Currently Accepting New Students—In-person and Online

BellaTutor is currently accepting new students. We have openings for both in-person and online sessions. If you live in the Charlotte area but think you live too far away to bring your child to BellaTutor for sessions, consider our new online sessions. We use a combination of technology tools to make it possible for us to video-conference and easily exchange information. There is a little setup required, but it’s not too hard, and we will guide you through it (at no extra charge, of course). We also offer packages deals, which make our amazing services even more affordable. 

What Your Child Knows about Learning is Probably Wrong

So many theories of learning float around out there, and, frankly, most of them are not very good.  There are features of most of them that are useful, but if your child is attending a fairly traditional K-12 school, they are almost certainly ingesting flawed learning techniques. This is not because of some nefarious plot by the administrators and teachers of these schools; it’s simply because these principles sound good and have been in use for so long. Changing entire cultures or systems is hard and takes a long time. I’ve spent over 20 years testing theories, systems, and techniques, and I can help your student develop their ability to learn more efficiently and effectively. Call today before the new year complicates your child’s schedule.

The Importance of Self-education

I wish I could write the following sentence and end this article there: 

The secret to getting a good education is to do it yourself.

Unfortunately, most people aren't satisfied with this. Most people want you to tell them how to do it. There is no question that teachers can help students learn, but the best teachers are always  the teachers who require their students to learn for themselves.

Another News Piece about the Failures of Standardized Tests

It’s bad enough that students are required to take high-stakes standardized tests that are often poorly designed and administered, don’t assess what kids have learned, and have “cut scores” deliberately set high so few students can get top scores. What’s more, some of these K-12 “accountability” tests have no consequences for the kids but high stakes for their teachers and schools.
— Valerie Strauss

In her article for The Washington Post, Valerie Strauss asks this question in the headline: “How can anyone take standardized test scores seriously when stuff like this happens?” It’s a good question, and it points to the flaws in the system’s design. Standardized tests have been a part of the American system of education for over a hundred years. When did a test become superior to the judgment of trained educators? Tests (even so-called “standardized ones”) have their uses in helping educators see the strengths and weaknesses of a student, but the tests are merely a tool. And when you see examples like these from Strauss’s article, you can see clearly the importance of allowing teachers to use tests for information purposes, rather than as measures of achievement. A test tells students what they know and what they don’t know, and it gives them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes—but only if they are given the chance to review the test completely and to complete exercises to strengthen their weak areas.

My Latest Profile Description for the WyzAnt Tutor Network

I think our education system is inherently flawed and is therefore failing. This failure is a natural result of the flaws, which are inherent in the system. The system was designed to work this way by the system’s originators, and the stated purposes of the system do not match the design. My goal as an educator is to help change the design of the system itself, not merely to help students and teachers within the system navigate it better. Students who work with me can become self-actualizing learners.

Education for the Working Man

I have a strong affinity for those who are often referred to as the “working class.” Many of the best qualities of American culture came from working class individuals of the 17th and 18th centuries. Many of them were educated, but they were working class, nonetheless. One of the recent champions of the working class is Mike Rowe, on his television show Dirty Jobs and elsewhere. On his Facebook page today, he posted a brief commentary on an article in the Wall Street Journal  that discusses whether everyone should attend universities. It makes a strong case for vocational-technical schools and community colleges. Here’s the link: http://www.wsj.com/articles/clinton-should-listen-to-kaine-on-vocational-schools-1470698401. It’s worth a read.

Big Changes

In the near future, BellaTutor will be taking a new direction with our services. From the beginning, our goal has been to help students become self-actuating learners. We’ve done this quite well, but it isn’t enough. Too many times we find that there are misunderstandings as we try to help students disconnect from the system they are accustomed to—a system that has failed them and failed them drastically. Sometimes the parents’ attachment to the failing system is as much a problem as the students’ attachment. Most parents don’t want to hear this. They want to hear that the problem is with the system or the teachers or even their own children—but not with themselves. The point of BellaTutor is not to place blame but to provide solutions, and that’s what we intend to do. Soon, BellaTutor will be offering a more comprehensive solution that will bring parents, students, and teachers together to help redefine the system. Be looking for further announcements. If you would like to learn more now without waiting for our public announcements, fill out our contact form to let us know. Thank you.

What Education is All About

While the theorists pontificate, the students continue to struggle, confused by the barrage of testimonies they hear from parents, teachers, and politicians, a constant stream of accusations, finger-pointing, and blame-shifting—and no clear solution in sight. In reality, the solution is extremely simple but at times very hard: personal responsibility. This chain of personal responsibility always begins with the parents. These may be adoptive parents or guardians, not necessarily the biological parents. Whoever is responsible for the overall care and nurture of the student in this context is the parent. The parents are responsible for the care and nurture of their children, including their education. No one else is responsible for the education of the children, even if the parents delegate certain duties. Until parents take responsibility—and refuse to permit others to assume that responsibility for them—the system of education will not improve significantly. Because this is what education is all about: raising the next generation of parents—and that is more about integrity and character than it is about knowledge and skill.