Anxiety and learning difficulties

A stress-free environment
The optimal environment for struggling students is a stress-free, pleasant physical space in which they receive the teacher’s undivided attention. It’s not possible for classroom teachers to offer that to everyone. That’s where we step in. We have worked hard to make sure Coach House’s tutoring spaces inspire kids. We see their anxiety diminish with each visit. They feel comfortable. They are seen, heard and known on their own terms, free from the clamour of the classroom that sometimes makes struggling kids feel invisible.

Another key is to nurture confidence. The learning session must engage the attention of the student and must have willing participants who feel relaxed, not anxious. Self-belief is everything, so we begin with allowing the student to discover their own beliefs about whether they can succeed. Everyone is different. Sometimes their lack of confidence is crippling; other times students are simply frustrated, knowing they can do it but not seeing the results they desire. At Coach House, parents are seeing marked changes in children’s perceptions of their abilities.

Teachers may read these words as criticism of the classroom environment. That’s not my intention at all. As a dedicated classroom teacher myself for many years, I empathise with the difficulties of navigating the problems that arise in the group learning situation. I did my level best to help every child achieve their potential, and some did. But I couldn’t work individually with everyone. I recall feeling like I’d failed some of my students. A couple had somehow reached high school without being able to functionally read and write. In those cases, it became a losing battle.

“Our schools are simply not geared to function optimally for individuals”

I took my failure to help those kids personally. I knew they could learn and that I could teach them. I stayed back after school. It helped, but there weren’t enough hours in the day, enough support staff, enough resources. I would one day design Coach House’s approach with these experiences haunting me.

We see our role as complementary to the efforts of schools and teachers, not competitive. The truth is, our schools are simply not geared to function optimally for individuals. Teachers in classrooms across the country do a mighty job – and many are supernaturally gifted educators. But no one would deny that serious limitations prevent them from rescuing every struggling student. Constraints make it impossible to implement individual learning programs for children in schools. In contrast, the tutoring environment is ideal for such fine-tuning. And the results we’re seeing Coach House kids achieve speak for themselves.

To contact Coach House for bookings or enquiries, call 0437 155 338 9am to 9pm seven days a week. To visit, call in at 22 Lake Street, Laurieton, or email us at allychumley@msn.com.

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