I was fortunate to inherit an already well-oiled machine in the OKESS/TAPASS Exponential Education program. The previous term, the Junior High School (JHS) had the most improved scores throughout the programs that Expo was able to carry out last term. My understanding is that this fact boils down to two key factors: The motivation of the Senior High School (SHS) tutors and the support of the faculty at both schools to give us the opportunity to make the magic happen.
After testing the students in a few core math and reading comprehension skills, I was able to identify specific areas where the JHS students were struggling the most and the SHS tutors could make the best impact. Additionally, I observed part of a class and spoke to some of their teachers and decided that English and reading comprehension were the most important. After all, the classes are mostly taught in English and if you can’t understand what the teacher is saying or properly read the instructions on an exam, it will definitely be a struggle to do well and excel.
For these first set of after school tutoring sessions, we have been learning parts of speech and will move on to sentence structure and then focus on keywords and reading comprehension. Even though the JHS students have basic understanding of these topics, we wanted to start from the beginning to build a strong foundation. It is also important to give those who may struggle with the basics a more comfortable environment to learn or reinforce them without ridicule. Although all the students might be able to recite the definition of a verb or a noun, it is the job of our tutors to enable them to understand its function in the sentence and how to use them in writing.
The SHS tutors have been doing an excellent job so far by keeping the kids excited and interested. The kids seem to enjoy the extra attention they get to address specific troubles they are having and the snacks they get don't seem to bother them too much either.
It has been an exciting first few weeks of the term thus far. Personally, I feel that I have learned a great deal about learning styles and teaching styles and being able to adapt to different techniques and facilitate an adequate learning environment. All in all, its been an enriching experience to watch students learn and watch their brains click when they finally able to figure out an issue that they were struggling with and I look forward to seeing how much they have progressed at the midterm.
Ryan Newton is one of our program associates; he wrote this post and took the pictures.