So, what is tutoring?

Tutoring can be defined as extra assistance with schoolwork outside of the school classroom. The main purpose and outcomes of tutoring can differ greatly and really depend on the needs of the student, the desires of the parents, the experience of the tutors and the values of the company you entrust with your child’s academic progress.

How can tutoring help my child?

Confidence – one of the greatest gifts tutoring can provide a child is confidence. The confidence to ask questions, the confidence to give their homework a good go, the confidence to enter that exam and really showcase what they have learnt and the confidence to learn outside the classroom. If your child is not enjoying school or hesitant to participate or engage, tutoring might be that external source of support and validation they need to develop their skills and self-belief that they are capable of learning and achieving their academic goals. While the impact of effective tutoring can seem intangible, it is important that parents keep in mind the starting point of their child, not only the end result they desire from tutoring services. The student, not their results, should be the focus of tutoring decisions. There is no research or statistic that quantifies the benefit of a child who has grown in confidence; however, to see a child believe in themselves has the highest return on investment a parent could ask for.

Catch up – Especially with the disruptions of COVID-19 to classroom learning, tutoring can be the ideal way to ensure your child does not fall behind in their learning. Some students have thrived during homeschooling, enjoyed the individual learning opportunities and limited distractions. Most, however, have lost motivation and struggled to keep on top of their school work. Tutoring provides an opportunity for students to ask questions that their classroom teacher may not have had time for, go back to a previous concept that still doesn’t make sense or simply have some allocated time to fill in the gaps in their learning.

Competitive edge – Parents with extremely high expectations of their children, should familiarise themselves with a 2017 interview from Melbourne Child Psychology with Dr Annemarie Christie. Dr Christie identified the value of tutors to “pick up on gaps … that might be missed in the classroom”, showing how closer scrutiny from a tutor enables gaps in knowledge to be identified and rectified quickly. It is no surprise then, that many nations in Europe and Asia, who outperform us in academic testing, have a greater rate of tuition. According to the 2015 HSBC report into Value for Education, 92% of parents in China and 82% of parents in Singapore got private tuition for their child, compared to only 21% in Australia. Correspondingly, the 2018 OECD PISA assessments found that China and Singapore were the top-performing countries for Maths, Science and Reading, with Australian students 1.5 years lower in reading, 3.5 years lower in mathematics, and 3 years lower in scientific literacy. As such, it is vital that we look to our neighbouring countries to see how their education systems are thriving, and what we can do to implement similar changes. Therefore, tutoring is a great idea for any parents who are preparing their child for a selective school exam, wanting them to achieve the required ATAR for a specific university course or simply want to challenge and excel their child beyond the average classroom standards.

Compensating for an ineffective classroom teacher – In an ideal world, every student would relate to and enjoy the teaching styles of every teacher. However, we all know this is slightly idealistic and unrealistic. The impact of an ineffective classroom teacher can result in lower engagement in class/school work, a decrease in results and some fundamental gaps that jeopardise a student’s entire learning journey. This is not to say that some teachers are “bad teachers”, but instead helps us realize that teachers have the challenging task of adapting their teaching style to satisfy the needs of a class of thirty students – a near-impossible task. Therefore, parents can support their child through these times by carefully selecting a tutor that tailors their teaching style to the individual student, and works with them to address their personal weaknesses while boosting their strengths. Evidence for Learning, a research company that focuses on helping educators improve learning in Australia, has suggested that personalised and immediate feedback from teachers combined with a decrease in distractions as a result of working one-on-one or in a small group, can increase and sustain student engagement and improve overall performance. At Maths Words not Squiggles, our individual lessons and micro-groups (maximum of 3 students), ensure our teachers can provide both positive and constructive feedback multiple times through a lesson. By supporting and working with our students on a regular basis, we hope that we can compensate for the lack of relationship a student may have with a teacher and ensure they do not fall behind or lose their interest in learning.

So, would my child benefit from tutoring?

Ultimately, parents enrol their children into tutoring for a number of reasons, as listed above. To better decide if your child needs tutoring, perhaps ask yourself these questions:

  1. Does my child enjoy school and homework?
  2. Is my child on top of their schoolwork?
  3. Is my child motivated and achieving their personal best?
  4. Does my child relate to their classroom teacher and often understand the work provided?
  5. Does my child have the confidence to ask questions and participate in class?

If you answered no to any of the above questions, perhaps tutoring may be the missing piece to your child’s enjoyable and successful education journey… If you do believe tutoring may work for your child(ren), it is important that you choose a tutoring company that you feel confident in, with a dedicated team of teachers who are truly passionate about your child’s education and keep you a part of your child’s education journey. And of course, if you reach out to a few companies and decide tutoring is not what is best for your child, that is more than okay – but it is great to do some research to understand your options and make the right decision for you and your family.