Children who struggle with learning in a “teaching” environment will usually respond well when “trained.” Training is different than teaching. Teaching means “to impart the knowledge,” to tell someone how to do something. Training is “to form by instruction, discipline or drill.” Teachers cause learning by providing information; trainers facilitate (help bring about) learning. These are opposites and so rarely will one person be good at both methods.
A class environment is great as an introduction but most people, at some time, for some things, will require a trainer in order to succeed. A golf pro, in a one-on-one session, will first watch her student hit the ball. By evaluating what she saw, she will be able to give explicit instruction and demonstration to improve or correct the stroke. A fitness coach will develop a program specific to a person’s goals and abilities, train in a hands-on way, and modify the program as the client’s abilities develop. A voice coach will listen intently to her student and assist him in obtaining the required tone.
For many people, learning how to learn requires a coach who will watch what the student is doing in order to recognize the reasoning behind the errors. Alternative approaches can then be learned through one-on-one coaching.
Unless the parent has taken specialized training, it is not usually wise for the parent to be the coach. That would be like a golf pro telling a child’s non-golfing mother what the child should do. Professional figure skaters, football players, skiers, singers, musicians, and jockeys have coaches. They learn their skills by intense and disciplined practice. Hockey players don’t practice by playing hockey. During practice they work on very specific elements of the game. Struggling readers will not develop reading skills merely by reading; they need to work on very specific elements of the processes involved in reading.
A specialist in the training of learning skills should work one-on-one with your child at least two or three times a week and prescribe and monitor very specific practice between sessions (these can be supervised by a parent). The results must be measurable with pre- and post-testing. For most struggling readers, a good program, with a good coach, should see three to four years of improvement within four months.
Training versus teaching. Which is best for your child? Our initial assessment will determine which program is most suitable for your child. Contact Accomplished Learning Centres today at 604.539.1386.