11 March 2017

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What We Are Passionate About

What We Are Passionate About

Excerpts from a talk given by Maruja R. Vea, President of VEA LEARNING, INC. before NMAP (Norwegian Mission Alliance Philippines) Youth Development project Facilitators, November 26, 2011


When I ventured to do tutorials for grade school and high school students about 15 years ago,  I thought that it was going to be a piece of cake.  I knew I could communicate well in English and Filipino.  I was confident I had taken enough of Math and Science subjects in high school and college.  Moreover, I felt I was qualified to deal with children having reared four of my own.  So when a friend and high school batchmate who is a clinical psychologist offered to give me my first batch of students,  I felt I was ready for the job.  All I needed to do was  help the students understand their lessons in school by discussing the lessons,  explaining and clarifying the concepts and by giving them drills and exercises to prepare them for quizzes or tests  in school and voila! my job is done.  That was initially my idea of conducting a tutorial.


Now, many years and many students later,  I am apt to say that there is no clear-cut way to specify a method of tutoring that will be effective for all types of problems.  But I will be happy to share with you a few general concepts that  have helped us in our tutorial center and which I hope can help you in your noble task.



A Child-Specific Approach

Each child is unique in his character and innate abilities and that this individuality must be respected and considered in any undertaking.  A tutorial program is personalized for each child based on his own unique traits, talents, interests and mental ability because the solution is also child-specific.  Through our regular interaction or lessons with them,  we are able to identify their strength and weakness.


Let me illustrate this with a story about one of my students:  She was in sixth grade at a private school in Manila at that time.  She was very shy and very soft-spoken and was having difficulty in school with all her subjects,  specially in English. She would come on Saturdays and we would study English, Math and Science.  Slowly she improved her grades in Math which would later turn out to be her strength.  As she was showing her ability in Math and Science eventually,  classmates started to ask her for help.  When she graduated in high school,  she was in the planning committee for their graduation activities.  She went on to get a scholarship for a chemical engineering course in one of the best universities. The mother later told me that she used to pity her daughter in her earlier years. She recounted that she would go to school during recess and from a distance observe her daughter eating all alone under a tree in the school ground – all by herself everyday.



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