Selecting a tutor can change lives, yet most of us don’t think about tutoring unless a student is struggling, and we often don’t consider much more than price. What we overlook is that the right tutor and the right type of tutoring can make a huge difference, both for students who are struggling to keep up, as well as for those who want to enrich their education and attend the best schools.
The four main considerations are the same whether the student is struggling or looking to get ahead, but the details of each are important when choosing the right approach.
- One-to-one private tutoring vs. centre or classroom based tutoring
Group tutoring settings can be useful for students who are already independent learners, or those who want to do a quick brushing up on skills, but overall the one-to-one tutoring session gives a more personalized and adaptive approach that focuses on the specific skills the student needs to work on most.
For the struggling student, confidence is almost always an issue and an impediment to learning. A student without confidence no longer asks questions to confirm understanding for fear of appearing incapable. This is difficult to correct in a group tutoring session. In fact, the student may feel even worse asking a question here because they would be confirming to themselves that they are the worst student in a group of struggling students!
For the student who wants to excel, confidence is also important because this type of student must become fearless, knowing that trying (or asking) and failing, and learning how to recover, are part of the learning process.
- Tutor fit and connection
Tutor “fit” is more than just about academic qualifications. It is about adapting teaching style to learning preferences and speed, building confidence, coaching in organization, time management and prioritization and creating a personal connection. Science says we learn better from people we like.
The right tutor can help to motivate both the most discouraged student and the most gifted achieve their goals.
- Assessment process
The assessment is the information gathering stage before tutoring starts that is required to match student, tutor and curriculum. It should include an academic assessment (to assess need and design curriculum), and a review of interests and personality with discussion of the student’s goals. Learning style assessments may also be useful.
Based on the assessment results, a plan can be developed to meet the student’s goals with a tutor who can make the exercise fun, inspire confidence and cultivate the joy of independent learning.
- Supplementary curriculum and tutoring approach
Curriculum is important whether you are catching up, or getting ahead. Tutors should come prepared with supplementary curriculum to support a student who has not understood or been motivated by what is being taught in school.
If a tutor is only providing homework help, a struggling student may not learn prerequisite skills that might have been missed in previous grades, and it is hard to get ahead (or stay interested) if the tutor is just repeating what was done in class.
By learning one-to-one how a student perceives their education, a resourceful tutor can adapt curriculum to fill knowledge gaps and build strong foundations for further learning.
Article provided by Tutor Bright – Oakville.