**The student’s school notebook is empty, she stated that her teacher does not give class notes and only uses the notes from the textbook/worksheet. She student tells me the teacher does not give any notes and i cannot give any notes to her now because she is far too much behind, so what can i do in this situation? The student is really behind in her schoolwork and the lessons so far have involved myself helping her catch up.**

Usually when you first start with a student the initial lessons are used to help them catch up. This is quite normal. Typically we help them with their immediate school work first so that they don’t fall further behind. Then start to work on topics which they have gaps in but are relevant to the current course of study. Ultimately we want to be spending some time one gaps, current content, future content – all in one lesson.

Regarding the notes, this is unfortunately a common scenario – many teachers do not provide notes. Consider why you want to give students notes in the first place? Notes serve a reference point when students get stuck, also notes are great materials when revising or preparing for a maths test.

Notes, are most effective when a student writes them on their own. Notes with a student’s own comments, remarks, working out, practice questions etc are by far the most useful. Otherwise the student can just look at their textbook for notes, formulas, tips etc. However, when a student creates their own notes it really goes a long way to develop their understanding and greatly improves retention. DO NOT waste your own time writing notes for them – at most you can make a few basic notes but that’s all – students should create their own notes, it is a useful skill and facilitates comprehension. If she doesn’t know how to create notes, teach her – it’s all part of the tutoring role.

Perhaps a good approach here is to have the student create her own notes either after each lesson or every fortnight. There should be a separate book for notes which will eventually become like a mini-textbook of maths examples and illustrations – written by the student, for the student. As you move through new concepts and gap topics, get the student to write a few pages of notes for home work.