“A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.” - Bruce Lee

Whether a student is struggling academically, losing self-esteem because of poor academic performance, have a fear of school, or struggling with special educational needs,  all of these issues can affect both children and adult students.   As a result of these challenges, traditional private home tutoring has expanded to include tuition for all ages.

More and more adult learning programs, and adult classes are being offered for those adults looking to improve their memory, or just seeking personal educational fulfilment in a subject, skill , interest or hobby. There’s is also an increasing amount of professional training taking place in businesses whether it's through tutoring services,  one on one private tutoring, intensive or dedicated workshops, and or popularly via online tutoring.

These are increasingly more opportunities for adults to learn something they may have missed in school, gain new knowledge or skills, train for a current or future job, all from a qualified and passionate private tutor. This renewed interest in adult education programs whether for personal interest, to remain competitive in the workforce, in person face to face, or within a business environment, teaching adults has increased in demand and popularity over the years.

Are there differences between teaching adults and teaching children? Can a tutor set up their classes for both?

This article on teaching adults in private tutorials, will examine some reasons  for teaching adults and some of the differences between teaching adults and children, and the different teaching strategies for adult students.

Should Adult Learners Require Private Tutorials?

There are plenty of trials and tribulations throughout an academic career, regardless of a student's age.   Whatever the problem, issue or challenge there are many reasons why a student may be struggling at school,  even those students with an unusually high IQ  who may feel unchallenged,  all students can potentially  benefit from private tutorials.

What are the best methods for teaching children?
Students of all ages, benefit most from informative and engaging tutorials. (Source: sasint)

This type of tuition is mainly geared towards helping students improve or gain knowledge in a particular field whether it's in sports, sciences, languages, mindfulness meditation, but also for special hobbies or interests. All students young and old need to be open to learning, making mistakes, and following the direction and guidance of their tutor.

A private tutor may consider the traditional lessons anchored within the provincial education system,  however tutorials for adults and children can have a more  relaxed personal touch and can go at a more individualised pace more suited to each student.

However,  there are a number of differences between tutorials for adults and children, which the tutor needs to keep in mind.   Adults  have different intellectual learning capabilities than a child who may be suffering from special educational needs and requires a different teaching approach altogether.

Children may  have a natural curiosity than adults and will probably ask more questions. They may also struggle with certain concepts through the learning process.  Children and adults of course learn and work at a different pace, so their tutor will need to ensure their lessons are adapted to them accordingly.

Therefore, whether you are teaching adult classes or a curious child, the goal remains the same, to help your students progress in a given subject, fill in the gaps in their learning and knowledge, and teach them the necessary skills and tools to help them succeed. As a private tutor it's important to empower your students, help them improve their sense of confidence and fulfilment in the learning process.

Education Course: Teaching Private Tutoring for Children

Tutorials for children are about discovery and for the youngest children incorporated into play.  The older the students the more complex the learning process however for older students there is no place for timidness in learning since their school results are on the line.  It is perhaps more critical for the older student who may have greater pressure to master their subject in order to pursue their next level of studies. What's critical for a tutor of any age, is the knowledge that a student's  lack of self-confidence can really harm a child’s progress.

This is also important when teaching adults and the tutor will need to react and adapt to it, however with the right teaching approaches, private tutoring can help a student become a confident learner.

How do you adapt your lessons to different ages?
Private tutors have the opportunity of teaching a variety of different ages. (Source: sasint)

Although children can be unpredictable at best, being a master of the subject you’re teaching, planning and organisation, will help you maximise the time you spend with your students in order to develop the skills and keep them engaged in the learning process. 

Presentation skills are especially critical and within an art form, key when it comes to keeping young children and teenagers enthusiastic, focused and engaged.  Parents are also happier if their children respond well and are also happy after lessons,  this validates your effectiveness as a tutor, keeping their child engaged and productive during the course.

Teaching is a rich and complex pursuit which requires great adaptability, Whether you're teaching adults or a children, it's important to manage their expectations and ambitions at all times. Whether you're tutoring a gifted child, an introverted adult, or a struggling teen, the tutor and student must be active and engaged in their learning process.

Find your first job, and consider teaching English online.

Why Adults Need Private Courses?

What courses are available in adult education programs?  There are a number of reasons for adult classes or why adults may be in need of a private tutor,  including:

  • Developing new knowledge on any given subject
  • Learning a new interest or hobby, eg guitar
  • Updating their skills personal and professional
  • Occupying their free time by learning
  • New training personal or through company
  • Starting a new job
  • Stimulating themselves intellectually
  • Making friends and improving social interaction
  • Etc.

There are many good reasons for adults to get private tutoring. A tutor can provide them with support and the right tools they will need to succeed in any pursuit personal or professional. A tutor must remain professional at all times, while fostering a trusting and open learning environment.

How old do you have to be to get private tutorials?
Students of all ages can get private tutorials on any subject.  (Source: StockSnap)

What is the relationship like between a tutor and adult students? It 's one of the most frequently asked questions when considering a tutor for adult classes. 

Whatever age you decide to teach,  you will need to master the subject you’re teaching and this is especially so for teaching adults,  while being able to use the appropriate teaching strategies for each of your students. 

One of the primary goals of private adult tuition is to transfer knowledge of a subject skill or technique, to a student who wishes to master it. A pure beginner is more apt to pay attention to a subject matter they have no previous knowledge in, regardless of age.    Accordingly, it's the adult student's curiosity and level of interest that motivates the student to pursue further adult learning.  It's a chance for private adult tutors to help empower them to do this!

With academic tutoring or exam prep,  the focus of the tutorial must centre around the student's curriculum,  ensuring that the instruction you provide prepares your student for their particular exam. Academic tutorials may also include helping students with homework, overall study skills, or sometimes for help with a particular assignment.

Since no tutoring jobs are alike, you may find yourself teaching a small group in a classroom, especially in the fields of mathematics and sciences but you could end up teaching any and all subjects including chemistry,  physics, economics, algebra, biology, french, english literature etc.

Teaching Adults and Children: Fundamentals Count

Although adults and children require different approaches, fundamentally  the teaching principals and the aim of the lessons remain the same, engage your student learner, help to motivate and empower them through the whole learning process  at whatever level!!

How do you teach children?
Regardless of a student's age, a tutor's goal is to transfer knowledge and skills. (Source: freestocks-photos)

Ultimately a tutor's motivation in teaching most effectively is how best to transfer information or knowledge on to your student so that they can have the most rewarding learning experience. At whatever level or age you tutor, providing the appropriate teaching approaches and methodologies for whatever particular subject or skill at whatever level, will be paramount to your student's success. 

Taking all  things into account therefore, a teaching or tutoring job isn’t to just lecture your student and then go home. On the contrary, you must also consider how to engage your student in their learning process, encourage them to form their own opinions, ask questions, develop  integral skills, and to think critically and comprehensively.

Private tutoring or in general teaching, is a rewarding varied and challenging vocation,  which is why we are seeing increasingly more and more people becoming private tutors.

If you are interested in becoming a private tutor and working for yourself, you can quickly and easily make yourself a profile on Superprof. You just need to indicate what you would like to teach and where you will be teaching it.

You can then start offering either one-on-one private tutorials, tutorials via webcam using software such as Skype, or group to tutorials to students of any age. Of course, if you want to offer group tutorials via webcam, and the only thing required is a really good internet connection!

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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.