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What is Academic Coaching? An Inside Look at The Learning Room

Here at The Learning Room we pride ourselves on providing individualized, 1:1 instruction and academic coaching. We believe that every learner can succeed with the right tools and strategies...but what exactly do we do and how is it different from traditional tutoring?

The concept of an academic coach is relatively new and is typically applied in a few different scenarios - college prep (high school), college, and more recently, K-8. Regardless of the age group, an academic coach focuses on the root cause of a student’s learning challenges - digging into the processes, habits, and mindset that might be keeping them from reaching their potential. Once the emotional and mental needs are addressed, academic performance follows.

You can learn more about our process here.

How is Academic Coaching different from a reading tutor or math tutor?

While tutors and academic coaches work towards similar goals of helping learners grow, there are a few key differences in what we help students learn and how we do it.

1: Tutors concentrate on current grade-level content and skills. Academic coaches concentrate on finding and strengthening foundational gaps.

Let's say a third grader is struggling with learning multiplication facts. A tutor might do worksheets and flashcards to help with memorization. An academic coach will find where the gaps in understanding are and address those first, building an understanding of multiplication rather than relying on memorization. For example, a learner struggling with multiplication facts probably needs more targeted place value instruction to build a true understanding of multiplication.

2: Tutors focus on subject knowledge. Academic coaches focus on learning processes and strategies.

If a student is struggling in reading, a reading tutor will focus on reading. If a student is struggling with math, a math tutor will focus on math. While instruction may be targeted to a specific subject area, academic coaches dig into the processes, habits, and mindset of the learner to help build problem-solving strategies. These strategies can be applied across subject areas and help students become better problem solvers and well-rounded learners.

3: Tutors work with students where they should be. Academic coaches work with students where they are.

If a 6th-grade student is struggling with writing, a tutor will work with them on writing genres, topics, and skills that are developed in 6th grade. An academic coach will assess and carefully pinpoint which parts of the writing process need the most support. Not limited to grade level skills, the academic coach will meet a struggling learner where they are and take them towards where they need to be.

How do I know if my child needs an academic coach or tutor?

Families should seek support when their student is behind their peers, when they express frustration with their classes or a general dislike of school, or when they have a lack of confidence or fear/anxiety around it. Prior to beginning any academic coaching program, we’ll do a thorough assessment to learn where your child is at and then recommend a course of action. It’s possible a traditional tutor will fit your needs, and we’ll always be transparent about whether or not academic coaching is a fit for you.

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Choose The Learning Room as your partner in your child's educational journey. Contact us today and witness the transformative impact of our academic coaching programs. Let's unlock your child's full potential together.

Learn more about our approach here. Jessica (owner and founder of The Learning Room) walks you through our process with three short videos.

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