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Tutor Tips

Narrative Learning

An aspect of working with adult students that differ from working with younger students is that adult students have a larger pool of experiences they can draw from to make connections with their learning. In this vein, a narrative teaching strategy is one that aims to link “lived experience and curricular content”. Storytelling is a type of narrative teaching that helps adult learners make the meaningful connection between their personal experiences and what they are learning. When encouraging students to tell their stories, it is important that they feel secure and comfortable with you and that listeners will be receptive to what they have to say.

Storytelling can help students see content in a framework that not only relates to them personally, but that relates to larger-scale groupings like family and society. Storytelling can also be a helpful tool in practicing writing skills, and analyzing stories can help students strengthen reading skills like identifying the sequence of events, the main idea or conflict, and other comprehension questions. How might you be able to incorporate narrative learning in your tutoring sessions?

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Perhaps your student has a grammar question that you are unsure how to answer – there are various resources at your disposal to bolster your own knowledge as well as your student’s. Videos can be a helpful way to supplement your student’s learning. They are beneficial for visual and aural learners and can be accessed virtually anywhere. JenniferESL is a YouTube channel aimed towards helping ESL students, however she also reviews different aspects of grammar that can be helpful for native speakers to review. Rachel’s English is a similar channel that provides many videos related to phonics, vocabulary, and English conversation.

Even channels not necessarily related to English may be valuable to your student – videos can be helpful for introducing students to new topics, enriching a text, and deepening learning. Additionally, using closed captioning can help reinforce pronunciation and help students practice reading along. Think about how you can incorporate videos in your lessons with your student!