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Sugar Awareness Week: The Effects of Too Much Sugar on Children’s Learning

Believe it or not, sugar doesn’t actually cause children to become hyperactive. That’s right! Although this myth has been closely held by many for a long time, it was proven without a doubt in a 1994 study that sugar has no effect on chil…

Academic Success Formula: How Extraordinary Students Get Results

Chapter 2.1: Envisioning an ‘A’ Student: Developing a Growth Mindset

When a student is struggling in school, there is usually more to the issue than just academic abilities. Nearly every parent tells us that they know deep down something could be done to make school easier or more approachable for their student, but we often end up focusing too much on grades. At Tutor Doctor, we don’t believe “fixing” grades should be the true goal of tutoring. Although important, merely addressing grades is only a temporary solution. We believe that helping a student to develop their own positive strategies and attitudes towards education is essential to the learning process – and ultimately what leads to their own personal fulfillment.

Every student is truly unique, and there is no blanket solution that works for everyone. Grades are merely a reflection of the student’s academic habits, and no two students are exactly alike.

At eight-years-old, Emma was a well-liked student in her school, but often received average grades because of her tendency to be quiet in class. Emma was very social when it came to her hobbies and her friends, but lacked the confidence to participate in the classroom. When we gave Emma a math assessment, she completed 80% of it perfectly. The remaining problems were simply left blank – a classic example of how Emma, like many students, would “close up” when approached with concepts she didn’t understand. After working with Emma intently, she soon became engaged in the material, and was able to approach these problems with critical thinking and confidence. The issue holding Emma back was not her academic strengths, but rather her mindset when it came to effective learning. At Tutor Doctor, our goal is to help students develop a “Growth Mindset” – a more engaged and motivated attitude towards learning in general, even when challenged.

Carol Dweck, a Stanford psychologist, performed a detailed study to examine how a student’s mindset affects their overall performance in school. With thousands of students participating in the study, Dweck was able to divide them into two groups, one of which received brief training on the “Growth Mindset.” The results were staggering.

Here are some of the widely disproved beliefs held by the “Fixed Mindset” students:

  • You’re either “smart” or you’re not
  • Some people are just “good” at math (i.e. the “math gene”)
  • Some people can do it, and some people just can’t
  • If you get something wrong, you’re probably just not that clever

As a contrast, the “Growth Mindset” group of students had a much more positive attitude towards learning and education in general:

  • Everybody can learn if they put in the effort
  • The learning process requires us to try new things
  • Making mistakes along the way is an integral part of this process

Positively encouraging students to challenge themselves is more crucial to the learning process than fixing a low grade in a specific subject. Students need to be encouraged to make mistakes! We actually learn more when we make mistakes because they require us to examine our work to find where the error occurred. This has been proven scientifically as well – Dweck’s research from MRI scans shows that every time a student makes a mistake in school, a new brain synapse is formed. This is what the Growth Mindset is all about – accepting that concepts that challenge us are a good thing, and through perseverance and application, we CAN do it!

We have had countless students that, right off the bat, we know they will not benefit from conventional approaches to teaching. Until the student’s habitual response to learning, growing, and making mistakes has changed, the process will continue to get harder (and ultimately, the problem will worsen). Whether it’s a fixed mindset, fear, stress, or lack of interest – students have many different reasons for struggling in school. At Tutor Doctor, we believe there is more than the ‘A’ grade. Success and achievement can only come from a positive attitude towards learning, and we believe everyone has the potential inside them, just waiting to come out. Our brains are designed to grow and learn, and when we set our mind to something, there is no limit to what we can achieve!

Find out more about our book HERE.

Welcome the New Year with Tutor Doctor’s Goal Setting Tips

Are you planning to make a new year’s resolution? We suggest setting a new year’s goal instead! When you set a goal, you have a definite end result in mind that you are working towards. Some goals may be harder to reach than others. Whate…

Family Activities During the Holidays

It’s that time of year again! The holidays are around the corner, and it will soon be a new year! Although it can be tempting to spend vacations sleeping in every day, you might want to try some of these cool family activities to keep you (and …

The Best Way to Balance Study and Fun Over the Holidays

This time of year, many of our students will find themselves on a well-deserved break from school! Everyone should try to take a breather during the holiday season, but it can be hard to get “back into gear” when vacation is over. Most te…

Great apps to help your children learn to code

Coding, the art of writing in computer language, is essentially the backbone of all technology today. From the apps on your cell phone to the headlights in your car, everything is designed and controlled by programming code. Considering that technolo…

Why your kids should consider volunteer work

Volunteer work is a great way of giving back to your community, and also helps to foster a sense of personal self-accomplishment! Helping others actually has some surprising benefits that may not immediately come to mind when we think of volunteer wo…

Why your kids should consider volunteer work

Volunteer work is a great way of giving back to your community, and also helps to foster a sense of personal self-accomplishment! Helping others actually has some surprising benefits that may not immediately come to mind when we think of volunteer wo…

Great Educational Apps for All Ages

At Tutor Doctor, we think technology is awesome! When it comes to “apps”, people often think of social media, entertainment, or email. Believe it or not, there are actually a ton of great educational apps that help make the learning process fun and engaging! Here are three of our top picks, which are great for students of all ages.

  1. Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a fantastic app that offers a multitude of online classes, which include (but are not limited to) math, science, computing, arts, humanities, and test prep. The best part is that Khan Academy is completely free! You can use this app on any platform, whether you’re at home on a computer or on-the-go using your phone. Younger students are given an assessment test that effectively places them at the right grade and difficulty level. By employing educational videos and practice problems, Khan Academy has proven to be a viable option for “outside the classroom” education. In fact, Khan Academy is now backed by the US Department of Education, so we highly recommend taking advantage of this free app!

  1. Duolingo

Duolingo is one of the best language-learning apps out there. Using fun educational games and visual aids, Duolingo makes learning a foreign language easy and accessible to students of all ages. Duolingo offers a huge array of languages to choose from, including Spanish, French, German, and Italian. Duolingo packs a huge amount of content into a small app – 23 languages and 68 courses are currently offered. Plus, it’s completely free! The creators of Duolingo say that 34 hours in the app is equitable to a semester of class at school, so if you’re looking for a convenient way to learn foreign language on your own time, Duolingo may be a great option for you!

  1. Udacity

Udacity is a best for older ages, including high school and college level students that want to learn and pursue new career paths. Udacity offers courses from highly in-demand industries, often in technology. There are some very cool classes on Udacity – Web and App Design, Virtual Reality Development, Self Driving Car Technologies, and Artificial Intelligence – just to name a few! In fact, Udacity offers “nanodegrees” in these field-specific areas. Although you can expect to spend $2000 USD for a full set of nanodegree courses, Udacity is so confident in the program that they back up their services with a job guarantee: if you can’t find a job upon graduation, they will pay for your tuition. For students interested in entering modern career paths and working with technology, Udacity is a great place to start!

 

Apps are an awesome way to learn! Although it can be tempting to check out that new cat video someone just sent you, we recommend checking out some of these great educational resources next time you have some free time. We think you will be impressed at how these apps utilize and take advantage of technology to make learning more fun and engaging. There are tons of other great learning apps out there, so don’t hesitate to browse your app store and challenge your mind!

Tips to Help Tackle Cyberbullying

“Trolls,” as they are known on social media, can be described as this generation’s new bullies. However, unlike traditional bullies, social media trolls often have the advantage of remaining completely anonymous – and as a res…

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