“A good teacher must be able to put himself in the place of those who find learning hard.” - Eliphas Levi

Individuals of all ages can improve themselves intellectually, whether by taking a language or finance course,  signing up for private lessons weekly, or even choosing an intensive course .   Adults are opting  more and more for private lessons in various subjects and specialities and are willing to pay for the help and expertise of a private tutor (like those on Superprof, for example).

In recent years, the private tutoring market in Canada has continued to grow.  Many reasons are attributed to the increasing demand for private tutors and also noted is that tutors for adults have continued to become more popular.  This increased popularity in adult tutoring has enabled many adults to gain a renewed sense of self-confidence, by learning new skills,  perhaps mastering foreign languages, or even help with industry exams. With this increased demand for knowledge, there are many advantages to being a private tutor!

Children as well as adults benefit from learning new things as part of their development and interests.  So people of all ages benefit from a bit of intellectual development. Private tutorials are available not just for remedial work, but rather can be an invaluable tool in becoming a better overall learner, develop new skills and knowledge and to be challenged intellectually.

In our fourth article on teaching private tutorials to adults, we will look at what teaching adults entails, and what some of the advantages of teaching adults rather than children.  We will also examine how you can enjoy a more profound relationship with your adult students, and the different teaching approaches you can use when teaching adults.

Teaching Private Lessons to Adult Students

“I don't love studying. I hate studying. I like learning. Learning is beautiful.” - Natalie Portman

Becoming a tutor for adults,  can be a truly rewarding experience,  whether you choose to teach private tutorials, as part of an academic support class, for math exam preparations and practice, or for job training, there are many possibilities.   Since children can be restless and have shorter attention spans, teaching adults can also be easier more stimulating and challenging for private tutors.

What are adult tutorials like?
To teach adults, you will need to be engaging and passionate. (Source: StartupStockPhotos)

Adults are calmer and less distracted than children and learn differently, being able to progress, articulate and communicate concepts and questions or challenges that arise easier with a tutor than a child would.

Still as with children, the tutor also needs to facilitate and encourage the adult learning process.  However, one can anticipate to do so with less struggle than with children.  Although it might seem quite obvious, tutors will see these huge difference in the way they have to teach children as opposed to teaching adults.

There are a number of different qualities adults have that make them better learners than children including:

  • Longer attention spans
  • Ease of  learning
  • Speedier assimilation of new concepts
  • Curiosity of their chosen study subject
  • Genuine interest and motivation for their own progress
  • Passion for what they’re being taught
  • Opportunity for exchange of dialogue and communication with their tutor
  • Etc.

Given these differences an adult student is “easier” to teach potentially than a child.  Tutors will have less to worry about with adult classes than with children and classroom management tends to be much easier and orderly with less disruptions. 

As an effective teacher/tutor educator for adult students, you're must also be committed to your own professional development, with sound knowledge of different teaching strategies for adult students,  the need to implement engaging learning experiences while fostering a good learning interactive environment for your adult students, and being mindful of ways of improving your teaching methods and pedagogy.

Consider also that at times with teaching adultsyou may have to be more creative with your teaching strategies since you may not always have a curriculum to follow.  Whereas a grade school teacher has a clear outcome or goal for the year, your job as an adult tutor might call on you to help your students to succeed and progress in less tangible ways.

Advantages of Teaching Adults: A More Receptive Student

Adult classes can be more enriching and rewarding for some tutors since an older student is able to engage interact debate and discuss critically their more comprehensively advanced subjects than children can. Adults also have a greater motivation and concentration to succeed and set personal goals in pursuit of their studies.

What are the advantages of learning as an adult?
Learning is a life long process!!  Adults are free to pursue their interests and passions! (Source: StartupStockPhotos)

Probably the most obvious advantage of teaching adult students is the maturity to be able  sit longer and listen to a lesson without being easily distracted.  So whether you choose to teach private tutorials at the student's home or in a cafe or park, be it lessons in French language,  Chemistry, Mathematics, or Music, your adult student will spend an easier time listening attentively to you than a child might be capable of.

And what if you could also enjoy your job?

There is always something new to learn, and learning is a lifelong process, and its foolish thinking that we can’t learn anything else once we’ve reached adulthood. In fact, we just need something new and exciting perhaps to learn. New concepts, techniques , subjects or skills that may be a lot more interesting to us now.  You need only find out what interests you want to pursue, that curiosity..... people are always in pursuit of knowledge!!

This is one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching adult students; the chance and ability that you have to show them something new and watch them become enthusiastic learners. This opportunity to see how sharing your knowledge and skills can effect another, is what the student gives back to the tutor.

Advantages of Teaching Adults: Constructive Engaged Dialogue

Adults are often also more receptive,  involved and engaged in their lessons, than children or even teenagers are. This allows for more interactive learning with the tutor and allows for more interesting discussions and debate, with greater chance to teach more comprehensively and with critical analysis,  as the adult student would demand.

Why should you teach adult students?
Teaching adults is always rewarding whether its one on one, or in a classroom full. (Source: Wokandapix)

Teaching adult students can definitely be more challenging given the student is able to discern more complex and nuanced subjects, who are able to engage with the tutor at a greater level and degree. This chance for deeper complex dialogue,  exchange of knowledge and ideas can be more rewarding also for the tutor.

Advantages of Teaching Adults: Beyond Teaching

As you can see, teaching adults can be stimulating and rewarding not only for the student but also for the tutor. The student and teacher, because of similar or closer in age, allows for an easier opportunity to have engaging discussions on a given topic, and also be able to more easily communicate effectively while also learning from each other.

How do you become a better teacher?
No matter the student's age, exchanges can be productive and conducive to learning. (Source: 12019)

Open communication and dialogue help make tutorials more relaxing and can strengthen the bond between student and teacher. Therefore, it's one of the biggest advantages of being this kind of tutor, the ability to foster a good trusting relationship at ease with your adult student.  It can be motivational for both parties!

Consider that a guitar lesson would be far more productive with an adult learner,  they may understand tablature  quicker and therefore able to start playing sooner , and progress to playing something more difficult in successive sessions which is so much more motivating and rewarding for them.   Similarly, with Math lessons or a French class, adult students may be able to comprehend and apply more complex notions more easily and readily. 

Adults ability to assimilate concepts quickly will allow them to:

  • Advance quickly and fluidly
  • Able to better communicate study needs
  • Analyse complicated concepts easier
  • Engage in constructive productive discussions
  • Progress with effective teaching methods
  • Improve their self-confidence
  • Etc.

As you can see teaching private tutorials to adults can be a rewarding and challenging experience.  There are many advantages given the relationship between the tutor and the adult student mutually focused on work, trust, achievement of goals, while enjoying the teaching and learning process.

Great teachers engage their students with a variety of different learning styles and approaches tailored to their individuals needs,  they are meticulous in their preparation, monitor and evaluate their students' progress regularly,  but mostly importantly  ensure that their primary objective is their students learning!!

If you are interested in teaching private tutorials to adults or students, you can easily and quickly make your tutor profile on Superprof.  You need only indicate what you wish to teach and where, and you can start looking for students right away,  while they also have an easier way to find you!!

There are three main types of tutorials you can offer:  one-on-0ne private tutorials with just you and a single student, online private tutorials where you teach a student remotely via video conferencing software such as Skype, and group tutorials where you can teach several students at once, like in their place of work.

The last option allows you to charge less per student but earn more per hour. However, you need to be far more adaptable in your teaching as you've got several students to keep happy at once. 

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Yvette is a freelance Canadian writer living in Paris. She spends her time between Toronto and Paris and likes to travel and learn. She's the proud mom of two strong minded women and enjoys her free time giving back to her communities.