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It is hard to believe Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was first published nearly 30 years ago. Although all 7 habits are excellent tools for both tutors and students, I believe the Second Habit -- "Begin With the End in Mind" -- can play an important role in creating the foundation for a productive and satisfying learning partnership.   For example, it is no use for a tutor to expect a student to go back and read the assigned book when the analysis paper is due in 48 hours. Similarly, a parent will be bitterly disappointed if they expect an "A" in Chemistry after only a few tutoring sessions. And a student shouldn't expect to learn a semester's worth of Physics without completing a single assignment.   Tutors can start this conversation by asking a few key questions: "What would you like to accomplish during our time together?" and "How would that accomplishment look to you?" Follow up questions... read more

Here is the thing about watching Zig Ziglar in video: "He makes me feel like a kid in the 70's." But, his principles for success ring true:   Identify the Goal (Clear, identify the target, nothing nebulous and be specific) List the Benefits  (For you, what you want, vitally important) List the Obstacles to Overcome (Anticipate in advance, things that could prevent you, find accountability) List the Skills and Knowledge Required (Knowledge = power , skills = tools , knowing + doing = powerful combination) Identify the People and Groups to Work with ( Who can help you? , knowledge + skill = value needed for success) Develop a Plan of Action (Critical, step-by-step details to achieve your goal) Set a Deadline (For accountability sake to yourself and who you are working with , unaccountable = unsuccessful)   To conclude with a simple math formula:   Knowledge + tools + doing + accountability...

1) MEANINGFUL: Ensure that it is the most meaningful to the client/student. Get to know your client/student, and the skills strengths and currently less strong areas. Build up both areas of skills and strategies in a positive manner.   2) ENJOYABLE: Allow learning to be enjoyable. It can be, even when preparing for a deadline or important examinations. Turn it into a game. Research shows that students, both kids and adults, learn faster and retain more if it is enjoyable. This can only happen if the tutor actually loves to learn and to see the student excel.   3) OWNERSHIP AND LEARNING PREFERENCES FOR FASTER COMPREHENSION: Provided the goals are being reached within the required time frame, allow the client/student to choose (or even create if the individual desires to) which preferred ways the client's goals can be reached. Ownership of the learning process, even if it is part ownership, enables clients to learn faster and to retain more. While not ignoring... read more

When I talk with my students about goal-setting, I encourage them to think hard about their goals and really hone in on what it will take to reach that goal. I encourage them to create SMART goals, along with an action plan. Often, our thought process is general and vague - this leads us to set goals that we aren't going to meet, which is why people often give up on their New Year's resolutions. "Saving money" and "losing weight" are common goals that many people have, but these are example of non-SMART goals. Likewise, many students set non-SMART goals when it comes to their academics. SMART is an acronym that can help students set personal and academic goals. I break it down here:  Specific: A goal of “getting good grades” is too general. Instead, specify what exactly will be accomplished. What grade are you shooting for? In what class? A SMART goal would instead look like “Raising my Geometry grade from a B- to a B by next semester.” Measurable: Establish... read more

Every piano teacher uses different techniques and styles of teaching in their piano lessons. The way they teach is usually based upon their 'teaching philosophy' or their beliefs on teaching and learning and how they incorporate these beliefs into their lessons. Most experienced instructors will have a written teaching philosophy and students/parents should not hesitate to ask their teacher to share it with them. Two important concepts to consider within a teaching philosophy are 'performance goals' and 'learning goals'. There are pros and cons to both, so let us first read the following descriptions: -Performance Goals: emphasis on doing better than others and publicly proving one’s high ability. Approaching academic challenges with the desire to gain favorable and to avoid unfavorable evaluations of competence. Performance goals include learning a piece for competitions, recitals, or to impress teachers/parents/peers. -Learning Goals: emphasis... read more

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