Attitude & Motivation

This page is going to sound like a sermon, but it's important to select tutoring only after you have done some basic soul-searching. Before engaging a tutor, make certain your money is well-spent by ensuring your child is ready to accept and efficiently absorb outside assistance.

Typically, parents observe negative and self-defeating behavior in their kids and are disappointed in their efforts to motivate improved performance. An unrealistic assumption about motivation is the belief that we can externally mold it to fit our perceptions. Truly, a person's motivations must come from within; parents, teachers and friends can strongly influence it but cannot provide the inner drive. Good teachers (parents are primary!!!) are facilitators who are responsible mentors who provide love and encouragement. Students cannot be taught goals; they must be allowed to pursue their interests and expand their skills to incrementally acquire them.

Nothing particularly new in the table below but it will categorize the issues you face. Recognizing and properly interpreting significant behaviors allows you to design an action plan whose application must be consistent.

Please note that any visual and auditory problems are physical and a should have been corrected before proceeding.


Possible Underlying Issues



easily distracted, fidgety

  • processing problem
  • lack of interest
  • lack of understanding; avoidance
  • hands-on needed
  • requires structure

slow learner, needs to work harder

  • processing problem
  • insufficient background
  • needs extra time to absorb
  • study skills inadequate
  • requires structure

Not following directions, answers given out of sequence

  • processing problem
  • anxious, distrustful
  • variable memory


  • processing problem
  • study skills inadequate

not working to potential

  • traditional methods counterproductive
  • not challenged by class material
  • real-world connections needed

If physical issues are eliminated or corrected, these processing problems will head the list and should be investigated. If your child is learning-disabled or has a processing problem, you need to know and act on it. You can request testing. Persistance counts; if the school system senses you are serious about this, they will work with you. The "squeaky wheel" most definitely gets the grease.

My education and experience teaching in diverse classrooms has served to raise my awareness of learning and emotional disabilities and their devestating impact on learning. These issues deserve your attention to ensure tutoring is effective and timely.

Other Important Items ...

We can best assist your student’s progress by recognizing significant behaviors and soliciting responsible responses. A carrot and stick approach with rewards and threats may have a small place in your overall strategy that can supplement but never replace your efforts to construct internal motivations. You cannot think for them; you must teach them the importance of having and pursuing worthy goals that will become attainable as they develop the appropriate behavior and consummate skills.

All this said, if you still decide on tutoring, the goal will be to minimize and ultimately phase it out. If tutoring works, it's may be relatively short-term or intermittent. Obvious fiscal rewards for you but, more importantly, your child learns to use the available resources responsibly.

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