Resources from Bill Bavington

scrapbook iconRequest for Advice on 11+ Tuition

I work as a tutor at GCSE and A-level, in maths and the sciences. The problem is what to do to pay the bills in the summer holidays.

I have thought about tutoring the ‘Kent Test’ (which is the 11+ here) through the summer. I have been given differing opinions on this: some say it is easy and I should go for it, others say that it is so unlike tutoring the 15-18 age group that a very different style is needed and parent’s expectations are much higher of the tutor relative to the student given the latter are only 10 years old.

I also wonder if I could be stretching myself too thin so to speak, given the amount of work in keeping up with all the syllabuses and courses for my main subjects. Does anyone have experience of doing the 11+ or has relevant advice to offer?


scrapbook iconMy experience with homemade teaching aids

Feeling that my maths tutoring needed some more variety than the usual studying pages of revision guides and working through exercises and past papers, I decided to make some DIY teaching aids.
One summer I made a demonstration of Pythagoras’s Theorem out of painted plywood. I found this quite time-consuming, given my limited woodworking skills. After that, I made others out of white-fronted cardboard to demonstrate various principles of algebra and geometry. This proved to be easier to do.
I expected students to find these aids a refreshing change and interesting in their own right but generally I have been disappointed. There is usually an initial flicker of interest followed by the sense that what is being demonstrated is either already well-known or is pretty self-evident. Yet, when we come on to exercises and example questions, they show that either they do not really understand the principle demonstrated or at least do not know how to apply it to exam-type problems.
I have wondered about the reasons why these demonstration aids have been relatively ineffective. Generally, of course, most students are attending school and have already encountered the theory of say, Pythagoras’ Theorem, possibly with demonstration aids similar to my own. According to the concept of kinaesthetic learning style, I perhaps need to let them play with the bits and pieces themselves rather than just demonstrate what they are intended to show myself. Maybe, also understanding a concept or principle is very different from having the ability to apply it, particularly for the select population that have identified themselves as needing tuition in the subject.
Do any tutors here have experience with practical teaching aids and or have any thoughts or contributions to make on the subject?


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