When we tutor a student they are able to get through the work at hand, and that's good.
When we academically coach a student they can tutor themselves both through the current cadre of assignments, test preparation and projects and also through all other future studies, and that is far, far better!
Academic coaching is economical; often in 4-5 sessions I can take a student to the point of being an independent learner, and it's empowering. Too many students whose families engage a tutor see themselves as "broken" or abnormal because they need a tutor. They envision all the other kids in class as mastering the material with ease; a fallacy of course but still it's their perception. Then they see tutoring as proof that they are less able, or "broken." But in academic coaching they learn that all people have gaps, and we have them in all subjects. They master gap-recognition and learn gap-fill techniques. Then their ready to learn how to learn.
Most students have no idea how much work it takes to learn and at the same time they are amazed to find out how many tools have been sitting, unused, while they struggled all alone. Today a myriad of great sites are available for students who want to work smarter, not harder. One of my favorites is a flashcard building site. Here students can build a set of flashcards for themselves and their classmates. Do this once, and send it to your buddies before an upcoming exam and suddenly the whole picture changes! All at once this student who thinks of himself as a struggling, back row, passive player in the classroom becomes a leader ... while still studying plant-parts or the events leading up to the Civil War!
Using social networks for learning also works. On of my clients is a 17 year old prepping for the SAT/ACT exams next Spring. I had her create a twitter account, with mom and dad's full participation and her grandparent's as well. She asks for questions that people who she follows send her in a message account whenever they get a moment during the day and she also tweets analogies and sentences made up of the Latin and Greek root words she's studying to improve her vocabulary. Her network has expanded to include over 5012 people ... viral SAT prep ... how the community of 2011 can help raise the child!
Finally, there are study groups. But these are not your mother's (or father's)study groups ... My coached students form competitive teams with others from around the planet to study on freerice, a site that sends rice to poor nations based on the correct answers to practice tests. There are many subjects but the best is the vocabulary builder with 60 levels of learning.
At SUMMIT Coaching Solutions we are launching a project to build a site along the freerice model, where companies with extra medical supplies can donate them to medicalbridges, a non-profit that sends them to Africa, based on the right answers given to questions posed. The difference is that our academic coaching students and their families will write the questions for the test bank. We will then review them for accuracy and group them by academic level as well as subject. Many people learn best by creating questions, not by just answering them, so the question developer will win as well. I invite your comments on this project and your ideas on how to bring academic coaching to students at all levels of learning.
Pass it on.