New report cards reinforce goals of supplemental education services

Sunday, November 28, 2010   by: Kate AdamsStory submitted

The new report cards should be taken as seriously as those without letter grades because they can provide some good information about how a student is progressing and adapting to the learning.

Oxford Learning, a supplemental education service, helps students develop very specific strategies. They actually focus on the areas addressed in the new report cards, that students need to improve on, such as “initiative” and “independent work”. As these skill sets are developed along side a teacher at the learning centre, they can then be transferred to the regular school classroom.

“Achievement depends on both academic ability and motivation. When kids can work independently, they feel good about themselves and will learn more efficiently”, says Danielle Trudeau, the operator of the North Bay Oxford location. “ We teach students the academic foundations they need and based on their learning style and cognitive assessment results, we also teach them how they can learn in a way that uses their natural strengths. It’s much more than just skill tutoring or memorization. The combination allows them to gain true confidence and soar academically as a result. When they see that they can be successful with each attempt, they start enjoying the process.

“Given the way school budgets are being slashed these days, I just don’t think an average education is sufficient,” says David Drum, an Oxford parent. “The real purpose of education is to prepare children to become successful adults. Children need confidence and self-esteem to equip them for their learning challenges for the rest of their lives.”

Janice Aurini, a professor of sociology at the University of Waterloo, describes the growth in supplemental education as a "revolution," created largely by educated parents who feel they want to provide more for their children. One of the few people tracking the rise of tutoring, Aurini cites a Canadian Council on Learning survey that found that most students who are tutored are already getting A's and B's in the public school system and have parents who help them with homework. These parents aren't against public school education. They just want more for their kids.

“If I want my child to learn music I’d enroll her in music lessons. I wouldn’t expect the public school system to develop her full potential just because she gets music at school”, says parent Karen Scholl. “Oxford teaches her right in their own centre, things that would be impossible to teach properly in a regular classroom. There’s no extra work to do at home, and she loves going because she says gets it!”

"Initially, I thought that this was a marker that somehow the public system was failing," says Aurini. "But in surveys and interviews I found that not to be the case. "In general I see this more as a cultural shift. Kids go to soccer and there's a 'lesson culture' in general. Tutoring is part of that."

“Too many children just memorize their way through school. Supplemental programs enrich the entire education process,” says Drum. “They are part of our family’s educational experience and they will stay that way.”
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