Tutoring is a fast-growing industry. During Covid, schools in the UK have been given extra budget to enable them to hire tutors to stop the most disadvantaged children from falling behind. There’s also been a boom in international online English language tutoring. But, while some degree of training is offered to these new tutors, they do not need to be qualified teachers.
A tutor can make all the difference to children who find themselves struggling. One-to-one support can be invaluable. But if the same material is delivered cookie-cutter style to a range of students, it may miss the mark.
If you are considering tutoring as a career option, or as a supplement to other work, you will get a great deal more satisfaction from this work if you focus on developing your emotional intelligence as much as your subject knowledge. That means treating every child as an individual, understanding their context and their specific approach to learning. If you really understand the child you will get much more out of them, and as a bonus, you’ll find the work much more rewarding too.
Similarly, if you’re a parent looking for a tutor for your child, make sure that you find someone who has personal as well as professional skills.
Here are 5 good reasons why tutors need to have a variety of teaching methods.
To Stop Boredom
The classic classroom method of teaching existed back in ancient Greece. If all a child has to do is sit and listen to a tutor talking, they can easily switch off and stop concentrating. If the lessons are always the same and don’t engage the student, the child’s thoughts may understandably wander elsewhere.
Studies confirm that social media such as Facebook is changing children’s brains and attention spans. They are becoming acclimatised to only reading quick posts and watching short videos. They frequently switch from app to app and if something is too long, they simply move on. It’s no surprise that such things as BBC Bitesize learning has become so popular.
The tutee may be tired when they arrive, especially if the lesson is straight after school. This makes it all the more important that variety is used.
These days you can easily discover tutors by looking online. If you read more here you’ll learn that some children receive help with their 11+ exams and other exams such as GCSE’s and A-levels. For exam-focused tutoring, teachers are often fully qualified on a range of subjects and will understand the relevant syllabus. When one-to-one tuition is supplied, a bespoke approach can be used to keep the child’s attention, and the teaching methods can be adjusted accordingly.
The tutors can also focus on the child’s interests and career aspirations, or their specific areas for improvement.
Because Children Have Different Learning Styles
In times past, some educators failed to understand why some children did well at school and others didn’t. The mystery deepened when many of these individuals excelled once they’d left school. These days, teachers are fortunately more enlightened. Rather than writing off a child as ‘slow’ or lacking in concentration, teachers are more likely to check whether there are any learning disabilities or different teaching styles required. It could even be that the child isn’t being stretched enough.
The Three Main Groups
Whilst there are a host of different learning styles you could list, they fall under three main categories: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. A child may thrive by reading books or viewing charts and diagrams. They may also enjoy watching demonstrations. These all fall into the realm of visual learning. Auditory learners like to listen and learn, whilst kinesthetic learners prefer a hands-on approach: trying things out and having a go.
Whilst a tutor can accommodate the child’s individual learning style, they should also use the other styles to maintain variety and interest.
To Empower And Engage The Child
It’s a limited form of education that merely imparts facts and figures to a student. Rather than teaching a child what to think, they need to know how to think. This explains why critical thinking has become part of children’s education.
Socrates favoured the question and answer approach to learning. It can involve the child and spark their curiosity. Guided questions can help a student feel that they have discovered the answer, rather than being given it by the tutor. This can be helpful in such areas as the field of science, ethics, religion, or philosophy. This style of teaching could be said to advocate self-learning and mindset development. The only downside is that it can be more difficult to quantify a student’s progress.
To Assist Those With Special Needs
Teachers need to be adaptable in order to help these students. A child with mobility issues may have difficulties conducting experiments that don’t take their situation into account. Someone who struggles to communicate may not respond well to being asked frequent questions. Children with autism (including Aspergers) will need their issues to be understood. If a child has emotional or behavioral problems, the tutor will have to learn the trigger points to avoid. They may also need to keep the door open, and ensure an adult is close by.
A tutor may have to create specific strategies for someone with ADD, ADHD or OCD. There may be ways that someone with dyslexia can overcome their difficulties: This may be achieved by their use of specially adapted computer screens, or by them being encouraged to read something out loud as well as in their head. Students who battle with dyscalculia will also need help and patience with their education.
Because Children Have Different Personalities
If a tutor doesn’t understand what a verbal processor is, they may become impatient with the individual. The teacher may think to themself, ‘Why can’t this person stop talking? As soon as they have a thought, they say it. Why can’t they just sit and listen to me?’ In reality, however, a verbal processor will often need to speak. This will be to seek clarification on what they’ve just heard, or to mentally process it.
It may be that a verbal processor would flourish in a small group. This could provide the opportunity for such things as debates and team activities. A child who loves books and computers may prefer to access some computer-based learning. This could include multimedia presentations and interactive programmes.
As we have discovered, tutoring can be a challenging yet rewarding activity. Each student will have a different level of ability, and they will respond differently to each teaching method. Some will want to be creative whilst others will prefer to listen. Whether it’s by discussion or discovery, play learning, or problem-solving, there will be keys that can help them to flourish. This can make the learning time both rewarding and fun for all.