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Academic Support Services

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Sinews Academic support service or study coach, what is it exactly?

For many children and adolescents acquiring academic skills can be challenging. After a long day at school it may be hard for them to settle down to do homework or study for an exam and even more so if they cannot figure out where to start, if it takes considerable time and effort, or if they do not feel motivated. Moreover, for many parents who lack time, trying to help their children can be stressful and this may give rise to family arguments. To ensure that learning is not affecting the relationship between parent and child, a possible solution is for a professional to carry out support sessions at home or at school to help students improve their study skills, which will also benefit the situation at home.

When can support be necessary?
As well as helping children with diagnosed learning difficulties, such as Dyslexia or ADHD, learning support can also be useful when a child presents with low academic results compared to peers or expected grade level, as well as for students who need help in specific areas such as organising their time or developing study techniques.

In each case, the parents’ concerns are discussed beforehand. Whether there is a previously diagnosed specific learning difficulty, or if it is necessary to carry out a psycho-educational assessment at the centre, individualised goals are always set based on the child’s needs and observed difficulties.

Support Options
When these difficulties are mild or moderate, support can be carried out after school in a home-based setting. The goal is to use the academic content: homework and projects, exam preparation, working on comprehension and integration of information, etc. At the same time the students will be trained in study techniques so that they learn to study efficiently and independently in the future.

If difficulties are more noticeable and affect the child’s performance in a classroom setting, a support service can also be organised with prior consent from the school. This can help children within the autism spectrum, those who have language difficulties, attention issues, developmental delays, etc. In these cases, the professional will be focusing on carrying out classroom support, adapting to the school syllabus, helping the child in aspects the school considers necessary and coordinating with the child’s teachers.

Which skills are trained?
In order for the students to achieve their best academic performance, they will need to learn techniques related to some of the following aspects:

  • Organising study time, by using timers for example, learning to estimate and monitor how long each task takes.
  • Planning tasks, using an agenda or planner, dividing work into smaller and more achievable goals, learning to prioritise important task, etc.
  • Development of cognitive and metacognitive strategies by encouraging reflection on the knowledge acquired and learning procedure, increasing awareness and responsibility for their own learning progress.
  • Establishing goals together with the student and deciding on the best steps to be taken in order to achieve these. This will help increase the student’s motivation and self-esteem, overcoming any existing barriers or fears.

How long are the sessions?
As support goals are set in the mid- and long-term, allowing the child to gradually develop correct study habits so that they can work independently in the future, the sessions are usually carried out for the whole school year, although as each case is different the duration of the support may vary.

Regarding the length of the sessions, four hours are considered the minimum number of hours per week to be effective. These hours are divided in two hours on two different days. The professional will make sure the time for each task is established and it is also important to take breaks throughout the sessions, when the required tasks are completed.

Who carries out the sessions?
Sinews selects professionals from different areas related to education who have previous experience carrying out academic support. Therefore, these professionals not only have the necessary qualifications and knowledge but also work with professionalism and responsibility, obtaining a high percentage of success in the goals set for each child.

Monitoring progress
The professional will give parents regular feedback on the child’s progress, as well as providing a monthly written report with information regarding initial difficulties, goals that have been achieved, aspects which still need to be worked on and any further recommendations.

Which language should the support be in?
The language will be decided before starting the support sessions. Sessions can be carried out in English, in both English and Spanish or only in Spanish, depending on the child’s needs, taking into account the language of instruction at school and the languages spoken at home.

Other aspects
Cooperation between the professional, the family and the school is a key factor in order to achieve the best results. If communication is fluid and the same goals are worked on in different contexts, the whole process will be more beneficial and objectives will be reached in a shorter time.

However, not all in life is studying! It is also important for children and adolescents to take part in fun activities not related to their studies during the week. Doing sports, dancing, playing a musical instrument, reading, or just having enough time for play and do things they enjoy is essential for their development.

Finally, it is important to mention that a support service does not replace clinical therapy sessions. Each case will be assessed individually and, if deemed necessary, psychology or speech and language therapy sessions in the centre will be recommended. Furthermore, the academic support service is not a private tutor or teacher for specific subjects either. For example, if a teenager has difficulties in one or two particular subjects, he will probably need a tutor only for those subjects. The role of the academic support professional is mainly that of a study coach who trains in strategies and study techniques.

For more information
If you think your child would benefit from receiving professional support, this link to our website will give you more information about the service and fees: https://www.sinews.es/en/kids/specialized-academic-support.html or you can also contact on the telephone number 91 700 19 79.

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