Academic Coaching

Study Hut tutors are effective, first and foremost, because we are practiced students. With the rote mechanics of school still fresh in our minds, we’re familiar with all categories of study — tests and quizzes, essays, long-term research, et cetera — and the skills demanded by each. Also, with several stages of school under our belts, we remember, as our own homework loads piled higher and higher, how we learned to study more efficiently. Our first step in middle school academic coaching is making sure that students know how to absorb their material, and the second is teaching them how to do it more quickly. This second step is often overlooked, but it is essential and employs the same strategy that helps a marathon runner turn one mile into twenty-six.

Middle School Academic Coaching

Middle School Academic Coaching

Given the right amount of time with students, we not only teach them what they’re studying but also coach them in how to study it. With us they learn how to plan their studies like an itinerary: to set schedules and establish goals. Studying is many times more fruitful when students clearly envision the targets they’re aiming toward. Furthermore, the tutor often functions as a kind of audience, a compelling device for the student. It is one thing to learn for yourself, and quite another to be forced to explain it for someone else. In effect, the students learn the most rudimentary skills of tutoring, and this is when they become truly intimate with their studies.

Our final goal in middle school academic coaching is that students learn how to check their own progress and learn from their mistakes. As with any sport, it’s important to watch game film and critique yourself. Of course we don’t punish for errors, but we do ask students to observe them, to retrace their steps and find the flaws in their logic. We also encourage students to see education as a means to self-discovery. We teach students the techniques we know so that they might develop their own strategies, figuring out along the way what kinds of people they are, how they absorb information and look at the world. Several of the students who have been with us for years (and some for only a few months) have grown into themselves admirably, fashioning their own study routines and using their tutors mostly as supervisors to help them with especially hard concepts. This is when middle school academic coaching has been the most successful. In one sense, we know we have done our job when we feel students beginning to take the reins.