Parents often seek my advice on whether their student needs a tutor. This question usually disqualifies the students, because the parent doesn’t think their child needs a tutor. They’re often looking for validation that the student, although on shaky ground, can be successful without a tutor.
But when parents asks who they can contact to help their child, they know he needs a tutor. Or does he? When a student is only struggling in one area, maybe a short-term tutor is necessary. But many times, students are struggling through no fault of their own.
The most common reason for needing a tutor is an extended “absence” from class. I say “absence” in quotes, because a student can be physically present, yet “absent.” Cognitive engagement is the initial spark that leads to learning. And it a skill anyone can acquire.
When a lack of engagement spills over into other content areas, a tutor may still be needed. But the students may benefit from a coach. Not a life coach… an executive function coach. (I wrote a little about executive function skills in my last post here.)
Next week, I will post an article about the states of change continuum. Coaches use this as a skeleton for an exploratory conversation to determine whether a student is a good candidate for executive function coaching. Coaching is expensive, so parents should not invest the money if the student is not ready to change.
Meanwhile, start thinking about skills like task initiation, organization, perseverance, inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility, and so forth. Some students are better than others at integrating them, but anyone can learn the skills.