Tutors Need to Inspire Motivation as Well as Facilitate Learning

ACT TutorQuality test preparation is as much about people as it is about a test.  Excellent tutors know that they must continually learn more about their students, just as their students continually learn more about the subject matter at hand.  When an instructor gets to know a student, he or she can explain questions in a manner that the student will better understand.  However, even more importantly, the tutor learns what motivates a student and how to incorporate a student’s natural passion with academic success.

Everyone is motivated about something.  No matter what this passion is, education can help a person accomplish it.  And, I back this claim up to students by showing each of them how education can help them accomplish their individual ambitions. 

One student, let’s call him Thomas, aspires to serve our country in the military and hopes to become a general someday.  He saw little reason to learn the banalities of school, because he assumed that the military would teach him everything he needs to know.  While the military might teach him everything he needs to know, they might not teach him everything he would want to know to excel beyond his peers and optimally perform his duties. 

For instance, a good general should have a holistic understanding of his own forces and those of his opposition.  By learning economics, sociology, political science, and psychology, a general would be much better equipped to understand his foe on multiple levels.  This understanding gives insight into how the opposition thinks and will react.  Mathematics could help evaluate supply necessities and budgetary stipulations.  Ecology could aid with understanding the physical environment.  English and philosophy classes foster the ability to think critically and logically about a subject matter and to work through problems and situations.

After talking with Thomas about how education could help him pursue his passion and reach his potential in his career, he became more enthusiastic about school and much less resentful of the academic rigors that he had previously viewed as unnecessary and inconsequential.  This is one example of how understanding what drives a student and incorporating this ambition with academic work is essential for helping a student to learn. 

Great tutors recognize that superb abilities at explaining questions are not enough and will be ineffective if teaching falls upon deaf or indifferent ears.  For this reason, we not only provide explanations to academic questions, but we provide explanations for why these questions are important and how they will help students to succeed.

Photo by jonandtess.

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