Showing posts with label online tutors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label online tutors. Show all posts

Monday, 20 August 2012

Grading systems in schools - a catalyst movement towards encouraging crammers instead of intelligent children

Teaching has become a kind of competition for children wherein everyone is trying to outrun the other. But they do not understand that this learning will not help them in practical world. What we need is a sound educational mechanism with innovative techniques instead of grading systems to make students independent and self-reliant.

Through this write-up; I don’t want to create any controversy or any heated discussion about the present education system. But normally all my blogs have concentrated on providing something different so that tutors as well as children can have interesting ways of thinking. This blog is going to reflect different ways through which grading systems have affected the children as a whole. Now traditional tutors will argue at this point and say that without grading systems it is impossible to evaluate the progress of a child. Now maybe they have a valid point. In fact today in the morning, I replied to a facebook post about an image that I had kept on Facebook. Now it was a very simple quote but yielded lot of attention from various sections of public at large. Let me share the experience with you and believe me this is all connected to the subject that I am discussing right now. 

The quote read as: “The flaw in the education system, as far as I see it, is that you live your life - the teacher and student – in quest of A’s. Yet later in life, the A is irrelevant.” Now this quote is from Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysicist. So this is not my quote but since I posted it on Facebook there were lot of reactions on it. I will not take the names of the users because of the privacy issue but it was quite interesting and debatable topic. There were certain people who were of the opinion that technology has developed so much that internet has become a new medium for education and there is no way to substitute that with the grading system. Now this is the view of one of the users. While others were of the opinion that if we drop this yardstick of evaluating children and substitute them with social media tools it would become very difficult to make students study through conventional methods like books. While others quoted that if you only make children learn and re-learn to gain knowledge there would be no yardstick to judge their skills.

I defer from this opinion. I have already enumerated in that particular discussion that if a child does not find a thing interesting he/she would not be involved in the studies thoroughly. The current teaching mechanism has its own flaws which need to be overcome only through making education fun-loving for children. If you give provide guidance and introduce creative ways of teaching students in a way that they love it they would no longer need an evaluation method or a grading system. It will all be just a mandatory provision just for the sake of it. This very idea makes me very interested in developing such a concept in the current education system. I have already written quite a few blogs on innovative teaching methods for math and English. Let me give you the links for the same. Copy and paste these links to a separate browser to have a quick overlook on what I presume about the way education should be for children:

So once you have been through these blogs you will appreciate my idea of creating a knowledge based education system which should let children decide their own evaluation. The idea would be to give creative end of the chapter activities for children especially for online tutors. Now the only reason for giving preference to online tutors is that they normally do not get the chance to have much interaction with children and need to provide something creative in order for the parents and children to enroll for their course. There is lot of competition in this field and there is no respite. Hence; I am highlighting these points from the perspective of online tutors.

Now, we don’t want our future generation to be people who get straight A’s in their schools and colleges but are duds as far as practical exposure is concerned. The idea is to integrate practical components early on in the studies in such a way that theory and practical approaches both get equal importance. The primary objective should be to provide knowledge to the children in the best possible creative manner. Now by being creative I mean being different. Use different teaching techniques for different children as no two children have the same grasping power. This has already been discussed in my previous blogs. But it is very important to enumerate this point for this subject. If you look at the end of the chapter activities blog you will find that I have never focused on the grading system because only grades do not reflect the intellectuality of the child. A child can have an exam-fever because of which he/she may not be able to provide adequate answers; but if you ask them to provide the answers without mentioning the word test or exam they do excellent in it. Hence; knowledge is bliss; and it should not be confused with evaluating methods. These methods were created to instill competition amongst children. But do we still need the same ideology after hundreds of years.

 Traditional teachers would now argue that without evaluation methods it will become very difficult to gauge the progress of the child. But who says that we do not need evaluation methods? The only thing is that the word exam/test should change to activities. Now we should have different creative activities which encourage the child to showcase their hidden talents. Knowledge can only be delivered if the child is ready to accept it.
You might have heard the phrase:

You can take the horse to the pond but cannot make him drink it.

In the same ways if you do not understand what a child wants you cannot provide knowledge to him/her. It is a difficult proposition even for God to make them understand anything if they are not in the mood to study. Hence, there is a need to change the evaluation techniques and make it easier and comfortable for children. It should be more like an activity than an evaluation exercise. Hence, I said in the beginning that grading system has actually impacted the children in a very negative way. Now they are carrying loads of books in schools, are involved in lots of activities and are way too tired to solve your quizzes and boring tests. Hence; I call all the tutors and teachers to contribute further; and share your knowledge about innovative teaching techniques by contributing something innovative and different from what has been taught since traditions. We are looking at the 21st Century education hence we should be different. Our thoughts should be innovative and path-breaking so that we can pave way for a bright future for the approaching generations.

I know you would say that we are back to square one from where we started in this blog. But do you really think that changes can be made in the current education paradigm in a single day or a single thought? It is a gradual process.

I would like to end this blog by mentioning a quote written by Eleanor Roosevelt,

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Hence; I want as many teachers and tutors to participate in discussions related to this topic and comment on this blog as much as possible. Remember we are doing this for the future generations to follow. Post your invaluable comments and suggestions about the blog by following us at:,

12806 Townepark Way
Louisville, KY 40243-2311
United States

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Evolutionary convergence of online tutoring business with social media

I have written about different aspects of online tutoring business in my blogs. In this blog; I have tried to integrate various aspects of social media which change the equation of online tutoring business completely.

I never touched the subject of social media emergence in my blogs. The reason is quite simple. I wanted my blogs to be specifically for online tutoring dealing with various problems faced by online tutors in designing and depicting the course curriculum to the children. Now, I know that parents are the key decision makers for enrollment of children in particular online course. But you cannot deny the fact that if a child likes something in a glance it is very difficult for the parents to ignore that and push the child for another alternative. Hence; the situation is quite tricky because now you have two different sets of target audience to please. This can be very taxing because the needs of both the concerned parties are completely different. To avoid this and make things clearer the social medium is used as a means to achieve the desired goals; and draw the target audience in a subtle way.

Now since we are talking about social media let me tell you some staggering facts that deal with social media. According to an article titled “Social Media; I’ve heard the term, but what does it mean to me, or my business? according to the 2012 stats:
  • 66 percent of online adults are connected to one or more social media platforms 
  • 50 percent of social media users say they check in to their favorite networks first thing in the morning 
  • 45% of social media users are at least ‘somewhat’ comfortable providing credit card details through social media channels 
  • By 2015; brands will be generating 50% of their web sales through social media and mobile platforms with a projection of $30 Billion
You can read the entire article by copying and pasting the url mentioned below to a separate browser:

The fact is that you cannot ignore the impact of social media on online tutoring. In reality; there are so many things that can be achieved in online tutoring by integrating social media that it is very difficult to ignore it in the scheme of things:

  • A key feature for marketing: In this age of digital commercialization, do you think online tutoring can survive without viral marketing? If you are probably saying that I know that it is not possible to imagine online tutoring without viral marketing. That would be an utter nonsense. Because with the advent of social media things have changed quite drastically. Normally we would not have seen the comments posted by eminent personalities; but now with the help of social media platform the world has become a smaller place. You can view comments and post statuses on Facebook in an instant thereby promoting you as a brand. So what are the odds of marketing an online tutoring business through this new social buzz? You can bet the results. It can be tremendous.In addition to this, you can even spread awareness by participating through different social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace etc. The beauty of each of these networks is that their outlook is completely different with different sets of target audiences using these networks. So for example; you can spread awareness of your blogs on online tutoring through Facebook by posting the subject of the blog and providing a brief outline of the subject along with the link. The readers can then read the blog and post their comments on it. Thereby; increasing the visibility of your brand. You can also post interesting anecdotes, quotes, ask questions and give suggestions on different topics related to your domain. Hence; there is a tremendous marketing potential through Facebook. Similarly for Twitter, there is a separate target audience that uses hash tags (#) with limited characters to depict the idea. Hence, the concept is based on the principle of depicting more through less content. Highlight the subject of your blog in a creative manner, and the response rate grow enormously. You can also comment on different topics relevant to your interests. For LinkedIn; you can build professional contacts by adding them to your profile and highlighting your academic qualification and professional experience in a creative manner. You can even promote your blogs, post comments, ask questions and get feedback from fellow members.

  • Use it as a medium to hold conference between fellow tutors: We all know that the entire globe is a very small place especially if you decide to share your experiences and knowledge with tutors from different nationalities. This can be a very enriching experience since, there is no dearth of knowledge amongst tutors and the more you share, the more you learn from them. In addition to this; when you hold such conferences there is going to be a discussion and debate which can enlighten you to different online teaching practices which are normally quite difficult to find. It is also quite necessary to learn about different tutoring styles taught in different countries. This can open up new avenues of growth for online tutoring domain and can enhance the knowledge of the participants.

  • Creative ways to share notes with students: With the help of various social networking sites; it is possible to upload notes which can be quite useful for students at large. Not only does it free them from waiting for clarification; but it also encourages them to ask relevant questions or provide comments through various social networking sites like, Google docs instantly. This is a boon for students, as they can now get the required notes instantly and clarify their doubts quickly. Being online is not option. But it is the selection of freedom from constrained education. Hence, it is perfect match for online tutoring.

  • An inventive method to keep a check on student behavior: There are times when students take out their frustration on different social networking sites about their online tutors or about the course design. It is a perfect opportunity for online tutors to research on student’s behavior about a particular course curriculum or particular method of teaching. It can not only enlighten the tutors about the need of the hour but also about the different needs of the students of today’s generation. Hence, social media is an excellent tool to research on studentsbehavior.
Thomas Edison once quoted, 

Opportunity is missed by most people; because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

Hence, I would conclude this blog by reiterating the point that the social media networks have given a tremendous opportunity to online tutors to showcase their talent; that should not be wasted.

To learn more about PracTutor follow us at:,

12806 Townepark Way
Louisville, KY 40243-2311
United States

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Determining a breakthrough teaching mechanism for English online tutors

You might have observed that in all my blogs I have always given priority to innovation in education methods. The simple reason for that is we are moving into a revolutionary phase where things will become outdated quite quickly. Hence, there is always a need for something new and exciting to make students interested in the subjects. More so; in case of theory subjects like English where students do not find it interesting to read the whole bunch of chapters to get the story. The tedious job of an online tutor is not only to depict the information in the English chapters through interesting means but also deliver knowledge to the students in such a manner that they want to study the chapters again and again. Now this is a challenge especially for young children in Std. I to VIII. As the age of a child increases the curiosity factor decreases. Hence, this is the period when children want to learn something different. So the tried and tested methods of teaching will never work for these children.

I know if you are a tutor yourself, you are wondering and saying to yourself I have been a teacher all my life and now you come up with your own thesis claiming the online teaching mechanism has flaws? You are right my friend. Although you have been teaching since a long time things change and people change. The same teaching mechanism cannot be used for the current generation as they are quite smart and know everything about the new technology. They like to experiment a bit since early childhood and learn through their own experiences. From what I have learned so far I can say very bluntly that we have never learned the art of understanding the minds of a child. The only thing we are interested is in making our future generation a bunch of crammers who go to college get their degrees but at the end of the day when you ask them basic questions that are relevant in the practical world they are clueless. We do not want our future generation to be book-wormers we want them to learn through practical experiences. More so by making them experience the same things that they learn in theory.

One way of doing that is through animation-based e-learning. Now I know this idea looks ridiculous but believe me if you are a child aged 8 years of age you will love to see the Tom and Jerry series on cartoon network or Duck tales series which used to telecast earlier. Now the only reason I am giving these examples is because every story in English language in primary education has a moral behind it. If we try to depict it in an interesting manner in similar lines to these cartoon series it will make students see the animations again and again. This way; online tutors do not have to spend much time on making students understand the topics. Moreover, students can revise the chapters by going through the animated series of chapters again and again thereby reducing the burden on parents. Students will study without any force and will literary ask for more and more chapters in the digitalized/animated format. The quizzes can then be taken after a specific interval to gauge the success of this concept. I feel that this can work and will prove to be a major hit in future. Children as it is are not happy with books.

Practically speaking, I see so many toddlers carrying loads of books in their schoolbags. It is so ridiculous but their own weight is far less than the weights of the books. Isn’t it our duty to see that the children are not overburdened with studies? This is the age which we as mature adults remember now and share our experiences with our peers and friends saying those were the happy days without any pressure. Now, if your own child is burdened with the kind of education which is being provided will you be happy with it? Moreover, I have also seen parents sending their children to private tutors which increase the burden on children tremendously. Because now they have do over-time by completing the class work, homework and the tuition work. Is n’t it a sin to burden a child with so much of pressure? Can’t we creatively think about an education system which is free from books and provides practical exposure to children so that they can become future managers, leaders and so on?

Story-boards are also interesting concepts wherein you make children learn about the subjects through stories in the form of sequential animated images. But if we make it even better by providing them with animated cartoon characters to depict the chapters it will be a great hit amongst children. Even the parents would love it. Online tutoring will improve because now you will have to increase the creativity quotient and think out-of-the-box to resolve the concerns of the children differently than the traditional ways of communication. But that is something which I will be discussing in my next blog. For now I will sign off with a statement which has made me think about this concept quite seriously:


To learn more about PracTutor follow us at:,

12806 Townepark Way
Louisville, KY 40243-2311
United States

Challenging task of making math a fun-loving activity for students

Math has become a very challenging subject especially for tutors to teach. In this article, we discuss about the challenges and some innovative strategies that can be adopted to overcome these challenges.

In my previous blog; I tried to enlighten everyone about the benefits of teaching creatively to primary level students. In this blog; I will try to explain the importance of making math an interesting subject for students to learn. Remember the key to teaching small children is to think like a child, and come up with creative solutions for children. Hence; in order to get in-depth of this topic I will visualize the things I used to enjoy during my childhood days and come up with innovative solutions for building proper sense to the proceeding. So, let us start this amazing journey of self-realization. 

When I was a child my mother used to make me study math as if every calculation and every problem had an in-built magic in it. The key to finding the answer was to go through the problem carefully and understand the requirements and get the task completed. For example; I used to find retaining the math tables quite difficult. Since I was very good theory; it was natural to have a weakness in remembering numbers easily. I used to hate math like anything. But one day my mother shared a secret with me which changed my approach towards Math. I was finding it difficult to remember the tables of 9; and she told me that there is a magic in the table of 9. I was not convinced. She explained me that every time you multiple 9 with a number the addition of the both the digits will always come to 9. Let me give you an example. When you multiple 9 with 2 you get 18. When you add 1 + 8 it comes to 9. Similarly when you multiple 9 with 3 the product is 27 which adds to 9 i.e., 2 + 7 comes to 9. Likewise in the end it was very easy to learn the table. This was really an amazing experience for me. It was as if I had discovered something significant. Since I was very young it was natural to get excited with the discovery. Since that day I tried to enjoy solving math problems; and treated them as an opportunity to unveil a magical experience.

Now when I look back and remember those days, I feel that nowadays tutors do not consider these teaching techniques while explaining problems to students. They just try to explain the problem theoretically which is not good. I mean you should think from the perspective of the child. Normally any other subject is easier to teach except math because you cannot practically make the student visualize things like you can do in English and History by creating stories and making students interested. But there is a work around to this problem. Rather than seeing this as a problem, you should take this an opportunity to showcase your creativity in enhancing the knowledge of students. But I am yet to come across a break through math application which can make the teaching experience a blessing for children. 

Normally it is usually the same theoretical explanation of the problems which is then explained in the form of presentation when we speak about online tutoring. This does not help children. It makes their task even tougher. Because now they know the solution but they have to understand the steps/method used by the online tutor by themselves. In a lighter vein; this is like enticing a child with a chocolate in your hand without giving him the clear-cut explanation that they will have to reach at your height to get that chocolate. So the problem remains the same.

In addition to this, I have played a lot of math games like: Dress Up Math, Skater Math, Prime Landing and Quick Math among others. The purpose of these games is absolutely right, but these games cannot practically solve the problem of retaining the methods of calculation in the minds of children. This makes my point even more relevant. Even though through these games children can learn about math the sole objective of making them remember the methods of calculation is lost. What we are looking for is a long term solution rather than a quick-fix solution. 

Now you might be questioning me: if I had the answer to this problem; would I have read your blog? You are absolutely correct in that regards. Because normally online tutors do not have proper explanation to give for this question. But do not worry as I will try to find out a solution to this problem by the end of this blog. So you do not have to worry about wasting your precious time on reading this blog without getting the correct resolution for this problem. Being an online tutor makes it even harder to accept the facts that although technology has enhanced the e-learning courses to a great extent, there is still a lot of potential in terms of growth for math tutoring.

Let me shift my attention to the solution of the problem, rather than explaining the problem in greater detail. Like I explained earlier, treat math like magic. Always try to use creativity in depicting the course to the students. Because children do not like orthodox methods of teaching and that is well-known fact amongst tutors. If you are a tutor and do not accept this fact then it will be very difficult for you to understand the techniques; that I am going to discuss now. So if you do not agree with me stop reading the blog because you already are aware of the likes and dislikes of children; and there is no need to change your perception. But if you are in-sync with my ideas scroll down to see some of the basic techniques; that can create revolutionary changes in the teaching domain as far as math is concerned.

The methods that I am going to discuss are not new. They are already there to be seen but we have lost our innocence that a child has to understand these techniques that can work wonders for online tutors in near future:

  • Critical thinking: One of the basic elements which differentiate the teaching pattern in Math learning and English is that you do not have the scope for fictional work in Math like in English. Hence, it becomes very difficult to stimulate innovative strategies while teaching Math learning. Hence, it becomes very important to inculcate critical thinking amongst children at an early age. Now you might be wondering what exactly I mean by critical thinking. I will explain it with the help of an example. Imagine you are 6 years old and are having difficulty in solving a problem of division and need to get solution of dividing 250 by 5. Now right now it might seem a simple problem but if you are a 6 years old child it is very difficult to get instant solution to this problem. Remember we need to encourage children to use their mind creatively to get the desired solution. So in this case, we can ask the child to get their favorite comic books together. Assuming that the number of books are more than 100 ask the child to assume 1 comic book equals to 5 points and they need to count up to 250. Once they are done with the activity ask them to count the number of comic books that cumulate to the figure 250. The figure that they get i.e., 50 will be the solution to the problem. I know that this is a very lengthy process but it will enhance the creativity amongst children. They can then use different tools to get product of two numbers or divide two numbers to get the desired results.
  • Development of cognitive skills amongst children: I have already discussed in my previous blog that during the formative years of a child, it is very important to develop and enhance creativity in them. For that cognitive skills play a very important role. I know that you are aware of the definition of cognitive skills and are wondering how it is useful in math teaching? I will be explaining it in just a moment. But first of all let me explain the importance of cognitive skills development in child in my own words. Cognitive skills represent skills including attention, memory, processing and understanding language, solving problems and making decisions. Hence, it includes the overall development of a human brain at a very early age. Now there are two kinds of memory in a human brain: long term and short term/working memory. Long term memory is useful to recall information that has been stored in the past. While working memory/short term memory holds the information for immediate attention and helps in solving mental calculations. Hence, for math education both of them have equal importance.
Now the question is how to make children apply both memories in math calculation. This is a very important question and the answer is quite simple. Let me explain with the help of a practical example. Go back to the memory lane once again; and imagine that you are a 9 year old child. You are facing difficulty in solving a problem on fractions. For example; the problem is related to greater or lesser than sign and you are not sure which one of the two fractions is greater than the other one. The problem is determining which of these two fractions is greater than the other. The fractions are: 4/9 and 5/8. I know you are jumping of the chair and are saying this is a very simple problem. But if you imagine yourself in place of a 9 year old child; this can be a very complex problem. But do not worry. The solution is very easy. Ask the child to get 9 pieces of a chalk ask him to divide it into 4 parts. Then ask him to get another 8 more pieces of chalk. Again ask him to divide it into 5 parts. Once the activity gets over ask him which one of the two chalks has the greater pieces the answer would be solution to the problem. In this case it will be 5/8. Likewise; children can use their favorite objects to learn math in a very creative manner. This will not only make them use their working memory to get the activity done; but it will also help them to register the process in their long term memory. Hence, this activity will certainly help them to build their cognitive skills in a creative manner. That is the sole objective of my blog.

I would like to conclude this blog by stressing the points mentioned in this blog. It is very important to encourage children to use their brains creatively for Math education. Because without creative solutions there cannot be any innovation; and like I started my blog by mentioning a magical trick; the end also has to be magical. You can create this magical ending by contributing your enriching thoughts and ideas to make Math education a success in the coming years. 

To share your views on innovative strategies for Math education by following us at:,

12806 Townepark Way
Louisville, KY 40243-2311
United States