An acquaintance contacted me earlier this year as she was looking for English lessons for her nephews over the school holiday in December while their parents were away. We agreed to 5 lessons in a span of 2 weeks to focus on daily English plus 1 assessment session. The older of the two is 8 years old and the younger one is 6 years old.
During the assessment, I noticed that the 8 year old was proficient. He was aware of many of the words, but, because of lack of practice, he could not remember the words. The 6 year old on the other hand, did need a little bit more time especially with writing. The interesting thing I discovered was that the younger one would follow very closely everything his elder brother read or spelled.
In one of the lessons, I realised that the younger brother struggled with writing. I didn’t blame him. I had him write and speak the same thing his older brother was writing and learning. Imagine a 6 year old having to write, ‘I use the mirror to look at my face.’ He clearly needed more time and I began to see him getting frustrated that his brother was progressing faster than him. The elder brother on the other hand began feeling bored that he had to wait up.
What do I do? I split their work.
The elder brother continued answering and writing while the younger brother did spelling of everyday words. I finally saw a smile on both faces. Always set children to win. And they will excel.
This is why I keep my tutoring classes small. So that I can improvise and run different lessons at the same time without anyone drifting away or me losing focus.