When I first started working with John, I was surprised he was struggling in science and math. John was always well prepared for our sessions, with worksheets printed out or his assignment on hand. He was focused, asked meaningful questions, and was always smiling. I soon realized John’s struggle was actually the WAY he prepared, not his effort. He would reread his notes and review old homework assignments. However, merely reading wasn’t doing the trick.
John and I began using an “I do, We do, You do” method during sessions, with a focus on the “You Do” part. This quickly yielded results in math and allowed John to self-correct. For Chemistry, which has a significant amount of content to learn and review, we needed to find an activity in addition to practice problems. John’s Mom and I discussed this and decided he should start outlining his notes. John began creating and building upon an outline before each session. Once I was there, we made corrections and added more information. As we moved forward in the content, John would add to his outline. By the time John had a class exam, the outline had evolved to double as a review sheet – perfect for studying for tests.
The outlining method, coupled with the repetition of practice problems, was the key to John’s success. A few sessions in, John greeted me with a huge grin. He had received a 96 on his chemistry assessment. The next week I was welcomed with both a grin and high five; he had scored 100 on another chemistry test! It was a great feeling to see all his hard work pay off.
Academic Coach & NYC Associate Director