Although an experienced science teacher and tutor, going to Dorset for a tutoring assignment was my first experience of a residential placement. I worked with a client whose son was in their final year of Sherborne College doing their AS and A2 biology.
As it was over the final half-term of the academic year I and the student were very much pressed for time. Utilising my familiarity with the specification for AS and A2 biology we worked at a fast pace; the luxury of time did not exist. Over two full days I structured a specification and past paper led approach, we read the statements within the specification and I probed the student for their knowledge and understanding via active recall, the process of learning via actively stimulating learning via directed and relevant questioning. For example not just learning what DNA is but to also question what DNA does. With eight hours intense work each day I took a targeted approach to cover as much of the specification as possible whilst probing the students understanding and exhibiting student progress via their response to relevant past paper questions. My goal had to be realistic as I could not teach two years of content in two days. I devised a strategy to both build confidence in the student – the can do via successful responses to questioning – and to equip them with the ability to use the specification and past papers to revise in-line with what the examination board expects the student to know. I made it clear they would have to put in many independent hours to cover the rest of the specification but enabled them to do so.
Having lived in London for the last 14 years I have not felt the need to work outside but this experience has changed my perspective. With an easy commute from London I was met by the family at a train station near their village and was extremely well looked after. The views from the room I stayed were such a refreshing change from the urban landscape I have become acclimatised too.
I have done intense tutoring before in London but found residential tutoring productive as on the second day I was there, the student was there and we could just start early and make the most out of the time. I would most recommend residential tutoring opportunities to prospective tutors. When time is limited residential tutoring provides more freedom and more convenience to work more effectively when up against the clock.
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