Achieve’s Tutoring Programmes are designed for students at all levels of primary and secondary school who seek extension or skill building for improved performance in the classroom and exams. Achieve’s tutoring sessions are not a classroom format and computers are not used.
During training, one of the first values our tutors learn is that each student is treated as an individual with individual needs. This premise underpins the Achieve philosophy. Our programmes are conducted one-on-one between student and tutor in small groups (no more than five students in a group per tutor). This offers a very positive social context for learning which children of all ages enjoy, and where, in a non-threatening and congenial atmosphere, established students can provide inspiration as role models for new members settling into a new routine.
On joining Achieve Barbados, parents and guardians complete a Membership Form. This form (usually in conjunction with the results of our Free Skills Assessment) provides important details for Achieve staff including a student’s strengths, which contribute to the design of a personal programme.
During Achieve’s tutoring sessions—with focus on instilling confidence—the tutor interfaces with the student, supervising his or her personal programme and teaching skills and strategies. The learning environment is dynamic. Tutors set targets for their students, constantly offering positive assistance and observing closely so that gaps in learning can be instantly addressed and fixed on the spot. This means with Achieve’s progressive learning, personal programmes are continually adapted to serve student needs.
At the heart of every outcome are the skills or mechanisms that underpin it. Our point of difference is in teaching our students the process in skill building that underpins their positive learning outcomes.
They learn very early that making mistakes can be more productive than getting the answer right. It is a new idea for many children. We introduce the concept by suggesting, ‘Let’s first look at the process that delivers the answer; once you understand the process the answers will come.’ We remind them when scientists test a theory, if the theory doesn’t hold, the scientists have made advances, nonetheless; that their resulting deeper understanding of their subject offers exciting new insights and guides their next steps. ‘Like scientists,’ we tell our students, ‘be glad when you confront a challenge. That is when real learning occurs.’
In assigning our students the right to take risks and make mistakes, they become aware of what it means to be learning ‘how’ to learn; empowered with this new awareness, they tend to discard their fear of failure as they assume control of the learning process. With confidence comes a competitive spirit. Motivation is heightened, they learn faster, achieve more and become socially interactive. Our students soon grasp that the skills they acquire can enjoy a long life; that once learned, they serve not only academic performance, but life situations outside of school. The application of a skill, for example, to dissect and solve a mathematical problem, might also be useful in resolving a workplace or social issue. The skill of effective communication applied in an English or history essay will be critical for a successful career in science or politics or medicine.