Help

AnariaJP
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2011 6:54 pm

Help

Postby AnariaJP » Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:04 pm

So, I began tutoring someone for the LSAT about 2 months ago. I'm using PowerScore Bibles and chunks from tons of PTs. Mostly, I am just helping her wrap her head around the material by going over the PS's lessons, creating a detailed study schedule and going over problems with her. I am also pulling a little from Pithy's methods (esp in the LG). We meet for about 4-6 hours a week and she is expected to put in 1-3 hours a day of at home study time (although I am doubtful this is happening).

Anyway, I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of the LSAT and I did very well on the actual test myself. Infact, I really enjoy the LSAT and have fun teaching it. BUT, my student is just not doing well. We are two months and two diagnostics in (a third is about to take place but I do not have high hopes) and she is still scoring in the 130's. She hopes to score in the 160's by June.... I, however, do not even see her scoring in the 160's by October.

Two months into my LSAT studying I pulled my score up by atleast 15 points from my initial PT diagnostic of 150. So, I just don't feel like we are making any progress... I am open to the idea that I am a terrible teacher and just don't realize it. On the otherhand, does anyone out there have any advice for me? Should I have the "is this really for you" conversation or just keep hammering away? Are there any tutors out there with any tips?
Last edited by AnariaJP on Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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princeR
Posts: 308
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:10 pm

Re: Tutoring help!

Postby princeR » Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:59 pm

AnariaJP wrote:So, I began tutoring someone for the LSAT about 2 months ago. I'm using PowerScore Bibles and chunks from tons of PTs. Mostly, I am just helping her wrap her head around the material by going over the PS's lessons, creating a detailed study schedule and going over problems with her. I am also pulling a little from Pithy's methods (esp in the LG). We meet for about 4-6 hours a week and she is expected to put in 1-3 hours a day of at home study time (although I am doubtful this is happening).

Anyway, I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of the LSAT and I did very well on the actual test myself. Infact, I really enjoy the LSAT and have fun teaching it. BUT, my student is just not doing well. We are two months and two diagnostics in (a third is about to take place but I do not have high hopes) and she is still scoring in the 130's. She hopes to score in the 160's by June.... I, however, do not even see her scoring in the 160's by October.

Two months into my LSAT studying I pulled my score up by atleast 15 points from my initial PT diagnostic of 150. So, I just don't feel like we are making any progress... I am open to the idea that I am a terrible teacher and just don't realize it. On the otherhand, does anyone out there have any advice for me? Should I have the "is this really for you" conversation or just keep hammering away? Are there any tutors out there with any tips?

I would definitely NOT do this. You are her tutor, that is it. It is not your position to advise her about possibly not taking a test that she is putting effort and hope into. That would completely destroy any confidence she might have. Is she getting assigned homework? Are you checking to see if she's doing it?

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suspicious android
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Re: Tutoring help!

Postby suspicious android » Mon Apr 02, 2012 6:32 pm

You might or might not be a terrible tutor, if you've only had a few students it's honestly hard to know. You're probably not great at it yet just because I find that it takes a good bit of practice to understand what students need, what they want, and how to artfully bridge that gap. There's also a good chance that you're a decent or even pretty good tutor, and she's either a crappy or hopeless student. Characteristics of crappy and hopeless students:

Crappy type 1: doesn't do any work outside of class. Gently remind her that she needs to put in a couple hours of self-study time for every hour with you to really see significant improvement. After you've done that, feel free to let her pay you to explain conditional reasoning for the eightieth time. Don't feel guilty. A surprisingly common type of student.

Crappy type 2: nods enthusiastically at every point you make but doesn't listen. Runs through huge amounts of material, will do 10 preptests in 5 days, but won't do any substantial review. Typically finishes LR sections in 30 minutes or less. Every single time you show point out something, will say "Oh, I totally get that, yeah, exactly." Will make the same mistake next time, and enthusiastically agree it's a pattern she needs to watch out for. Point out to her that she's not addressing the fundamental problems in her understanding of logic, careful reading, etc., and that she's just practicing making mistakes at a faster rate. Don't feel guilty. Thankfully a relatively rare type of student

Hopeless type: Practices for hours a day, listens to every word you say as though it were gospel. Will understand an issue and explain it in very general terms when prompted, but can't apply those ideas to actual questions no matter how many times you try. Doesn't get questions right at a significantly higher rate when working untimed rather than timed. If there is no progress after several weeks, you need to suggest that she seek out remedial practice for reading skill; novels, newspapers, journals, poetry, anything and everything. Suggest a later test date, appraise her of the realistic chances of score improvements and entrance requirements to her law school of choice. Feel guilty if you continue tutoring her if you don't see progress. A distressingly common type of student (10-20%?) Despite the rah-rah enthusiasm championed here on TLS, a sizable portion of college educated adults have no realistic chance to hit 160 on this test.

AnariaJP
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2011 6:54 pm

Re: Help

Postby AnariaJP » Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:48 pm

princeR wrote:
AnariaJP wrote:So, I began tutoring someone for the LSAT about 2 months ago. I'm using PowerScore Bibles and chunks from tons of PTs. Mostly, I am just helping her wrap her head around the material by going over the PS's lessons, creating a detailed study schedule and going over problems with her. I am also pulling a little from Pithy's methods (esp in the LG). We meet for about 4-6 hours a week and she is expected to put in 1-3 hours a day of at home study time (although I am doubtful this is happening).

Anyway, I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of the LSAT and I did very well on the actual test myself. Infact, I really enjoy the LSAT and have fun teaching it. BUT, my student is just not doing well. We are two months and two diagnostics in (a third is about to take place but I do not have high hopes) and she is still scoring in the 130's. She hopes to score in the 160's by June.... I, however, do not even see her scoring in the 160's by October.

Two months into my LSAT studying I pulled my score up by atleast 15 points from my initial PT diagnostic of 150. So, I just don't feel like we are making any progress... I am open to the idea that I am a terrible teacher and just don't realize it. On the otherhand, does anyone out there have any advice for me? Should I have the "is this really for you" conversation or just keep hammering away? Are there any tutors out there with any tips?

I would definitely NOT do this. You are her tutor, that is it. It is not your position to advise her about possibly not taking a test that she is putting effort and hope into. That would completely destroy any confidence she might have. Is she getting assigned homework? Are you checking to see if she's doing it?


PrinceR, I hear you. And you are right. I understand what it is like to want something, and it is not my place to steer her away from her goals. I assign her homework and we go over what she has completed. However, she does not always do it. There is only so much I can force another adult to do, right? But, we met yesterday and I am feeling a little better about the whole situation.
Last edited by AnariaJP on Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

AnariaJP
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2011 6:54 pm

Re: Tutoring help!

Postby AnariaJP » Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:51 pm

suspicious android wrote:You might or might not be a terrible tutor, if you've only had a few students it's honestly hard to know. You're probably not great at it yet just because I find that it takes a good bit of practice to understand what students need, what they want, and how to artfully bridge that gap. There's also a good chance that you're a decent or even pretty good tutor, and she's either a crappy or hopeless student. Characteristics of crappy and hopeless students:

Crappy type 1: doesn't do any work outside of class. Gently remind her that she needs to put in a couple hours of self-study time for every hour with you to really see significant improvement. After you've done that, feel free to let her pay you to explain conditional reasoning for the eightieth time. Don't feel guilty. A surprisingly common type of student.

Crappy type 2: nods enthusiastically at every point you make but doesn't listen. Runs through huge amounts of material, will do 10 preptests in 5 days, but won't do any substantial review. Typically finishes LR sections in 30 minutes or less. Every single time you show point out something, will say "Oh, I totally get that, yeah, exactly." Will make the same mistake next time, and enthusiastically agree it's a pattern she needs to watch out for. Point out to her that she's not addressing the fundamental problems in her understanding of logic, careful reading, etc., and that she's just practicing making mistakes at a faster rate. Don't feel guilty. Thankfully a relatively rare type of student

Hopeless type: Practices for hours a day, listens to every word you say as though it were gospel. Will understand an issue and explain it in very general terms when prompted, but can't apply those ideas to actual questions no matter how many times you try. Doesn't get questions right at a significantly higher rate when working untimed rather than timed. If there is no progress after several weeks, you need to suggest that she seek out remedial practice for reading skill; novels, newspapers, journals, poetry, anything and everything. Suggest a later test date, appraise her of the realistic chances of score improvements and entrance requirements to her law school of choice. Feel guilty if you continue tutoring her if you don't see progress. A distressingly common type of student (10-20%?) Despite the rah-rah enthusiasm championed here on TLS, a sizable portion of college educated adults have no realistic chance to hit 160 on this test.



Thanks for the input! I think I will use your advice for working on strengthening her reading skills. We also talked about having more realistic goals, and she is coming to terms with the difficulty of the test now.

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Clearly
Posts: 4166
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:09 pm

Re: Help

Postby Clearly » Wed Apr 04, 2012 6:58 pm

Hope shes not on TLS!

foggynotion
Posts: 46
Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2009 4:19 am

Re: Help

Postby foggynotion » Mon Apr 09, 2012 6:54 am

I'm not sure if this applies to your situation or not, but something I've found is this: sometimes you can tell a person how to do something from now until the end of time, and they'll think they understand what to do, and you'll think they understand what to do, and they'll think that they're doing it, but they're not and they don't realize it. And you may not realize it either. So what has often worked for me is to ask the person I'm tutoring to, if it's a game, do one right in front of me and talk me through it (and depending on what I see, I might ask questions about why they're doing this or that); and if it's an argument, I have them talk me through the whole thing and then I'll ask them why they like certain answer choices, etc. Then I can actually experience firsthand what they're doing and how they're thinking, and then I can see where they might be going offcourse. Usually what it turns out is, for games: they're not entering info into their diagrams and/or they're ignoring the clues; and for arguments: they're not identifying the conclusion and/or they're not trying to answer the question themselves first (in which case they're going right to the answer choices and then get "lost" among the choices), or they don't understand some basic concept (like what an assumption is). And with reading comp, the problem is usually once again that they're not really doing what you're telling them.

Here's an example: I once tutored someone who had already taken a course, and he thought he knew what an assumption was, and I thought he did too, until we were discussing some question (unfortunately, I don't remember which one), and it became obvious that he really didn't get what the lsat meant when it asked for an assumption. So I explained it to him, and he still didn't get it. So I asked him to defend some point we were discussing (I think we might have been talking about a question he had gotten right or something, I don't remember), and he went into an explanation during which he said something like, "you have to do such-and-such", and I asked him, "why?", and he answered, "well, because otherwise blah-blah", and I said, "how do you know that?" and he said, "well, it's obvious", so I said, "but it doesn't say that", and he said, "well, you can just assume it", and then I said, "aha!!! it's assumed!" and that's when he got it. Why didn't he get it in the first place? Who knows. Maybe it the way I explained it, maybe it was him--but I guess he just had to sort of see it for himself. Anyhow, we never would have gotten to that point if I hadn't listened to how he was looking at it.

I hope this helps! And good luck with your student!

bp shinners
Posts: 3091
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:05 pm

Re: Help

Postby bp shinners » Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:26 pm

foggynotion wrote:So what has often worked for me is to ask the person I'm tutoring to, if it's a game, do one right in front of me and talk me through it (and depending on what I see, I might ask questions about why they're doing this or that); and if it's an argument, I have them talk me through the whole thing and then I'll ask them why they like certain answer choices, etc.


I had a teacher (in second grade) who made the entire class try to talk her through the making of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Each person got a chance, and she'd do exactly what we instructed her to do. Someone said, "And now you put the peanut butter on the bread," and the entire jar was placed on top. The next person said, "You open the jar and put the peanut butter on the bread," and she sat there slamming the jar against the table, trying to open it.

It was a great experiment in how many assumptions we make when we communicate. I bring it up because I feel like it's the opposite process of what you're trying to do here - have the student explain it to you, and you point out all the errors/assumptions they're making in what they're saying. I use this method when I'm tutoring, and I really can't recommend it enough. You'd be surprised how much of a breakdown in comprehension there is when you start making the other person justify EVERYTHING that they do/say/argue in a given problem. It makes it very obvious where they're going wrong (and, honestly, when someone is scoring in the 130s, they will probably be going wrong in many places).

For instance, I one time had a student who was so unsure of himself that he attached the word "probably" to everything he would assert. He was couching it that way so that if he was incorrect, he wasn't completely incorrect ("I said probably because I wasn't sure!"), but it was bleeding into his ability to deal with logical certainty on the LSAT. When I figured that out, it made it a lot easier to help him through logical certainty/force and get those questions right.

So while I won't rule out you being a bad tutor (;-)), I wouldn't throw in the towel yet. I've worked with many students who started in the 130s, and they generally have so many disconnects between the assumptions they're just making and the way the LSAT deals with assumptions that getting them off the ground takes some effort - you can't teach them methods because they first have to learn how an argument is constructed in the abstract, which is something that anyone who scored well enough to be a viable tutor takes for granted. However, once you clear that initial hurdle, you do tend to see results.




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