With so many kids learning remotely, parents may be witnessing their child’s classroom struggles for the first time. But is an academic coach in order?
A lot of parents have been getting a first-hand look at the way their child learns thanks to the rise in remote schooling since 2020. If you are not a trained academic or educator, it can be hard to tell if your child is struggling because they are having trouble with the material, or if they are dealing with the stress of external factors, like the challenges of remote learning. If you have worries about your child’s education, an academic coach might be the solution.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about academic coaches, and how to know when your child needs one.
What is an academic coach?
An academic coach is one of the many types of education specialists that you can consider bringing in to help your child become a stronger learner. Not to be confused with a tutor (which is someone you hire to instruct another person, usually in a small group or one-on-one, on a specific branch or branches of learning), an academic coach is someone who focuses on learning strategies.
For example, instead of focusing on a topic like math, an academic coach focuses on the tools young learners need in order to succeed in a broad range of subjects, like organization and basic study skills. If your child was struggling to learn algebra, for instance, you might consider hiring a math tutor to come in and teach them skills like FOIL (First Inside Outside Last for those who need a refresher and did not want to suffer the humiliation of having to Google “algebra words” to write this sentence). An academic coach, on the other hand, would not come in to cover the specifics of a particular subject, but would instead work on skills like time management (for example, to make sure that your child knows how to allot enough time for their independent work so they don’t spend most of their day on a book report and forget to leave enough time to make flash cards ahead of their math quiz).
Academic coaches are great at helping your child with a variety of tasks as they relate to the learning process, without really touching on the learning. This makes them perfect for someone who needs more broad-based help, like staying organized or creating study guides.
Fun fact: the word coach, which was first recorded in 1550–60 meaning “a large kind of carriage, usually a state carriage of royalty or people of nobility,” was used interchangeably beginning in the 1800s with the word tutor for a time, perhaps because they were seen as the people who carried students through their exams, much like a horse-drawn coach carried people from place to place.
What type of learner is your child?
Because academic coaches work by teaching your child strategies for learning, differing learning styles will require different approaches. Most people have their learning style categorized into one of four main types: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and reading/writing. Identifying which type of learner your child is will help your academic coach come up with the best strategy for them.
- Visual learners: learn best by observing. They will learn better with materials provided to them in the form of anything from pictures to written instructions.
- Auditory learners: learn best when the lesson is not solely visual. This could mean anything from having written instructions read aloud, to opting for textbooks on tape.
- Kinesthetic learners: learn best by doing whatever the task is. These learners like to get involved and interact with the lesson.
- Reading/writing learners: learn by reading what has been written about the lesson. They can share some of the same qualities that a visual learner has, and they will seek out opportunities to read and write about what they are learning.
Where can you find an academic coach for each type of learner?
The word academic means “relating to a college, academy, school or other educational institution.” That means (by definition) academic coaches can help with all stages of learning, from elementary school all the way through to college. You can find an academic coach in a number of places.
During this time of change, when most schooling is taking place remotely, providing your child with the tools they need to succeed is more important than ever. If you see your child struggling with the basics when it comes to studying, completing assignments, or even staying focused on what’s going on in the virtual classroom, an academic coach may be just the solution you’re both looking for.