faster they are going to see results, and the better they are going to feel about themselves and about what they are doing during the sessions.
We believe that our teaching philosophy will empower students to achieve not only their academic goals, but also a sense of how their outlook on school and learning can be changed for life.