There are strong views surrounding the benefits and disadvantages of taking on a tutor to help students prepare for these important exams.
Does tutoring improve academic performance, or would the student get more benefit from having time to relax or play sport? Does tutoring help build confidence or make students miserable?
Tutoring is best used to help a student who is not up to speed in a specific subject or has missed lessons and needs to catch up. In some cases, a tutor is taken on to stretch a bright student’s exceptional abilities in their best subjects. So, what’s not to like?
However, there are some simple guidelines when employing the services of a tutor to ensure the experience does not lead to more stress and become counter-productive.
Choosing the right tutor
Choosing the right tutor is paramount – a good tutoring company will carefully match the personality of the tutor to that of the student. Do they share a love of music or a sport? Communication and empathy are key to getting the best out of the time spent together.
Once a tutor is selected, a tailored plan with clearly defined goals should then be agreed.
Be sure to engage a tutor who has recent experience of teaching the chosen subject/s. It is important that they understand the body of work required to pass the exam and are therefore able to offer the right level of tuition.
Talk to the school or college about your child’s progress to understand fully where, and if, there are areas in which they could do with some help. You are not trying to work against the school or college but with them to ensure the best end-result for the student.
Carefully timetable to ensure you are not overloading their work schedule and be sure to add fun family activities to counter balance the time spent studying. Do not make the sessions too long. Forty minutes for a subject is about the right level and there needs to be a break between subjects if you are looking for help in more than one area
One to one support can help solve gaps in a student’s knowledge giving them more confidence to proceed in their chosen subjects.
The benefits of tutoring are indisputable. For struggling students, it can boost confidence and academic performance. For the very bright, it can expand their horizons.
Objections to tutoring arise when it’s used excessively, when a child is stuck at home with the tutor every day of the week, while their peers play sport or video games, or go to the cinema with their friends. But, that essentially is not a problem of tutoring, but of parental choice. As with all good things in life – moderation is key!
This article from Anastasia Hatvany, Education Consultant Gabbitas, first appeared in the March 2020 editions of The Life Magazines