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Home   Dartford   News   Article

Dartford tutor Jean Taylor says computers are hindering pupils

15 March 2014
by Julia Roberts
Jean Taylor with reading pupil Lewis Dryden, 6.

Jean Taylor with reading pupil Lewis Dryden, 6.

Private tutor Jean Taylor says she’s never been busier due to failings in the system by successive governments.

The former school teacher started her one-woman business more than 20 years ago after retiring from the classroom.

It has grown from tutoring one child a week to having three other tutors on the books to help with 40 students – and counting – of all ages.

Mrs Taylor said her business, Dartford Tutoring and Counselling Centre based in Shepherds Lane, Dartford, is flourishing because governments have made it difficult for children to get the education they need in school.

The introduction of technology into the classroom has been given a black mark by the married mother-of-two.

“The problem lies with many things but particularly with computers,” said Mrs Taylor. “Because children are using computers all the time for everything they cannot read, write or spell.

“The old way (of learning) was the best way but reading out loud is hardly ever done in classrooms anymore.

“I ask my students to spend five minutes a day reading out loud. It takes a few weeks for them to be convinced but they soon come back to say that their grades are higher.

“It really is the key to everything. If they hear their own voice, especially when reading out their homework, they notice any mistakes and correct them.

“Computers are not allowing children to use their magnificent brains.”

Jean Taylor, front left, then clockwise student Vinnie Cavero, maths teacher Hema Panchal and Lewis Dryden, 6.

Jean Taylor, front left, then clockwise student Vinnie Cavero, maths teacher Hema Panchal and Lewis Dryden, 6.

Mrs Taylor is also critical of the proposed changes to the Kent Test, otherwise known as the 11-plus.

Kent County Council is introducing changes to this year’s test in September, although the details have not been finalised.

Grammar schools are also looking at setting their own tests in an effort to counter the coaching culture and encourage more applications from pupils from different backgrounds.

Many believe the current test favours those who can afford private tuition and those attending fee-paying prep schools.

However, Mrs Taylor said the fact the changes are yet to be decided is only hampering children’s education.

“It is difficult to find out what they (KCC) are intending to do. I’m trying to help children but they won’t say anything about it.”

Mrs Taylor, who taught drama and English literature, concentrates on English, maths and science, as well as the Kent Test. She also helps university students struggling with their coursework. Lessons are on a one-to-one basis and last an hour.

“The demand grows and grows and I don’t even advertise,” said Mrs Taylor. “I teach children aged six who are already struggling to people taking a degree or doing teacher training who don’t know how to write essays.”

Mrs Taylor only started teaching at the age of 41 after several jobs, including welfare officer and secretary, and taught at secondary schools in Erith and Slade Green.

Mrs Taylor is also a qualified drama and educational therapist and uses her skills to help her students, and their parents, cope with exam stress.

“Because all my students get nervous I use relaxation techniques, just five minutes, and I also teach their mums, if they so wish, how to do i t as well.”

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