With all of the recent education upheaval and change that students have experienced, “tutoring” has become a bit of a buzzword, but what exactly is tutoring and how can it help your child?
What is Tutoring?
In short, tutoring is additional academic and/or skills development support from a more experienced person. This support can be provided by a student’s classroom teacher, another school staff member, a professional tutor, or even a peer. However, tutoring isn’t simply teaching subject matter content. It’s about helping students to understand their own learning process and supporting them in learning in the way that works best for them. Effective tutoring relies on the establishment of rapport, communication, and a trusting relationship between tutor and student so that the tutor can provide personalized support. This relationship and trust is vital to impactful tutoring because opening up about what you find challenging and how you are struggling isn’t easy and that transparency is necessary for individualizing tutoring sessions.
What Types of Tutoring are Out There?
In terms of subject matter, the sky's the limit! If you want to learn it, there is a tutor who can teach it!
When it comes to tutoring format, there are 3 formats of tutoring that are most common:
One to One- One-to one tutoring is one student and one tutor and allows for the most personalization when it comes to content focus and learning strategies. The student is the tutor’s sole focus during the session, which means that the tutor supports the student with exactly what is needed and in the way that works best for the student. Because of the ability to individualize all aspects of the session, one-to-one is often the most impactful form of tutoring. This is why Tutor Doctor focuses on the one-to-one approach.
Small group- Small group tutoring is one tutor and typically 2-5 students. This can be an effective form of tutoring for students as it allows them to learn from their peers as well as their tutor. With multiple students in a single tutoring session it is more challenging for the tutor to personalize content focus and learning strategies, but a quality tutor will do all they can to reach each student on an individual level.
Learning Centers- Learning centers often mimic the classroom, with one tutor and a large number of students. These tutoring sessions are often teacher-driven and can lack personalization as the tutor often needs to focus on the needs of the group as a whole, rather than individual students. Like small group tutoring, students in a learning center tutoring session can benefit from learning from their peers, but if your student is struggling to excel in their school classroom environment, they will likely not excel in a learning center’s classroom style environment either.
There are also 2 ways that tutoring support can be delivered, in-person or online.
In-person- In-person or in-home tutoring is really effective for many students. The tutor and student work together in the same physical space, which allows the tutor to better read a student’s physical cues and body language and it can be easier for some students to stay focused and on task when in physical proximity to their tutor. However, some in-person tutors will require you to get your student to in-person sessions at a local library or other space. Luckily there are tutors, like Tutor Doctor, who will come to you! This can be really beneficial for students who feel most comfortable learning in their own home and it means you don’t have to worry about getting your student to their session.
Online- It is very important to understand that online tutoring and online school are not the same. Many students who struggled with online school excel with online tutoring. Tutors are able to effectively engage students through a computer screen by individualizing their approach and tailoring their content to each student, this is something that is significantly more challenging when there are multiple students in the meeting! With online tutoring, the tutor works with the student, just as they would in person and they have the added benefit of being able to incorporate all kinds of helpful and interesting technology into sessions for added student engagement. This can be a very impactful option for many students and especially those who have limited time available for tutoring or who are most comfortable with the reduced social pressure that can come with online meetings.
How Does Tutoring Help?
The impact that tutoring will have on a student depends on why the student is looking to work with a tutor. There are 3 main reasons why students work with a tutor.
Catch up- Students who are looking to catch up are often behind educational benchmarks and need support with building back lost learning. For these students intensive tutoring support is often needed and for that reason one-to-one tutoring is often most effective. An effective tutor will work with your student to identify those areas that need focus and rebuilding, and will support your student in learning and understanding the content and developing the skills that are needed for academic success.
Keep up- Students who are looking to keep up may be struggling with a few key concepts or skills or they may be at risk of falling behind educational benchmarks. An effective tutor will work with your student to identify those areas that need some work and will support your student by reinforcing the concepts that were taught in class while ensuring your student has the understanding and knowledge needed to keep pace with their classes.
Enrichment- Students who are looking for enrichment are often doing well in school and are looking for additional challenges and/or to get ahead. These students may want to develop new skills that will aid them in their future academics and/or career or they may want to dig into learning more about something they are passionate about. An effective tutor will work with your student to identify the learning that will benefit them and will work to support your student as they stretch their minds and expand their abilities.
How Can Online Learning Resources Help My Child?
There are plenty of free online learning resources available that can help your child learn and catch up in school. However, if your student is already struggling with the content being taught in school or has missed important learning foundations, it can be difficult for them to utilize those resources to fill in the gaps in their knowledge.
This is where bringing in a tutor can be very beneficial! A tutor can work with your child to use the online resources being provided by their school, school board, and/or the Ministry/Department of Education. The tutor will be there to support your student with understanding the content within the resources, to answer any questions your child has, provide deeper explanations and additional examples, and will be able to personalize the learning to your child’s individual needs. In short, a tutor will be able to kick your child’s learning up a notch and ensure your child is receiving the full benefit of those online resources.
How Do I Choose A Tutor?
Choosing a tutor can seem like a daunting task! Check out our blog about choosing the right tutor for your student, or contact your local Tutor Doctor office to support you.