“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” Benjamin Franklin
There are a variety of reasons parents seek private tutors; to elicit confidence, improve on a subject that a child struggles with and sometimes even to push a child who is already adept in an area. For most, a tutor is sought after to give a struggling child some personalised one-on-one assistance and guidance. A smart choice.
For the uninitiated, choosing the right tutor is not as simplistic as it may first appear. But let’s start with identification. Discerning whether your child might need assistance is crucial to ensuring your kids are getting the very most out of their education, not to mention a great intervention strategy- children who fall behind almost always lose confidence and fortitude. Playground politics are not always kind. Start by identifying the areas you observe your child treading carefully with during homework, if they hover over questions or consistently show signs of misrecognition, if so, a tutor might just be the ticket! Your school teacher should also be able to elucidate your child’s performance needs, so don’t hesitate to approach them in inquiry. You’re on the same team after all.
The next stage is determining precisely what’s required – intense remediation, or possibly just some light guidance and motivation. This will help you in identifying who might be suitable for one-on-one sessions. The options out there for tutors vary, but predominantly fall into the categories of grad-students, online tutors and qualified school room teachers with classroom experience. There are no right or wrong approaches, just ensure that all tutors have been veted to work with children. Grad-students tend to be the most inexpensive approach, but their inexperience in a classroom setting may also prove a hurdle. Don’t generalise and remember that the most essential thing is that the tutor has a terrific rapport with your child. After all, no manner of teaching will be effective if your child isn’t comfortable and excited to learn! With this in mind, don’t expect the first tutor to be the right tutor for you- it’s ok to shop around.
As with anything in life, learning takes place most effectively if the person teaching is passionate about the subject, find out what floats your tutors boat to ensure an impassioned tutelage experience. Set up a one-on-one and observe the way the tutor interacts and engages your child. You will know very quickly whether or not they are able to draw out your child and their skillset identifying areas to hone in on. Afterwards, encourage your child to be blatant about their experience with the tutor; an honest and transparent discussion can be the best way of making the right choice for you.
Once you have identified an appropriate tutor, it’s crucial to monitor the process over time; don’t expect dramatic changes overnight! Confidence will build between your child and their tutor as they develop a dynamic together, one-on-one, and you will need to be patient whilst you gauge improvements. You will see whether they are excited to be working with the tutor and whether or not they show more enthusiasm for the subject as time goes on. Gently encourage your child with open dialogue about how they are finding the tutelage and be specific. We find open-ended questions are the best way to draw out the conversation, rather than closed questions that lead to yes and no answers.
Here’s a few to get you started:
- In what ways does (insert tutor’s name) help you to understand? Hint: Use the tutor’s first name to show familiarity and to deconstruct hierarchy, this will ensure your child feels more comfortable to express their true feelings.
- What are some of the things that you’re enjoying about your sessions with (insert tutor’s name)?
- What changes have you noticed about yourself in the classroom when learning (subject)?
Direct feedback from your child, as well as the tutor, will help you gain a greater understanding of where they are at, as well as their future needs. Moreover, you’ll be able to gain insight into the length of time required before you see improvement, or even better, if the sessions become redundant!
The most crucial element of the process is to show your child that you are proud of their efforts! Don’t be shy in telling them how proud you are of their attempts in learning and ensure that they don’t feel undermined in their confidence that they might need a little extra help. We all need a little extra help in life sometimes and it wouldn’t hurt for them to know in what ways you’ve needed a bit of assistance in the past. And smile. Your child is amazing.
Learning is just a series of experiences. Experiences that are as wonderful as we make them ourselves.
- Nicholas Wingfield Digby: Nicholas.email@example.com
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