Sage Advice: Tutoring Tips from the Masters – Part 3 Confucius

“I am not one who was born in the possession of knowledge, but I am one who is fond of antiquity, and earnest in seeking it there.”

Some of the wisest women and men were avid students of ancient philosophy and literature. The study of the past enables an individual to step outside of his or her own culture and period in history and think more critically of his/her modern age. No student’s education is complete without a deep understanding of history.

“If I am walking with two other men, each of them will serve as my teacher. I will pick out the good points of the one and imitate them and the bad points of the other and correct them in myself.”

Learning through example is one of the better methods by which students can improve themselves. A good mentor is always beneficial, and a tutor should always strive not just to teach but to set a good example for the student.

“Study as if you were never to master it; as if in fear of losing it.”

Learning is not a task to be abandoned once the bell rings or the student is handed a diploma. It’s a life-long pleasure meant to be consistently indulged. Socrates, the renowned Greek philosopher, was said to have taken musical lessons just before his death so that he might depart from the world a more learned man. Now that, readers, is the spirit of learning!

“You cannot open a book without learning something.”

Every book, no matter the quality, induces us to reflect on ourselves, an idea, a state of affairs, etc. Young children especially should live in an environment filled with novels and books and magazines on philosophy, mathematics, history, news, natural sciences, dance, photography, and more so that they will learn that opening book means opening their mind. If this habit is introduced to the child early on, they will carry it with them into their adult years, where their quest to come across new information will be a habitual pleasure. Tutors should always be aware of their student’s environment. If educational materials are not available to a student in his/her leisure time, suggest to the parents that a subscription to National Geographic, Time Magazine, Nature, or other periodicals would do wonders for a child’s development. There is always something to learn!

“A man who has committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it is committing another mistake.”

Tutors and parents should constantly strive to ensure that a student feels comfortable making errors, since it is from our mistakes that we learn. Similarly, students should also be taught how to analyze their actions so as to minimize the chances of making the same mistake again.


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