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 Post subject: What do the tutors do?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2014 7:25 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:15 am
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Anyone here whose children were tutored for 11+? Could you please tell us what kind of things were the tutors doing with the children? What kind of books/materials they use? Are most of them commercially available or prepared by the tutors? I am trying to prepare my dc myself, but i am afraid of not doing the right things. Especially helping my child to learn a lot of new words, since English is not his first language, i see gaps in his vocabulary and am a bit lost how to introduce new vocab in a way that will stick in their head. Just reading is not enough, because i see my dc understands words when in a book, but out of context often cannot explain or define them. Was wondering whether tutors prapare more materials that are not available on the market, or have some tricks up their sleeve, etc. thanks for any advice.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2014 12:08 am 
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What type of test is your child preparing for? Verbal and Non-verbal reasoning or English & Maths tests? What age group & level is your DC at the moment? If you consider choosing a tutor, please be aware that there are some tutors not familiar with the KS2 National Levels & sub-levels or have no formal training teaching children with English as a Second Language.

A friend paid her DS's tutor a lot of money to have him prepared for the Tiffin's test this year using GL books bought by the parents, and the tutor provided only some flash cards. (The child didn't pass the 11+ test :(.
In all honesty I don't think a child can benefit from repetitive & robotic sessions of reading words without understanding meaning in context.
If preparing for 11+ Creative writing test, then listening to stories, reading as often as possible from a variety of sources and writing are a MUST! ... & will help expand vocabulary.
You should be able to get Competent advise from school on strategies to be used at home with your DS. Most schools in my area have somebody specially trained who in charge of the EAL department always ready to help or advise.
Good luck!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2014 1:14 am 
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Our dd did two years with a well established local tutor. He's been running his business for approx. 20 years and essentially runs a mini-school, teaching 11+ and GCSE subjects. He had a separate teacher for the year 4's and taught the year 5's himself. Average class sizes were 12-15 and seemed to increase towards the end.

All material was supplied as their own material, however one of the students recognised some questions in his mock test as being from an off the shelf pack. Dd attended two hour lessons covering all aspects of the local (CEM) tests. For various reasons, I still felt the need to keep an eye on her performance and sit with her, explaining various aspects of homework. In this tutors case, he wasn't brilliant at proactively providing feedback, but did do on request. I spoke to another tutor and he seemed more focused on the parental relationship, and end advised not to switch as this would only confuse my dd.

Every week dd got a substantial homework booklet to complete, and was asked to learn 20 words for spellings/synonyms/antonyms. Towards the end, they were doing more tests and less learning, as you'd expect. In the end dd passed both tests she sat and got good enough scores to get into all the schools the tests cover. I'm note sure if this would have been the case if I hadn't pushed so hard plus I also supplemented last few weeks with lots (and I mean lots) of practice tests/questions.

Many parents get their kids through the exams without using tutors, although I'm also aware that some use tutors but won't admit to it. Personally I'm glad I organised a tutor, however would consider either reducing the time at the tutor to one year, or just using the material I've accumulated for second dc. There's lots on excellent material available in high street bookshops, online book stores and even this website. Also, there's some excellent material in these forums, you just need to invest time to find it.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2014 7:41 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
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ninanina wrote:
Anyone here whose children were tutored for 11+? Could you please tell us what kind of things were the tutors doing with the children? What kind of books/materials they use? Are most of them commercially available or prepared by the tutors? I am trying to prepare my dc myself, but i am afraid of not doing the right things. Especially helping my child to learn a lot of new words, since English is not his first language, i see gaps in his vocabulary and am a bit lost how to introduce new vocab in a way that will stick in their head. Just reading is not enough, because i see my dc understands words when in a book, but out of context often cannot explain or define them. Was wondering whether tutors prapare more materials that are not available on the market, or have some tricks up their sleeve, etc. thanks for any advice.


Have you seen the section here on the website http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/preparation gives lots of hints - there are also games that can help with vocabulary etc. There are plenty of people who help their own children to prepare for the exams.

Tutors don't have a magic wand, they use the training they have to help the children understand more and gain more confidence in the techniques needed for answering questions. How much difference they can make in a child getting through an exam is of course debatable - you can't try the exam with and without tutoring in the same child.

There are many children who would pass anyway and many also who, even with a great deal of tutoring, will never pass. Good tutors should be able to help you with this.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 9:20 pm 
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hermanmunster wrote:
Tutors don't have a magic wand, they use the training they have to help the children understand more and gain more confidence in the techniques needed for answering questions.


Just wanted to make it clear that the tutor industry is totally unregulated. Anyone can set themselves up as a tutor and they require no training whatsoever. Some may be trained teachers, but many are not.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 10:32 pm 
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Excellent (and slightly frightening) point wonderwoman


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 10:36 pm 
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No CRB checks either; yikes!!


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 7:41 am 
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As I mentioned on another thread, DD went to look at a job tutoring in Sainsburys. All they wanted was a GCSE grade C or above in Maths and English and a passion for delivering excellence in the 'tutoring kids while their parents do the shopping' arena.

They were paying the minimum wage which at DD's age is I think £5.18 an hour. She would have needed a CRB for that (or DBS as it is now called) so while heading for a big company might leave you reassured that your child won't be molested by a known s ex offender, you may have some concerns about the quality of the pedagogical experience your child will have.

Incidentally that wage, for tutoring, is lower than every supermarket job in the area, almost all the waitressing jobs and far lower than her 16 year old brother is earning in a sports-related Saturday job. Just goes to show that 'child care' which is what that outfit essentially is, is still little valued in England today.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 10:59 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2014 11:48 am
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Not sure why I would pay someone less qualified than me without a vested interest in success a great deal of money to do something I can do myself. However, you have to do what works for your personal situation and there is no right or wrong approach. There that's me trying to be reasonable. Good luck with whatever you choose.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 11:35 pm 
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sbarnes wrote:
No CRB checks either; yikes!!


Quite - I had put that in my original reply but decided to take it out as I didn't want to be accused of scaremongering. But I do fear that an unsavoury group of society may have switched from sports coaching, which has worked hard with regards to safeguarding, to tutoring.

What a great idea from Sainsbury's! Pester free shopping whilst your offspring is educated.


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