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All posts by the Inspired Tutor



Why Some Kids Just Don’t Care

There’s a conversation happening, in many homes I visit, between parents and their unmotivated or disobedient kids. It often starts like this: “As your parents, we are worried and frustrated by your behavior. All you care about is having a good time, and you don’t seem able to put immediate gratification aside and do the work required to be successful in school.” The second, more detailed part of this conversation depends largely on gender: for …

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Student-Directed Learning

I remember learning, some years ago, that the word “excellence” was originally used to refer to someone who was good at many different things (the Greek hero Odysseus, for example, was considered “excellent” because he was a great athlete and also a great ruler). Over the course of the last few centuries, this word has transformed to describe someone who is unusually gifted at a single thing. I suspect that this evolution mirrors a wider …

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Is College Still a Good Idea?

It’s perhaps blasphemous to say this as a tutor who’s devoted so much energy to getting young people into college, but for most of my students, I don’t believe college was necessarily the best choice, at least not directly after high school. What I’ve seen, over and over, is that young people go off to college and find themselves much more interested in dating, friends, and parties than in learning. I want to be clear …

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Drawing on Success

I worked for many years with a young man who had been diagnosed with ADHD. This boy did indeed display a sometimes shocking inability to focus on his schoolwork; fifteen minutes into studying for a math test, he would invariably blurt out something utterly irrelevant (and disruptive) like “Did you see the new Lord of the Rings movie?” or “You have to check out this YouTube video!” Fascinatingly, however, this same boy would stay up …

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The Wrong Stuff

Here’s a fact that I find both immensely instructive and troubling: almost every parent would fail almost every test that his/her child takes in high school. What this suggests to me is that the things we are teaching children are utterly irrelevant to being successful as an adult in our society. If you want an example, think about how often you’ve found yourself needing to prove that a quadrilateral is a parallelogram. As a starting …

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