Discipline and targeted teaching methods can deliver impressive results, writes Kristie Kellahan.
Every child can reach their full potential with the help of tailor-made learning strategies and a liberal dose of tough love, according to one education entrepreneur.
Sherrin Gugenberger is the
co-founder of Fruition Tuition, a leader in the tuition industry with more than 1000 students enrolled across Queensland and Victoria (and plans to open branches in New South Wales). Gugenberger and her husband, Antony, resigned from their teaching positions in 1993 to explore new ways to support students in becoming more successful in mainstream schooling.
Prospective enrollees of Fruition complete a needs analysis, a comprehensive test to determine how a learner learns best. This includes their preferred learning styles, strengths and growth areas, the causes of any gaps that are identified and the most effective learning strategies for each individual learner.
Fruition has worked with road accident victims, learners with a variety of learning difficulties and medical assessments, and those who have fallen behind due to disciplinary issues.
Gugenberger reports impressive success with students enrolled at the centres.
"Jess was 21 when she attended a needs analysis. She could only write her name; she could not read or write and was not able to complete simple maths," she says. "She had almost zero learning outcomes in formal learning environments.
"Our team was able to identify that Jess could discuss things; she was able to engage in conversation and seemed to comprehend when verbalising her thoughts.
"Fruition used this strength in the way Jess's brain functioned to teach her how to read, write and complete simple maths."
In her book You Are Not Raising Children . . . You Are Raising Adults, Gugenberger offers parents advice on how to help children develop the right thinking, attitudes, skills, manners, work ethic and values to nurture their growth into independent, responsible, happy and functional adults.
Tough love is encouraged.
"Children are generally content and well-behaved when they are aware of the consequences their actions have," Gugenberger says.
"Parents need to have clearly defined values, boundaries and consequences, and enforce them consistently."
While teachers do the best they can within today's education system, Gugenberger says their main role should be as educators, not a police force. Discipline must start at home and be reinforced at school.
"As much as schools need to adhere to the same rules as parents in order to create consistency, the public does expect a lot from teachers," Gugenberger says.
"Tough love is something children and adolescents understand and appreciate and this starts at home."
When disciplining children and helping them to make wiser choices, Gugenberger says it is important to separate the person from their actions.
"Saying 'it is because I love you so much', or 'it is because I see so much goodness and potential in you' that 'I am going to hold you to account for your behaviour' can be powerful," she says.