For many, having their children home from school brought a new appreciation of the expertise and patience of teachers. For some, there was a new realisation that their child was really struggling with learning.
Some people looked to tutoring to fill this gap and others looked to health professionals. So what's the difference and how do you decide what kind of help your child needs?
- If your child has fallen behind due to difficulty studying at home, or missing lessons; their issue is missed content but not necessarily learning ability. The right tutor can accelerate their learning with 1:1 attention, targeting the gaps in their knowledge.
- If your child has lost motivation to study due to the change in routine and missing school; their issue is the change in learning environment, but not necessarily learning ability. The right tutor can re-engage them 1:1 with goal setting, organisation and managing time, or in a small group working on a particular subject.
- If you've noticed your child has difficulty paying attention, writing, reading or understanding the question, then getting an assessment by a health professional is a great idea. An Educational Psychologist, Speech Pathologist or Occupational Therapist can assess whether there are underlying difficulties that prevent your child from learning as easily as their friends and siblings.
Sometimes I use the analogy of sports coaching vs. physiotherapy. The coach is an expert in teaching their sport, while the physio is an expert in creating a strong and healthy body. If you have an injured muscle, a pain or difficulty with balance and coordination, you see a physiotherapist. If you want to learn a sport, improve your game or compete in a sport, you get a coach. The physio doesn't teach you to play better sport, but they make sure you have a body that is ready to benefit from the sports coaching.
Similarly, while the Teacher and Tutor's expertise is teaching, the Speech Pathologist's focus is the learning. As a Speech Pathologist, I help students who are struggling to develop adequate ability in listening, reading, comprehension, verbal expression and writing. When students have these underlying learning skills, they're better able to absorb the content taught by Teachers and benefit from the support given by Tutors.