What is academic coaching?
Academic coaching is tailored and personalised through a 1:1 meeting with a trained academic coach who helps students to improve their skills and ultimately their performance. Working with an academic coach helps ‘students to study smarter not harder’ by developing their skills in organisation, time management, goal setting, planning, note taking, self advocacy, test & exams preparation and study/revision. The overall principal is helping students to find the ways that help them to make school and life less stressful and overwhelming.
Academic Coaching is often referred to as Executive Function Coaching as well.
What are the stages of academic coaching?
There are 3 main stages which are that students:
- learn and gain a new understanding on a strategy or skill for them to implement and how it will assist;
- take the next step to practise their new skills during an academic coaching session with support and guidance; and
- then have the confidence and independence to apply these new skills on their own.
In my experience each student is unique and therefore the Student Success Program is designed to identify the key areas that a student could do with academic coaching to learn or further develop their skills. It is about equipping individuals with their own tool box of tools and strategies for them to implement both academically and in life.
What is the difference between and academic coach and a tutor?
A tutor is usually hired when a student is struggling with a particular subject ie maths, biology, english. A tutor therefore helps equip a student with specific content relating to learning and understanding that specific subject better. An academic coach helps students with skills that carry over ALL of their subjects and classes such as organisation, time management, study skills, advocacy and more.
My child is reluctant to work with an academic coach. How do I get them to 'buy in' to the process?
In my experience I pride myself on meeting students and establishing both connections and bonds with them. Usually I would encourage at least to get them to undertake the Student Success Program and the development of the Plan which allows them the opportunity to meet with me and for them to learn more about what is involved and how the process works. In many cases for students it can be the fear of the unknown. I usually tell students that I am not here to make their lives harder, in the contrary, it is about equipping them with the skills to ‘study smarter not harder‘ and take away some of the stress or anxiety they may be feeling.
What happens during a session?
Areas covered in a session are usually dictated by the needs of the student. In our initial meeting with a student, and their parent/s or carers, the areas are usually identified that they require assistance with and these are then noted in the Student Success Plan for further discussion. Some sessions focus on teaching students specific skills where as others focus on assisting them with a particular need at the time ie how to prepare for an upcoming exam or how to ensure they don’t forget all the work they need to do and ensure it is handed in on time.
Students can expect to learn tools and routines to:
- help improve their actions and follow-through
- increase their motivation
- deal with procrastination and distractions
- increase their focus and stay on task as required
- be more consistent with homework completion
- establish new habits and routines
- improve their relationships with family members
- be prepared for assignments, tests and exams
- increase their confidence and independence.
As noted above, every session is tailored to the needs of the student however I do usually follow a similar agenda:
- check in – see how the student is doing since our last session
- follow up – on any actions that were asked of the student do see how they went
- habit tracking – if they are a regular student ie working with me weekly for more than 6 sessions then we go through their habits which we are tracking to see change and improvement
- skill building – with the student we discuss skills that apply to them at that time ie organising their schedule, preparing for a test or exam or introduce skills for future use.
- action items – we set together and go through prior to the end of the session an action items that each of us need to accomplish prior to our next session.
Most sessions go for either 30 minutes or 1 hour in length.
How do I know what happens in my child's session?
After each session parents are copied into the session summary via email sent to students with notes and tip sheets from the session.
The confidentiality of the student is important and therefore I will usually use my own discretion or seek their permission at times on what information I provide to parents. The only exception to this is if the student is a risk to themselves, or others, or if I believe the student is being harmed. This confidentiality is important as it gives the student a safe space to discuss their concerns and or frustrations. During a session if there is anything I believe they might not want to let their parents know about I will either:
- seek their approval before preparing a session summary or email, or
- encourage them to create a dialogue themselves with their parents.
Do you work with students in ALL locations?
Yes – with technology I am able to meet with students virtually using Zoom which allows us to share resources, papers and more during our sessions. Many of my local students even prefer to work together this way as it is easy, convenient and students feel more comfortable in their own environment.
What ages do you work with?
I work with students from primary, secondary and even university. The majority of my students are usually in Year 6-12 however I do work with students in Years 3-5 sometimes as well as those that are older. Students of all ages can need assistance from time to time and there is no set age in terms of when a student can require academic coaching as all students are different and require assistance at different stages.
Do you work with students who have been diagnosed with learning difficulties or executive function challenges?
Yes I do regularly – my programs are suitable for all students including those with special needs and learning difficulties such as Executive Function, ADHD, Asperger’s and Autism. In my experience these students can often be looking for tools to assist them with all the day to day challenges of academic life. The skills they are taught are not just for school but life as well. Our program focuses on strategies that enhance executive function skills and we help equip students with tools, strategies and tips to keep them organised and focused when it comes to completing their school work.
Will my child's marks improve?
Naturally this is often the ultimate goal and yes academic coaching can help marks to increase. However it is not something that will happen overnight and can take time and effort to achieve. Usually I like to highlight and focus more on the other areas of improvement like increasing time management skills, better planning, prioritising, increased organisation and routines, adopting more useful study techniques. All of these will help a student to become a better student and in turn assist them to work towards achieving a better grade.
How many sessions will be needed?
Each situation and student are different and therefore it usually depends upon the recommendations that come out of the Student Success Plan – some of my students I work with weekly or even fortnightly on a regular basis where as for others it can be 4-6 sessions. The most important part of this for many students is that not only do they learn the necessary tools and strategies but that they also incorporate them into their daily routines so they become a habit. In my experience one or two sessions are usually not enough to see a change in habits. The focus of my programs are on sustained long-term change and building success. To be honest most students tend to want to continue even after they have all the tools and skills as they like to touch base and for me to keep them accountable and on track.
However, having said that one off sessions can still be discussed as an option. Usually when one off sessions occur they are with past students and used to reinforce particular skills or strategies or to work with a student to address a specific issue, exam preparation or planning.
Do you have a working with children check?
I confirm in my role as and Academic Life Coach that I have a current Working With Children Check and can provide you with a copy of the details upon request.
What are the costs?
As each student’s needs are usually different it is usually best to get in touch with me for a chat and we can discuss your situation and the students needs and take it from there.
Confidentiality and Privacy
Are required either prior to or on the day of service and can be made by cash or direct deposit.
Do you have other questions not addressed above then please also just ask – get in touch