Why We’re Different from Conventional Tutoring

October 20, 2017

We’re often asked how the service we provide differs from conventional tutoring.

It’s a pertinent question, as both our approach and conventional tutoring seek to help students who encounter difficulties learning in school. In a sense, we do provide a type of tutoring, so the possibility of confusion is understandable. We’ve thought long and hard about how to answer this question, clearly and concisely. Here’s the result.

Learning in school involves curriculum work, as well as skill sets. We focus on skill sets.

In order to pursue any curriculum successfully, a student needs certain fundamental skills. For example: understanding spoken language when hearing it; comprehending written language while reading or writing; basic mathematical concepts; or knowing how to spell. We all need such fundamental knowledge in order to absorb information and express ourselves.

Algebra, history, science, and trigonometry are examples of subjects within a curriculum, rather than skills. While history isn’t a skill, we require skills such as reading and comprehension in order to learn it. We must be able to recall what we’ve read, and use what we recall, to answer questions in class or on a test. In-class discussions draw on expressive language skills, while writing test answers calls for literacy skills. At Novaread, rather than focusing on specific curriculum work, we help students develop the underlying skills they need in order to address any curriculum.

Here’s another way to think about the difference. Imagine finding yourself isolated on a beautiful island for the next 10 years. You have no books, no math problems to solve, and no one whose language you need to understand. The 10 years pass, and on your way home you’re given a book to read. You’re able to read the book because you’ve retained your reading skills, even though you haven’t used them for a decade. If asked to write a brief description of your stay on the island, you could. You wouldn’t even have forgotten to include the silent ’s’ when you spell the word “island.” If asked to add 9 + 5 or multiply 8 x 8 you could.

The skills that enable you to do these things are neurological processes.They aren’t remembered in the way facts are. We don’t remember how to read or how to comprehend, once our brains have learned how to. That’s why we don’t forget these skill sets. Conversely, you might forget how to properly structure an essay, or how to solve for x in y = mx + b. You may not remember who won a historical war you studied prior to your 10-year vacation.

Curriculum is all about acquiring such knowledge, but its acquisition depends on certain skill sets being in place. That’s why, at Novaread, we concentrate on helping our students learn the skill sets they’ll need in order to master any curriculum they may encounter throughout their education, and their lives beyond school.

For additional information please contact our Halifax or Bedford office via phone (1.902.425.7323) or email (info@novaread.com).