My son is attending a tutorial programme once a week to improve his English language skills, part which includes a technology component where pupils work on computers to learn phonics, vocabulary, decoding skills and pronunciation. At first my son thought this was interesting but his teacher is now telling me he doesn't want to work on the computer. His teacher has asked him what the reason is and he says he doesn't like computer work. What can I do to encourage him? His teacher thinks he is being stubborn. Education consultant Florence Robertson responds: This is an unusual situation as many children are happy to work on a computer for many hours during a day, much to their parents' concern for their son or daughter to have other interests. At your son's age, there could be a number of reasons for his lack of interest in the tutorial centre's computer programme such as: He doesn't understand what to do on the computer, He can't read well enough on the computer to follow directions, He prefers to learn with the help of his teacher. Have a talk with your son's teacher to learn more about the centre's programme - the content, the activities and the reading level. Ask whether it is at your son's reading level. If the programme is above his reading level, your son could be making excuses for not wanting to work on the programme. If he sees other children working with no difficulty, he may be hesitant about asking his teacher for help as he may think this will show that he is not as smart as the others. It is also important to talk with your son's day school teacher. Find out if he has the same attitude about computer programmes there. This information will give you some insight into whether the problem is the tutorial computer programme or your son's attitude to computers in general After talking with your son's teachers, have a talk with your son to find out why he doesn't like the centre's computer programme. If his reasons relate to the difficulty of the programme, explain this to the teacher to see what steps can be taken to help him and the part you can take in this. Perhaps for your child at present, it is better that the computer section of the programme on phonics, vocabulary, and pronunciation be taught by the teacher until your son can make the transition to the computer. If your son does not articulate the reasons, perhaps because he doesn't know, then involve him in some computer work at home. Ask him if he would like to write a letter to his grandparents to tell them what he is learning at school or if he would like to write a story to send to them. Be sure that it is something of his interest and choice to see if he has the same attitude to a computer as he has at the centre. If he is happy about such activities, you will realise that it is not working on a computer that bothers him but it is the centre's computer programme. If he shows no interest in these activities, then it is his dislike for computer activities. Whether your son's lack of interest in the programme is the difficulty of it or his preference to be instructed by a teacher, it is necessary for you to explain to him the importance of computers in society today. Inform him that he will need to be knowledgeable about computers as he will be required to work on them throughout his education and likely his employment. Show him through your example the need for a balance in the use of computers and other methods of learning.