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Tutoring Talk

Great conversation during tutoring last week.


Diane: So, what would you like for a snack today?

Student: Maybe Oreo cookies today, please. 

Diane: Really? You haven’t wanted Oreo cookies for a long time. Why today?

Student: Well, I think I ate too many Oreo cookies at your place in September and November so that’s why I started eating chocolate chip cookies with milk. 

Diane: Fair enough . . . but I don’t have any Oreo cookies here because I wasn’t expecting you to switch over. 

Student: Well, this is how it goes for me. Your banana bread without chocolate chips is at the top of the list. Then I like your Rice Krispie squares if you put lots of marshmallows in them. Oreo cookies are usually my third favourite and then last on the list are chocolate chip cookies.

Diane: That makes sense but I’m curious – if Oreo cookies are only third on your list, why don’t you ask for banana bread or Rice Krispie squares?

Student: Oh, that’s easy to answer. I don’t see any brown bananas around here and you told me you have to use gross bananas for good banana bread. I also don’t see any marshmallows in your cupboard. That only means one thing – I gotta’ go with my third choice today. 

Diane: Wow! You’re so observant. Well done!

Student: ThanksI guess that’s from all the tutoring. 


So much learning happens incidentally, doesn’t it? I love these moments when students really pay attention – when they’re fully present, observing and enjoying.

They’re not taking notes but they’re taking note.

Without question, some of the best learning happens outside the classroom.

So-called ‘informal learning’ has massive potential to give meaning, relevance and context to the ideas that schools offer. Such experiences can provoke an emotional response, offer a moment of revelation, or even, simply, be a bit of fun. Clare Matterson


  1. Kathy

    How true Diane!! As my mom used to say “elu õppetab”, meaning “life teaches. ”
    Experiential learning is lasting.
    Love the way you teach!!!

    • Diane (Author)

      I really like that phrase, “life teaches”. Every day offers so many opportunities to learn. We just need to pay attention.
      Thanks, Kathy.

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