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Tutors – Are they always the right solution?

We moved back from the UK, when my son was 4 years old. He got into a good school in Delhi and adapted to the move like fish takes to water. Moving back to India brought with it the opportunity of getting spoilt by grandparents, a network of friends and family and so much more.

There was however one problem.

Udai struggled at school in Hindi. Having spoken less of it in London, put him at a disadvantage. To top that, his attitude of “I can’t help it as I am from London”, did not help. His mind had decided he just could not do it!

So what did I do? Found a good Hindi tutor through various references and got him started. It was great, he did a lot of lessons, and I felt I had done my bit. There was another positive, we had help with homework! I got lazy, Udai got lazy and the tutor got complacent – but Udai continued to lag in class.

18 months later Udai still struggled with Hindi and he seemed to dislike going for tuitions. I knew this was not working.

Information travels through our emotion gateway. If we don’t like something or have fear these gateways close, inhibiting learning.

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The problem

Udai was clearly not motivated. He had decided he was just not good in Hindi. His Hindi tutor was a crutch, used to do homework without having to think. It had not built his confidence or his interest. In fact, now he had two points where he was reminded he could not do it – at school as well as with the tutor!

We needed a different approach. I needed to work with his mind. I needed to build more confidence and interest, and then I needed to remove the crutch.

A solution

I started working discretely by talking about how Hindi was easy, phonetic and so much simpler that English (he was already very good in this subject). We planned a few fun games. I slowly started building his belief in being able to tackle the subject. And then, I made the deal! I told him I would stop his tutor if he promised to focus more himself. The magic worked! He was motivated. He got better, he worked on his own homework and started improving in class.

Far too often we rush to find the easiest solution without addressing the root cause – in this case fear and lack of confidence. The tutor provided my son with a crutch without dealing with the real problem. It was the wrong medicine. One cannot fix a fracture with a pain medicine! The problem is not with the pain medicine but the prescription.

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