I have provided tuition for hundreds of students over the last 20 years and one thing that stands out is the success of small group tuition.

Why is this?

This is what I think is happening:

  • Children are social creatures and they love to know others have difficulties as well.
  • Problem solving, interpersonal and conversation skills are difficult to teach without a group context.
  • Students bounce their ideas off each other and when we share ideas, writing, ways to solve maths problems etc they enjoy learning about other perspectives.
  • There is plenty of opportunity for humour in a group as well as discussing common problems without necessarily identifying the person who is having the difficulties.
  • Language is best learned in a social context with plenty of opportunities for oral interactions and fast feedback. Literacy is literally built on a base of talk!
  • In a group context we can play many learning games and we know learning increases when children are relaxed and play games.
  • Quite a few of our students, (some who have great difficulties making friends,) have made firm friends withi the group.
  • A group can have rituals and traditions. We always say our motto, acknowledge custodians of the land, do some Brain Gym, review previous session’s learning and set new goals. We call this time THE GATHERING and if we miss it the children are pretty annoyed! They love this sense of community.

4-8 children works well for small group learning. Many more and children don’t get much attention. Many less and there is not enough interaction.

I found this blog post from a UK tuition company quite interesting and it expands this topic a little further:

5 Benefits of Small Group Learning

Call us on 92777596, 0409911135 or email victoriacarlton@iinet.net.au for more info about Victoria Carlton Programs.

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The ABC of Child Whispering: T is for TESTS

Tests are important. They can be signposts along a child’s educational journey showing us whether they have understood and where we need more revision.

Provided the tests are well written and paired with successful teaching practices and adherence to the curriculum, they can provide revealing information.

They help children to realise if they don’t  study they may fail and also to be able to clearly see areas that need more work.

Judicious testing and feedback can actually help students develop resilience and awareness of their strengths and weaknesses.

However, we have now approached the over-testing zone in Australia. Many students we teach have weekly tests and their study consists of test preparation rather than carefully lessons and planned study timetables.

Anxiety is high and parents are forever talking about test results rather than progress.

Children with serious learning difficulties should never be subjected to the continuous FAILURE  loop with its accompanying feelings of hopelessness and depressive tendencies.

Sadly, this is happening at a time when forward looking education systems are lessening reliance on tests in favour of improving teaching strategies and taking note of students’ learning styles.

Singapore has recently loosened the straps on their system to allow more choice, thinking skills and creativity. Children in Finland sit for very few tests and yet their academic results lead the world.

Why do Australian Education authorities choose to ignore good practice principles and continue with over-testing?

Parents need to be aware when their children are being over-tested and try not to stress children about results.

Both the primary and high-school school systems need to help children learn the basics but also be challenged, extended, develop curious natures and therefore develop a deep love of learning.

Over-reliance on testing and results often means students are not given study skills or helped to develop emotional intelligence and general life skills.

This article provides more information:






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Nothing and everything.

Kids come to Victoria Carlton Tuition to get better in specific areas of school work.

They are given high quality tuition in individualised, small group or skype sessions and they get access to quality, evidence- based programs to help them achieve their potential.

Progress is monitored weekly and parents given regular updates and specific feedback.

So, don’t most tuition centres provide similar services?

Hopefully yes.

Now comes the difference!

Kids love coming and thrive. Victoria Carllton tuition is not just about academics. It is about the WHOLE child.

If a child is “hot-housed” and drilled without any enjoyment or understanding of what they are doing, the results will not stay.

At Victoria Carlton tuition, children are assessed and placed on enjoyable, evidence-based programs that suit their learning style and harness with their interests.

Teachers of this program understand that harnessing interests and motivation is PARAMOUNT for lasting academic results. Students are led through incremental steps designed to suit their learning styles, with plenty of hands-on, multisensory materials to cement the learning and provide engagement.

In other words, they get results, they enjoy the process and they learn to love their learning journeys.

The EQ4KIDZ program, written and pioneered by Victoria, is woven into all sessions so that children attending experience higher emotional intelligence, higher self-esteem and higher levels of motivation and resilience.

The EQ4KIDZ program is also available each term as an adjunct to boost self- esteem and motivation.

To find out more about the Victoria Carlton program call 92777596, 0409911135 or email victoria@vcprograms.com

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Children are the great gift-givers

For every child that is born, it brings with it the hope that God is not yet disappointed with man. 

Rabindranath Tagore

Some years ago, I gave a talk about learning difficulties at an amazing school in India where this quote was given prominence on the classroom walls.

What a hopeful message and a message we need to remember this week!

As children prepare to head back to school and we reluctantly shake off holiday mode, it is helpful to remember the amazing gifts children bring to this world- ALL children!

They bring us:

  • Honesty
  • Scarily clear and sharp minds
  • Curiosity
  • Fresh insights
  • The ability to sense when they are not liked and to react strongly- usually negatively!
  • The energy to rebel and look at things differently
  • Never ending questions
  • Energy to push back barriers
  • Love of learning (unless we flatten this)
  • Models of resilience as they get up from disappointments over and over again!

Children challenge us and help us see the truth!

We need the gifts children bring. The trick is to remember Rabindranath Tagore’s quote and to keep it uppermost in our minds each day as we re-commence our sacred task of educating these amazing kids.

Truly, every child is a gift from God to the world!

Let’s unwrap them and nurture their talents with care.

As educators we are part of a great revolution to transform the world! What a privilege.

“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”

―Malala Yousafzai





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What an art class can teach us!

I did an art class this week and learned so much. To be honest I didn’t really want to go and tried to dream up 100 excuses! I was terrified that my complete lack of talent would be obvious within 5 minutes.

My fear was well founded but the teacher and the rest of the class were gentle with me!

I learned some surprising things that I probably should have learned decades ago!

  • How to concentrate on one thing at a time

  • How to listen to instructions carefully and what happens if you don’t!

  • How to admit I had made a huge mistake and ask for help.

  • How to stop worrying about ANYTHING else.

  • How to hold a paintbrush.

  • How to choose colours and make a decision.

  • I CAN draw a bird (so can everyone.)

  • How to blend colours.

  • How to work out where highlights and shadows should go (this was where my huge mistake occurred)

  • How to be quiet for a long time and stop making self-deprecating comments.

  • How to actually enjoy the fact that I finished a piece of art I sort of like. Each time I look at it I am reminded how much I didn’t know and still don’t but CAN learn!

Just reading through this I am realising that most of the things I learned were universal truths and skills we want all children to learn! So why would we ever miss ANY opportunity to include art in every subject areas?

Thank you Dinky Di Art – https://www.facebook.com/DinkyDisArt/

Now, at this time of the year I am recrafting our teaching programs and choosing themes, academic content and creative art activities.

Most definitely, my art class has ensured we will ALWAYS have a creative component in every lesson!

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