Some of the facts about tutoring
Tutoring, generally, helps students to improve their knowledge. However, a number of students and parents have unrealistic expectation from tutoring. Many of them expect to fix their knowledge over a short time of tutoring (usually in first few lessons). There is no such tutor that can significantly improve student’s knowledge over just few lessons (even though some tutors claim that) especially in Mathematics as one of the most demanded subjects. So, improving knowledge is a time-consuming process and consistent work need to be taken over longer period. For that reason, it is important to choose right tutor. Parents and students are often confused when choosing a tutoring. Several questions are often in their mind.
Who is good tutor? What tutoring method to choose? How much will cost me? Will tutoring scheduled time clashes with other activities? What about parents’ time?
First of all, how to select a good tutor from thousands of available tutors on a search result. Usually, students and parents make their decision based on referral if they have someone to refer them some tutor. I can’t say that it is wrong decision but, we have to understand that good tutor for somebody doesn’t mean that is good for everybody as different students have different needs and expectation from tutoring. Somehow, we can say that “good” tutor is a tutor with long tutoring experience, expert knowledge of the subject and always has plenty students. Such (good) tutor should be able:
- To help students not only to achieve their aim, but also, to further develop their ability to go beyond their desired result.
- To develop deep understanding of the content and an excellent knowledge of the subject.
- To rise students’ motivation and boast confidence.
- To help students in learning with understanding, rather than learning by memorising and patterns.
- To develop students’ independent study skills so, that students be able to study and think independently rather than to be dependent on tutor.
- To be time flexible suit to students time
- To adjust duration of lesson and tutoring pace according to student’s study ability.
- To know how to make students’ interest in the subject and general interest in education.
- To have low tuition fee that is affordable to all family budgets.
- To provide tutoring that is compatible to current school curriculum.
- To practice different style of questions and particularly exam and assessment style of questions, so that students be prepared well for school assessments and final exams.
- To provide students with adequate study resources
Second important step is to choose the way of working with tutor. The most common tutorial options are tutoring at home, tutoring at the centre (small groups) and online tutorial. We have to understand all advantages and disadvantages of each of those options that we can choose the right one.
The most preferred tutorial option is tutoring at home. Having a tutor at home, students will get full attention and constant interaction with tutor and that is big advantage. Students will, also, have opportunity to get answers on almost all their questions. This is a critical issue of tutoring. The purpose of tutoring should be to develop student’s knowledge, motivation, confidence, and study ability. To satisfy those tutoring requirements, tutor should use questions (very often to create questions during session) suitable for students to understand explanation of particular concept and mathematical theory. Only tutors with longer tutoring experience and deep knowledge of the subject are capable of doing that. But since they are under constant pressure to answer to all students’ questions, they very often fail in satisfying the main purpose of tutoring and they start doing students homework like many others less experienced tutors. it is extremely hard to bring “good” tutor at home at the suitable time. If we are lucky to do that then the charges are very high for such service and for one year (for 1.5 hours session per week) could be much higher than an average monthly salary. Many families can’t afford that. However, the biggest disadvantage is students’ dependency from tutor. Students slowly, session by session, start relaying more and more on tutor’s help than on their independent learning. As a consequence, we have less confidence and lost of independent study skills.
On the other hand, to attend small group classes, student can’t get full individual attention and we have to accept slower progress in knowledge. Another problem with this tutoring option comes from difference in learning abilities between students. Even if group was formed of students with similar level of knowledge, still this problem exists. Usually this tutoring is a bit cheaper than tutoring at home but, is it really like that. If we add travelling expenses just for one lesson per week than our tutoring fee is not much lower than tutoring at home. In addition to travelling expenses we have to consider travelling time as well. Student is wasting at least 1 hour time to come to the centre and back to home for one 1.5 hours lesson, while parents are spending 2.5 hours.
Tutoring online, in last few years, becomes more and more popular because it is a bit cheaper and can be done at home. There are many computer programs that students can practice questions in maths, but we can’t consider this as a tutoring because there is not enough or at all explanation of theory and crucial concepts. The other way of tutoring online is with web camera when student can see tutor on the other side and to have full interaction. This is similar with having tutor at home and all positive and negative aspects of tutoring at home apply to this way of tutoring.
Whatever of those tutoring options we choose, there will be a few important elements missing or unsatisfactory enough. That is:
- Very often students stop asking tutor to repeat again some concept they couldn’t understand as they don’t like to look “dumb” and session by session they are making small gaps in their knowledge.
- Often students forgot some of concepts they understood in last session and they have to ask tutor to explain again in next session. Of course, they are paying tutor’s time and, in this case, they are paying for something they already paid.
- Missing some sessions due to some unpredictable situations leads to inconsistency in studying.
- Loosing (or not developing) independent study skill is the major concern with the above-mentioned tutorial options. Students usually avoid working on harder concepts independently and waiting for tutor to explain them. On that way they are not losing only independent study skills but also confidence in their knowledge. This produces higher stress level on tests and exams (there, they know, they don’t have tutor to tell them what to do). For that reason, usually, students can’t score mark equivalent to their knowledge and consequently their motivation and interest in studying dropping down.
So, how to eliminate (or reduce) those negative aspects and to get full benefits of tutoring. Our over 35 years tutoring experience and hard work helped us to develop right formula for successful Maths tutoring for students year 9,10,11 and 12. Check this website, and if you still have some questions, please, contact us to see what we can offer.