Tutoring works, so it’s little wonder that private tutoring is so popular these days. Studies indicate that it can comfortably move a student one and a half grades. This could mean moving a student from a low D to a good C, or a low B to a good A grade.
Parents are queuing up for the services of tutors, spending between $20 and $60 (sometimes over $150 per session) and it’s not just the rich who are doing it. It isn’t uncommon to read about families with modest incomes investing in home tutors and spending up to $1,000 on week-long revision courses or intensive study workshops, all in an effort to help their child keep up or give them that competitive edge.
If you are considering private tutoring for your child, these are the Pros and Cons you may wish to consider:
Advantages of getting a private tutor
- Private tutors can work at a child’s pace. This is probably the number one consideration for seeking private tutoring. If you are a parent, you can surely recall the time you were at school and for some reason, you lacked the basis for complex areas like calculus and geometry and you always wished that someone would explain these areas to you from scratch. Tutors can do just that; unblock one area of learning to make way for further learning.
- Private tutors can give your child much-needed one-to-one attention. Is your child very visual, relying on maps, picture and visual stimuli to learn? Does your child prefer to learn by jumping directly into an activity rather than spending a long time reading text information? Children, like adults, have different learning styles and a personal tutor is able to cater classes to their preferences in the way that an educator teaching 20-odd kids at once is simply unable to. Private tutoring can save your child from falling through the cracks of an education system which can often be all too generic.
- Private tutors can work on specific obstacles to learning: Dyslexia, dyspraxia,sight impairment or hearing loss can get in the way of a child learning and communicating. A specialised, qualified tutor with experience and true vocation can help your child advance in leaps and bounds.
- A good private tutor will not only teach your child core subjects; they will also teach them vital study skills: These include time management, handy tips like summarising and focusing on titles while skim reading, and strategies like paying attention to what the teacher emphasises in class, in order to predict the content of future tests.
- Private tutoring is extremely flexible these days: With online tutoring agencies like Superprof, your child can study when it best suits them, which means that they can fit study into an all-round schedule which should include time for hobbies, sports, etc.
- Private tutoring is convenient: If you can find a tutor who is willing to come to you instead of vice-versa, you will save the time and bother involved in travel.
- Private tutoring allows you to access the very best material possible: If you have done your homework and hired a qualified tutor with good references and a true vocation for what they do, they will not only be using your child’s textbooks to teach; rather, they will be knowledgeable on a host of alternative teaching methods (for instance, the Montessori and Steiner-Waldorf methods), which focus less on structure and more on discovering the way we actually learn and retain information.
- A private tutor will help your child set goals and objectives for themselves: Study is not just about improving one’s marks at school; it is also about achieving specific targets which can go beyond those determined by the official curriculum. For instance, a gifted three-year-old may be given the goal of mastering a higher Oxford Reading level than her age suggests. This ensures that gifted and talented children (as well as those who are slightly more advanced than their peers) can continue to be stimulated and challenged, which is particularly vital for high level learners.
- A private tutor frees parents from the duties of conducting a child’s homework sessions themselves: Especially if our children are entering their teens, some subject matter can be challenging even for parents: this includes areas like advanced maths and new technologies. Most parents feel like they don’t have enough time to be with their children, and would prefer not to spend the little time they do have with their teens on something as potentially conflictive or tense as study.
Disadvantages of getting a private tutor:
- Tutoring can be expensive: Some families are on too tight a budget to afford private tutoring.
- Children can feel pressured by their parents: Ideally, the idea of private tutoring should come from the child rather than her parents. This is because a child can close off to their tutor if they feel like their parents are being too pushy.
- Children need to learn to overcome their own difficulties: Some critics argue that private tutoring is tantamount to serving up education to your child on a platter. They should learn, so say these critics, to succeed through their own efforts exclusively (a good tutor will not spoon-feed your child, of course, but rather, motivate and provide them with direction).
- Safety: Some parents worry about how safe their kids are with adults they do not know. They should always ensure that they are dealing with an agency that properly screens its tutors, or a private tutor that can provide them with references and a DBS/ CRB check, which will ensure the tutor has no prior convictions. For those curious to understand more about DBS and CRB checks check out our recent blog post on the subject.
- Extra-curricular activities may suffer: If you cannot afford a tutor who comes to your home, your child will probably spend valuable time getting to and from the tutor’s home or office. Outside interests such as sports and music are equally informative to a child’s growth and development. Time constraints can be a reason to forego private tutoring.
In summary, tutoring is an effective way of learning. It comes with powerful advantages, not least as it’s the means to get better grades at school, and maybe improve life prospects. There are disadvantages however, such as its cost. It’s your call, and I hope that this article has helped you come to your own conclusion about whether it is right for you.
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