Hello, and welcome to the Qualified Tutor Podcast, the podcast that brings you the latest in the world of tutoring EdTech and education and hopefully inspires in us a big change that each and every one of us is capable of.
Qualified Tutor is an industry-leading tutor training organisation and an online tutoring community for 1000s of tutors around the world. This podcast is the voice of this community, where we aim to hear from tutors, teachers, entrepreneurs, coaches, business experts, students, tutor printers, and more from the world of tutoring about what inspires them every day, how they can help tutors like you and what they’ve learned about tutoring along the way.
The question is, what will you learn today?
Ludo Millar 1:11
Hi guys, it’s Ludo here, host of this podcast and director of the Love Tutoring Festival. Julia and I thought long and hard about whether to release an episode today on the 23rd of December 2021 due to its proximity to the traditional festive break taken by those who celebrate Christmas. But this conversation is just too good to hold back. If you’ve got a few spare moments, a time for pause over the next week or so or whenever you’re listening to this. Settle in, listen and learn from two of the very best. Julia Silver, Founder of Qualified Tutor and Diego Melo, CEO and Co-founder of Nudge Education, who are Lead Sponsors of the Love Tutoring Festival 2, coming to screens near you from Monday 24th to Friday 28th of January 2022.
Julia Silver 2:55
Hello and welcome. My name is Julia Silver. I’m the founder and CEO of Qualified Tutor. I’m here with Diego Melo, founder and CEO of Nudge Education and we are very, very proud to bring the Love Tutoring Festival to you.
Diego Melo 3:14
Thank you Julia. Yeah so I got a phone call from Julia saying we’re running Love Tutoring Festival again and I could not wait. I was like yeah, how can we do it and, you know, excited to announce it and guess what we might be doing together. [LAUGHS]
Julia Silver 3:38
Absolutely. So why the Love Tutoring Festival, Diego? Why are you so excited?
Diego Melo 3:41
I mean to be honest, Qualified Tutors, the Love Tutoring Festival being this sort of twin sisters kind of thing. Yeah. Qualified Tutor’s in particular being part of Nudge Education’s life really for the past two years. And we couldn’t live without Qualified Tutor anymore.
Our tutors are empowered, equipped, they find community, an enormous amount of expertise and it works for anyone but ultimately we find that the quality of delivery out there in the field has substantially increased. And it’s given people, for example, like a child psychologist, or a retired social worker, the confidence to not only engage with young people in a way that will get them to this place where they need to be, to a place where life is worth living, but it will also give them the confidence as to how to tutor on that one-to-one basis so they can draw into their own particular professional experiences of working with kids who are disengaged, but also do a really good job of teaching them the Maths, English, Science, robotics, animal care, whatever it is you need to do. So basically, the idea of love tutoring festival is to open that out to you.
Julia Silver 4:59
Diego and I have this joy of working together and supporting tutors and inspiring them with the love of the change that we’re making together. But we know that it goes way beyond Qualified Tutor and way beyond my application. There are so many organisations that are making a huge difference out there, but tutoring can be lonely. And so love tutoring is an invitation and a celebration. Talk to us a little bit about that celebration, Diego.
Diego Melo 5:32
I mean, life has enough to drag us down at times. But there’s this kind of enormous amount of an equal, if not greater, amount of hope and joy. And I think sometimes there’s a bit of a culture within the education sector. What I’ve found about this partnership that we have is that it celebrates the good. It looks at that horizon and thinks that can be a world where those who need it the most can get it the most. So it’s not about equality, it’s about an equitable world where those who need it a bit more do get a bit more.
And we know that like a fair, equitable world, it’s best for everybody. And we just need to look at other economies or other places where that doesn’t happen to see what some of the fields for life are like, okay, crime and all that kind of stuff. So it makes sense. Just imagine a child, so, to jump in, imagine thinking of a child not being able to dream up, if they want to be a bricklayer, a hairdresser, an air-pilot, a doctor, that’s not a world that I want to be part of. Finding, gathering people together to celebrate. And to imagine this world that we could create together is an unmissable opportunity, I think. Get yourselves over.
Julia Silver 7:03
Let me tell you about the Love Tutoring Festival. Monday to Friday, 9am to 10pm, 75 hours of live events, which will all be of course accessible as recordings afterwards. It’s going to be amazing, and it’s not a conference. It’s a festival. We want you to bring your joy, we want you to bring your voice and most importantly, we want everybody in the room to bring their expertise. We are not looking to ask people to sit and listen to the experts. We are a roomful of educators.
And the only way that we’re going to create the change that we’re looking to create is by asking everybody to put their shoulder to the wheel. So we’re going to be hosting events that are collaborative, and inviting you to get involved. The speakers are going to be astonishing. But let me tell you first about the themes of each day. So Monday is Special Educational Needs, Mental Health and Wellbeing. And of course, that’s a really important place to start our conversation. Inclusiveness is baked into the Qualified Tutor and to the Nudge Education way of being. And what we’re going to ask you to do is to think about what you can do to support and enable students who are facing barriers to learning. So Diego at this stage, can you tell us a bit about Nudge Education and your approach to supporting Special Educational Needs, neurodiversity, mental health?
Diego Melo 8:33
Yeah, I mean, we work with a particular niche of students not limited to, but nonetheless, you know, our focus and our efforts is working with those who have come to be chronically disengaged. So the kids we work with often have been kind of fractured in some way, have some sort of inner, some sort of way away from the education sector for quite some time, or that educational trajectory is fractured, with traumatic events. So it’s long-term, but it’s also complex. And in all of these complexities, it’s actually there’s quite an easy solution to it. It’s called love, actually.
Love. It’s called attention and care. And there’s lots and lots of good science behind love and caring and all that kind of stuff. I’m not sure if people remember the days of studying Maslow and the way he talks about some of those things. You know, there’s a lot of good neuroscience out there that does that. So we work with that particular sort of niche of students. We’ve begun to work more and more with schools who are concerned about the risks that some of those kids that they work with, are up against, that could lead to chronic disengagement. So we’ve been, yes, working with young people who are struggling to meet some of those academic achievements and goals. We’ve been working with young people who are at the risk of exclusions. We’ve been working with young people who have been excluded to, you know, a short-term exclusion period. But it is entirely about leaving no child behind. So whether the child is in school or not in school, chronic disengagement, we are trying to create this movement of like-minded people that will get behind a world where we can look back and think there’s no one behind us. If there is, we go back and get them.
Julia Silver 10:34
So tell us about the five cornerstones.
Diego Melo 10:37
So the five cornerstones is something that we’ve come to understand based on our practice that came to give evidence to our work, you know, the effectiveness of our work, which is founded upon five main things. It’s movement, you know, how good it feels to move and have a biggie or go and, you know, jump on a bike and have a pedal or, you know, to do some yoga or climb some walls.
Julia Silver 10:59
Or swimming in the sea …
Diego Melo 11:03
Or yes, December swimming in the cold sea, in Brighton. [LAUGHS] Yes. But we all know how good it feels. If you look at the health of a child that is well engaged with the education sector, which by the way is amazing, right, I think the education sector is producing some amazing results. There’s a lot of noise about what we could do better. But I think there’s not enough celebration about how well it’s doing under enormous pressure.
Julia Silver 11:35
So another festival, to me it sounds like another festival.
Diego Melo 11:37
So we went to the other thing that we do with our students, we engage in enormous amount of creative work. And that isn’t necessarily about playing the guitar, or painting a picture. That is art, and not necessarily creative. Sometimes, we’re not creating anything new, just joining the dots. It’s good nonetheless. But creativity versus engaging people in problem solving. So if you’re feeling good about problem solving, then we begin to understand the physiology of a child as well, again, if you look at a child that is doing quite well in school, they move lots, they are very creative in solving their own problems in terms of their own relationships. So how they’re going to get away with not doing that homework or how they’re going to find time to do their own work. And, you know, it might be learning the guitar, it might be learning a particular skill, but what they also do quite well these days and regularly eating there’s a routine, there’s a flow to that nutrition. There are enormous debates about what’s healthy food and what’s not healthy food, whether you should give your child a McDonald’s or should we give them some broccoli instead, or something like that there’s an enormous polarising arguments quite noisy, as well.
What we do know about the physiology of a child as well is that, you know, by eating, you activate that rest and digest part of you, your central nervous system, which then probably helps you to engage with more thoughtful concentration, or perhaps even rest, which is the other thing that we do with the young people that we work, or that we have the pleasure of working with or intervening is we put some good routines there of rest. And that rest isn’t a solid sleep. Rest is about having a chance to slow things down and turn off the engine for a little bit and maybe look at something or watch something. And then ultimately, we do want the people to grow and in their ability to be aware and present. So we do lots of reflective work, whatever it is, whilst all of this is happening in the background, we’re delivering the Maths, the robotics, the biology, the psychology, carpentry, the carpentry, you know, yeah, whatever we were taught somebody to do some got a certificate in, wild swimming. Someone from the Midlands, wish they had been me who had to live in it, but I’m not qualified enough to do that.
So no wonder we have the success rate because actually, we are empowering, genuinely empowering the child to make some of those decisions about feeling good about life, living a life that is worth living, which, of course means going back and being with your friends in school. Of course, it means, you know, reconnecting with new people. It’s very hopeful. But we need to know that we’re not alone. And I think that’s why the Festival is so important, whether you’re alone, individual, single tutor with your own clients, whether you’re part of an organisation that’s delivering on the National Tutoring Programme, whether you are slightly different organisational, like Nudge Education, as some of those elements in there. Just as really important that we feel connected, that we know that we’re part of a greater great idea.
Julia Silver 15:02
Thank you. I’m going to ask Diego to tell us his thoughts on the business of tutoring now. Because Tuesday is our focus on ourselves as freelancers, as small business leaders, and sometimes medium and large businesses. But what’s so interesting there is the combination between your mindset as an educator, and your mindset as a leader, and how those two things come together with management skills as well. And you and I talk about this a lot, about that North Star, and about serving that North Star vision. So can you talk to us about your history moving from being a school leader, to being a business leader? And what was transferable? What skills you needed to learn more?
Diego Melo 15:51
Well, thank you. I think I’m still a better educator than a business leader. Most of us tell everyone. But I think the biggest lesson I could ever tell anybody, and I think it will probably, it has taken me years to learn, and it’ll probably take me years to perfect, but will probably stay with me for the rest the entirety of my career, is the art of connecting with people. There is business, this is a transaction, isn’t it? So it’s an engagement. It’s a service. It has to make people’s lives better. And those who can actually tune into that will build great businesses. It’s very important. I know people are probably dying to understand the how and, you know, how do you get this, what kind of software do we- all that noise, or as some, some very wise young woman from Scandinavia would say, ‘Blah, blah, blah’.
I think the important thing here, Julia, is to understand that we are serving the privilege in that. So tune in your service, uncertain how to communicate your service, be kind enough to understand how to improve that. But mostly, I think the business of tutoring, whilst we have to take great care, I think the Festival will unpack some of that, you know, from taxation, to marketing to all of that stuff that’s been there for years. I think one of the things we need to be attuned to, and I think hopefully, that that theme will emerge as well in the Festival. It says business people, people who have an interest in doing something, but also getting something back, pay motivation, being money via purpose, whatever it is, it’s important that we connect, and we understand that particular art of connecting with our environments with our ecosystem, and being a great part of it and the role that you play.
Julia Silver 18:18
Talk to us a little bit about allyship as well in business.
Diego Melo 18:23
Well, yes, I mean, it’s an enormous sort of a natural human reaction, isn’t it, the amygdala kicks into who is going to get destitute and who’s going to get my student. I know that because of being so honestly, I love it, you know, that contract and stuff. And it’s all very important. Of course it is. But ultimately, it really is about being an ally, to all of those parts that have an interest in the gifts that you have to offer. So we often challenge or we invite people into conversations when they assume that we are anti-edgy, the education system, or that we don’t want to add to this or or that schools are bad or it doesn’t make any sense. I think the allyship element really touches very briefly on the concept that we are in this ecosystem, that actually we’re all trying to do the same thing. We’re trying to live a life worth living. It’s really that straightforward. So from that place, if you work back from that place, yeah, you know, the world is bringing us to a place where the concept around competition and or games, might be some short-term gains for whoever is leading that but ultimately that long-term journey that we want to be together.
Julia Silver 19:59
You’re making me think of Simon Sinek’s The Infinite Game, where he talks about the fact that nobody wins at business and nobody wins at life. What you’re supposed to be doing is just moving forward together and making change along the way.
Diego Melo 20:14
So yeah, as a tutor, I think one of the greatest, rare things that we’ve observed at Nudge Education over the past six years or so, is when people turn aside with a particular part of that, it always feels disjointed. Okay, we’ve got some great opportunities for students to actually bring people into our arms, the success of a child is vital. Yeah, everybody feels better when that happens normally. So yeah.
Julia Silver 20:44
Okay, great. So let’s keep moving. And let’s think about Wednesday’s theme. So Wednesday, we’re talking about Teaching and Learning. It’s the pinnacle of our week. And the reason why we put it in the centre is because there’s no point in talking about teaching and learning without talking about the whole child first. So on Wednesday, when we drill down into teaching and learning, what would you share with us in terms of your insights about how a tutor should be showing up to support teaching and learning most effectively?
Diego Melo 21:17
Well again, I sound like a broken record. But it really is just about connecting with the organisations that are there and having that conductivity. That is the crux of successful tutoring, it’s about being able to connect with your child. You might be an excellent mathematician, but if you’re not connecting with the child, you’re trying to teach Maths, they’re probably not getting the right results. But the max impact you’re going to have is on one, two, in the long-term, outcomes for that child, so you might debate it. So I think when it comes down to teaching and learning, again, it’s about knowing the child, the teacher. And we can do that through all sorts of things. There’s numerous amounts of software out there, you know, like, do your baseline, you know, figure out some of their preferences, really understand what their interests are. Gauge the mood. So really, it’s about the overall understanding of what that student that you’re about to go and teach is like, you and I need to take that piece, you have to slow it down. Because otherwise you get straight down to business. And you miss the whole point of the business of tutoring.
Julia Silver 22:39
Beautiful. So you and I were talking earlier about listening. Talk to us about the magic of listening.
Diego Melo 22:50
So I’m a terrible listener, sometimes, Julia, I have to tell you. And that resulted in some difficult things. I’ve been to, well, difficult conversations with people when I was misunderstood. And so taken the whole ‘was misunderstood’ stance, I was missing a suit, because that’s the vibe that I gave back then. I wasn’t really paying attention. So there are some very obvious places we can go with listening. Start by slowing down. So I came here to your beautiful home in London. And I’m very grateful that we could have jumped straight onto the video. But we had some conversation, didn’t we? And a good cup of tea, a great cup of tea. But we allow time. Yeah. And I think that’s not a luxury, that we should be looking to a central issue, we should be part of the process.
Julia Silver 23:58
So you’re talking about take the time with your student to make the space for them to really speak and be heard.
Diego Melo 24:05
Yeh. But there’s also the pragmatism of, you know, if you’re teaching straight up Maths or physics, it’s important to understand and listen, because we might have their syllabus that we need to deliver in order for them to pass the exam. But you might be missing out on some of this, or like this, or this is really, I’m not quite sure about this, is those curious snippets of things, listen to the clues that they’re telling potentially. I think though, there will be way better tutors, from new educators to talk about those details. But I think again, it really boils down to the art of connecting with your student. I mean, we’ll go back around in circles and the experts will tell you, not me, it really is entirely about connectivity with your wider social ecosystem, that you’re part of that, you shouldn’t be being blessed by Pisa.
Julia Silver 24:55
Okay, Thursday, we’ll be talking about the National Tutoring Programme. And we’ll be talking about and with the Tuition Partners, which will be a fascinating couple of roundtables. And we’re really going to dig into the School-Led Programme, because that’s a new initiative that’s enabling more people to be quite intentional and quite autonomous about who’s working with which students. I think the thing that I want to ask you, Diego is this: why should schools be making use of the National Tutoring Programme?
Diego Melo 25:32
Well because every single child matters, I know, it sounds like an old campaign from government. And that there’s probably a reason why that was a good name. They do. And, you know, we’ve got to be living in a world where everyone is equitable. Where things are more equitable. And I meant to say, well, that means that some need a bit more than others, because we don’t want to leave anyone behind. And it doesn’t make any economic sense. But also, it doesn’t quite tap into that visceral human element of us. Why should, say, Mary, have dreams to be a doctor or a scientist, but Elizabeth, is being deprived from that opportunity to feel so good about life, and be able to actually be at the same start line in school?
Julia Silver 26:25
Do you believe that the National Tutoring Programme can help?
Diego Melo 26:28
I think it’s wonderful, I think it’s amazing that so many organisations are behind it. I think we’ve got some, I mean, I know of some incredible people, organisations, delivering on that, some of which are sponsoring some of the Festival as well, you know, Johnny Manning, and many others, I can’t officially say names, and I’m not very good with these things. But it’s fantastic. Number one, lots of organisations are getting behind it. I think it’s brilliant that we finally are attempting a concerted efforts to make sure that children are not disproportionately affected by the time that we had with COVID. B) that we close that inequality gap a bit more, I’d love to see that bridged little gap, everybody just walks on the right side, if they find themselves on the wrong side, on the wrong side is lack of opportunities, feeling like they can’t achieve or anxious about going to school or holding a pen and so on that kind of stuff.
And I think it’s fantastic, I think there is some work to do about making sure schools know more about it. But tell me, if there’s finances and resources out there to get the most advantage in your school, to come alongside some amazing professionals who are focused on moving them from this centre point, to that sort of point, he would want to get behind it. And let’s do it, let’s do it. Let’s clear the bat. Sometimes they start faffing about and crack on. So I say to my team, yes, that it’s all very well, to be busy. But unless we get in front of the children who need it the most, it becomes but a pointless exercise of ego, or business. A busy, busy, beautiful art is it producing the results that we want, which is relieving people from this place of madness and taking them to this place of greatness where life is worth living. So let’s do it. I think let’s get rid of the noise. And let’s crack on with what matters which is making sure every single child gets the chance that they deserve. And then imagine the world where we are actually, we’ve got a country where pupils are happy and achieving. Imagine …
Julia Silver 28:58
Imagine the potential. Let’s zoom right out. And let’s think about Friday: World Tutoring. What does it mean to you the concept of tutoring as an international profession?
Diego Melo 29:12
Yeh well, Julia, we have enormous amounts of conversations with international schools and work happening with international schools and what that’s indicating to me particularly from our angle, is number one, chronic disengagement is happening, is a feature in the public, in the student but in the international student population. And then number two, that inequality is something that every single country in varying degrees is experiencing. I was not diagnosed with anything in school but if you look back at my history in school, it’s littered with episodes of hyperactive and attention difficulties. I was then tutored, I went to this private tutoring centre to learn about primarily Maths, in Recife in Brazil. That’s why I’m telling you that. Because I think I mean, I was a massive- and that gives me the confidence. And I still remember the guy. And he’s got this kind of grey hair. And he was, I think was a PhD student, physics PhD student, and he was there. But there’s something about contemporary members never can see his face, he was tall, and he was just so warm. They don’t show up like dead scared, because all this kind of little private rooms was a long time ago, let’s put this in his house. And I’m dead scared. And I’ll leave feeling like I was, you know, I wouldn’t mind coming back again next week. He was mad, something that I don’t necessarily enjoy doing.
Julia Silver 30:56
So tell us a bit about the referrals that you get from across the world at the moment.
Diego Melo 31:00
It’s primarily work that we have with British schools to hear about what we’re doing in the UK. And they ask a few for good help. And we say yes, and then it goes from there. And that’s a joy.
Julia Silver 31:16
So I think the big question is this: Diego, why are you excited about partnering with us on the Love Tutoring Festival? What’s it all for?
Diego Melo 31:26
I mean, honestly, again, going back to the same thing over and over again, it’s great to be part of something great. So yeah, yes. I mean, it comes with all sorts of wonderful things, things that will bring you joy, things that will bring you thoughts, things that will bring you challenged threats and challenge. But you know, isn’t that just how it goes from birth. I mean, there’s stress and joy in one particular go, you know, not that I’ve given birth ever myself. But I can imagine that, you know, I was there for my sister right there with her. And it was this complex thing of like, joy and pain. And so, I want to be part of something great, Julia. And I think that what you’ve got here is very, very precious. But I want people to know that there is an organisation out there, Nudge Education, and it’s entirely democratised, then to whose sole concern is to empower tutors, to engage with young people in a way that will take them away from this place of not being a great place, and life is a bit pointless, and I wish I could use some words to describe it but it’s probably no good in a public forum, or in anyone’s house, pretty poopy to take them to a place where there are at least glimpses of ‘Oh’, so we move them away from this place. So yeah, I want to be part of something great I guess.
Julia Silver 33:15
Diego, everyday, during the Love Tutoring Festival, we are going to be running Insight Sessions. Can you tell us, and those are going to be at lunchtime between between 1-1:30pm, could you tell us a bit about what’s going to be happening during those Insight Sessions? Who can join, what it’s for, what the idea is.
Diego Melo 33:36
Yeah so, during those Insight Sessions is a place for you to slow down, I think it’s a place for you to come to learn some really precious neuroscientific insights into what it takes to engage with children and their brains and help them learn. So there’ll be two main themes running through those days. So three of those five days we’ll be looking at breath work. And there will be ..
Julia Silver 34:07
Diego Melo 34:08
We’ll get there, we’ll definitely do that. But we’re looking at the neuroscience of breath work and how that can support academic performance. But we’ll also be giving you and tutors good deep breath for the remainder. And you know, we give you the chance to understand how breath work can really enhance your performance as a tutor, that kind of thing.
Julia Silver 34:35
I breathe twice a week …
Diego Melo 34:39
I’m honestly, sometimes like, I have to literally think about if you know is happening, there’s something really, really kind of refreshing and it’s incorrect. It’s not it’s moving away from being a hippie and thinking about breath work and meditation and understanding the most high-performing people in the world, from the British GB team all the way through to people in business, they practise that daily, and that grounds them. That helps them to do what, to connect.
Julia Silver 35:07
So breathing is on our curriculum. Yeah.
Diego Melo 35:12
So we’ll be doing 20 minutes of giving people a little bit of an understanding and practicing for 10 minutes every day at a particular time.
Julia Silver 35:19
So bring your sandwich and stick around at lunchtime also, because we will have an opportunity to slow things down. And to give you a chance to be intentional, and to create more connectivity. And then there’s one more element that we haven’t had a chance to touch on yet. And that is the Awareness Sessions. So this idea came from you, between 4-6pm every day, we’re going to give you a chance to book in and find out more about what it would be like to work with, what it would be like to work with Nudge Education, what it would be like to train with Qualified Tutor, and the rest of our sponsors as well. They’ll be there and available for you to book in a slot and come in.
Diego Melo 36:00
Absolutely, absolutely. Don’t be shy, you know, get involved, connect. Find out who you want to be part of, where you want to fit in, if you do.
Julia Silver 36:13
I think what that’s going to enable us to do is that, the rest of the Festival, we all have projects that we’re working on. But we’re not going to be talking about that all through every day. The Awareness Sessions between 4-6pm are a space for you to come and find out more. During the Festival, we’re all showing up as participants, and as learners, ready to learn from the speakers, and ready to learn from each other in the room. And Diego, from my point of view, this whole process of telling people about the Festival is part of the magic of the Festival. And this process of sharing these conversations with a broader audience, an international audience, and an audience that’s coming from social work, and physics PhDs, and bringing them all together to understand what’s this piece in the middle that we all have in common. What is tutoring when it’s at its core? What is being that trusted person, right? The person who’s leading the change. So I’m grateful to share this process with you.
Diego Melo 37:19
Yeah, me too. I mean, I cannot believe that we’re part of this. It’s such a great, great thing to be part of. And I mean, if you get behind all the noise, Julia, what is really this about? It’s about preserving our humanity. Like what on earth isn’t? Because of course it is. Because if it isn’t, why would it be helping out those who need a bit of extra support, because we value the humanity and affections and everything else. So this is really rich. And I hope lots and lots of you will join in.
Julia Silver 37:51
Okay, so if you want to know how to get involved with the Love Tutoring Festival, go to our website, qualifiedtutor.org/love-tutoring-festival. And over there you will find that there are three types of tickets that you can buy. The majority of our tickets are free, the majority of our events are free, thanks to our partners like Diego. If you want to join our CPD-Accredited Workshops which are delivered by Community members, and we’ll give you a Certificate and also a membership to the Qualified Tutor Community, then you will be able to purchase a ticket over there as well. But most importantly, join us, be part of it, make use of it. We exist to support you, and to help you to ;ove tutoring. Thank you.
Diego Melo 38:31
Thank you. Get involved everybody. And we will be there. So see you soon. Bye. Thanks.
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