What is Academic Coaching?

 

Parents understand the need for academic support.  Importantly, until just recently, content-specific tutoring has been the only significant option for parents to consider when looking for academic help for their children.  And, in some circumstances, content tutoring in a specific subject area is an appropriate form of assistance.  However, in many situations, the issues that hold students back from doing their best are not related to content at all, but are intimately connected with the approach students take toward their school work.  Academic underachievement is complex and integrates elements of motivation, confidence, and attitude with students' natural abilities and study skills.

Academic Coaching offers a more appropriate educational support for most students, particularly those in late elementary and high school, because it focuses on the complexity of underachievement and the importance of looking at behaviour. Is the student organized? Does he take adequate notes? Is she reading the text effectively? Does he study enough? Does she study in effective ways?  How does the student interpret his or her results? These questions are at the root of the academic coaching relationship, where a mentor or coach ‘guides’ the student toward more effective and more efficient strategies of school work. 

Through weekly one-on-one support, our coaches help students develop the core skills that are essential for success in school, and prepare the student for the future challenge of university.  These skills are introduced within the context of a student's current school workload, making the sessions productive in the short-term and long-term

Academic Skills

 

  • 1. Planning, Organization and Time Management
    • Students will be introduced to various strategies designed to help students organize their lives and manage time more effectively.  Concepts such as goal setting, task analysis and prioritizing are discussed along with the more practical organizational skills such as using an agenda, organizing a binder, and managing their personal schedule and study area.  We will show students how to break down large projects into smaller, more manageable tasks, and teach them strategies for completing the project on time.  The goal is to demonstrate how students can take control of academic success by moving away from a reactive crisis management and toward a more proactive approach to school.
  • 2. Reading and Note-Taking
    • We will show students the difference between active and passive reading.  Strategies such as SQ4R will be presented to help students read textbook material more effectively.  Students will be exposed to the purpose of note taking and the qualities and benefits of effective notes, and they will be introduced to several different note-taking techniques (e.g. Cornell Note-taking).  Students will try out these strategies in the context of their current school work and receive feedback from the coach.
  • 3. Written Expression
    • Pre-writing strategies, brainstorming, thesis development and outlining form the foundation of planning.  We will assist students through the editing and drafting stages by paying particular attention to the areas where many papers break down (e.g. wordiness, lack of coherence, common grammatical issues).  Students may also be introduced to common methods of references and in-text citations depending on their age and level.
  • 4. Studying and Exam WritingStudents will be introduced to more effective strategies for test preparation.  Shifting students away from passive study and review techniques and toward more active and meaningful approaches is the main goal.  Students will also be shown specific ideas about creating and exam study schedule, test writing, and the important skill of test analysis (i.e. identifying what went wrong and what went right on a given test).  Students will see how these techniques can be applied to their actual tests and examinations.