Essay writing is admittedly one of the toughest areas to excel in as a student. This is because it requires plenty of patience, the student has to practice without getting frustrated and with each practice, he or she has to identify their mistakes and take the necessary steps to prevent repeating them again. If students are tutored the right way, they will be able to tackle essays with a fresh and open mind, without fearing new topics. The following tips act as a guideline for teachers to follow in order to make their job just a little easier in molding their students’ writing and honing their critical thinking skills.
TIP #1: GET INTO YOUR STUDENT’S HEADSPACE
Tutoring is not easy and one of the reasons why is because, in order to explain a concept to your student (in a way they understand), you have to enter your student’s mind space to understand how they process information. No two leaves are the same and thus every student internalizes what they learn in different ways. In order to help your students, you have to observe and understand your student in several areas; For example
- How strong is his/her Vocabulary?
- Does he/she know how to use new vocabulary words that he/she learns, in an effective and appropriate manner?
- Does he/she have any grammar issues in his/her essays?
- How does he/she approach an essay topic?
- How responsive is the student to his/her tutor’s feedback?
It will take several weeks to a month or so for tutors to fully understand their student’s learning style and pace. It is then up to the tutor to customize their teaching to suit the student, in order to help them excel.
TIP #2: BE PATIENT
As a tutor, it is crucial for you to remind yourself that your student is trying his or her best and it takes time for a change to be seen. Some of the most difficult habits to cultivate in essay writing is to include idioms, new vocabulary words (relevant to the context and used appropriately), and to be succinct in delivering arguments. You do not have to molly-coddle your student (in fact you should not) but acknowledge the fact that you understand your student’s concern and assure him or her that a change can be seen over time, given that they work on the feedback that is being given.
TIP #3: EXPAND YOUR STUDENT’S KNOWLEDGE BASE
A great essay comprises of strong, succinct arguments that are made based on the general knowledge that the writer has about the issue being put forth by the question. In order for your essays to have substance, get your students to read lots of newspaper articles and books. For a start, get them to read the information provided by mainstream media like CNN or BBC. As an advanced approach, reading opinion-laden articles written by The Economist will be a great way to expand one’s knowledge base in order to write convincing and substantiated arguments.