Tuesday Tips: Teachable Moments

Today’s Tuesday Tip is written by Lisa Loeb, Site Director at Science Park.  At our last tutor training, a tutor asked how to best take advantage of teachable moments. We hope Lisa’s real world example helps identify when and how to capitalize on teachable moments during the tutoring hour.

A teachable moment happens when a unique, high interest topic or situation arises that lends itself to discussion of a particular topic.

For example, students often unknowingly ask questions that are inappropriate.

A 10 year-old student once asked Miss Lisa, “Do you and your husband sleep in the same bed?” Miss Lisa thought that this would be a good time to talk to the student about what questions are okay to ask and what ones aren’t. The important way to begin a teachable moment is to NOT make the student feel like he or she has made a mistake.

She began, “Sammy, that’s a very personal question. Do you know what a personal question is?” “No.” “It’s a question that asks information that someone might not want to share, for whatever reason. Asking an adult about where they sleep is usually considered a personal question, though for children, it might not be.” “Oh.”

From there, it is important to reinforce correct behavior. “Sammy, you can certainly ask me questions about the food I like to eat or my puppy, Jeeves.” “Okay, how old is Jeeves?” And then the discussion continued from there.

Teachable moments can happen at any time during the hour–when you and the student are talking about your day, when reading together, or while using Lexia! Remember to always be positive during the hour and to listen for moments when you can introduce a new concept or idea to NHR students. 

Categories Programs, Tuesday Tips, Volunteers | Tags: | Posted on October 22, 2013

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