Over the past 15 years, we have been refining our materials in order to take the guesswork out of providing consistent, high quality tutorials. Our weekly course books are designed to give our students everything they need to master new skills each week, as well as enabling a clear line of communication between students, tutors and parents. Let’s take a look at how our course books work…
Here’s what a typical front page looks like. It looks pretty simple, but it actually contains a number of different sections, each of which play an important role in our classes. First up, we have the class objectives. This section provides a concise summary of the learning goals for each week’s class. Students can tick off these objectives when they feel that they have adequately mastered them. This section also has a space where tutors can leave comments for parents to read.
Beneath the class objectives, we have the results section. This section is used to record all of the student’s results for the class. This means that parents can pick up their children’s books and, without even opening it, see how they performed that week.
The next section on the front page is the question slip. Students can use this slip throughout the week to record any problems they have with the homework. We found that, quite often, students have questions or difficulty when completing the homework, but then forget them when they arrive to class the next week. That’s why we believe that it’s important to provide a space for students to write down any questions or problems that they encounter.
The final section of the front page is called the reflection slip. Students are asked to fill this slip out at the end of each class, so that the tutor can get a good idea of how successful the lesson was, and whether their students had any difficulties or concerns. This is all part of our attempt to ensure that we are constantly improving our service.
This page contains a homework table where students record what homework they have been assigned each week. This table is very important because it is the primary channel of communication between parents and tutors. Each week, the tutor, the student and the parent must sign the homework section, to ensure that everyone is on the same page. There is also a section where parents, students and the tutor can leave notes for each other to read. This can be used to pass on messages about difficulties the student is having, or to provide advice on how students can improve their results.
You will also notice that each week has a Victorian Curriculum Achievement Standards table. As you may be aware, our classes are designed to align to the current Victorian Curriculum. This table gives detailed information on what specific learning outcomes are being covered each week.
If the book is an English book, the next page will be the spelling test. Our students are given a spelling test every week to help improve their vocabulary. This page has a space for students to rewrite any word they spelled incorrectly in the test.
At the back of the book, there is also a spelling revision page to help students revise their spelling words throughout the week. Each week, students are given a pre-test of the next week’s spelling words, to test for existing knowledge.
After the spelling test, each book contains a quiz that covers the previous week’s content. This quiz allows students to test how much they have learned, as well as providing a useful way of recapping the previous week’s work.
After the quiz, the book contains all of the class work for the week. In English classes, the content is comprised of a grammar section, which introduces a new grammatical skill, and then a text section, which gives a more in-depth exploration of how to read and write particular text types. In order to ensure students understand all of the content, the class work is broken into four sections. The first section, building knowledge is where the tutor explains a concept. This section gives a summary of all the information that the student needs to learn in each section. This section often starts with an engaging introduction, which is used to get students interested in the topic at hand.
The next section is worked examples. Students are given example questions with full worked solutions. The tutor guides the class through this example, to show students how to answer questions.
Next is the have a go section. This section includes a small amount of questions that are used to quickly test whether students have understood the worked examples. Students are encouraged to have a go at each of these questions. If they get the answer right, they are encouraged to carry on with the practice questions. However, if they get these questions wrong, the tutor knows that they need to spend more time teaching and giving worked examples.
We understand that some students work faster than others. We also understand that there’s few things worse than a student who finishes all the questions early and is left to feel bored and unchallenged. That’s why our books also contain extension questions to challenge students who finish their work early.
At the end of each book is the homework section. Our homework is designed to recap everything that was taught that week, to ensure that our students retain knowledge. When necessary, the homework is split into sections, so that all of the different skills covered in the lesson can be recapped in order.
The end of the book also contains a mistakes section where students are encouraged to redo any question that they got incorrect throughout the class. This is to ensure that our students can learn from their mistakes.
Finally, as of 2017, all of our books now have a full set of answers from the previous week at the end of each book. These answers can be used to correct any work that wasn’t completed in class, and to ensure that students and parents feel confident in the feedback they have been given.
This may seem like a lot of sections just for one week. But it’s all part of Spectrum Tuition’s goal to provide a consistent, well structured and high quality tutoring service each and every week. We have been developing our books for 15 years, and we’re still coming up with ways of making them more effective each day!