The question of whether you should get tutoring for your child is not able to be answered with a stock response. Not every child will benefit from tutoring and certainly not from some styles; however, many children thrive with tutoring as it can provide the key to confidence and ‘fill in the gaps’ within their learning. Often the term tutoring is used interchangeably with coaching. Whilst this is widely accepted, coaching generally refers to repetitive or drill learning with the intention of gaining achievement in a particular test or assessment, whereas tutoring is more remedial and focused on bridging a gap in learning.
Tutoring is also great for students who enjoy learning and want to extend their thinking laterally, especially in Mathematics. If your child is struggling with confidence in a particular area then tutoring is definitely something you should consider. If your child seems to really be struggling academically at school then tutoring can make a positive impact; however, it is important to look at other factors first before taking the tutoring route. Speak to your child’s teacher about specific difficulties and whether the school can address them adequately. Some specific difficulties are best treated by an occupational therapist (OT), a psychologist, speech therapist or doctor. If these needs are not addressed tutoring can often be appear ineffective.
Depending on where you access your tutoring, you can expect different approaches. Large franchises can have set programs they implement and smaller businesses or individuals may offer personalised services based on the individual needs of the student. Some tutoring companies only offer group programs whilst others provide a one-to-one service. Most students flourish with personalised instruction in a one-to-one setting with a tutor who is knowledgeable and experienced but this will generally incur a higher cost than tutoring in a small group led by a university student. When choosing a tutor, think about which approach suits your child best and be sure to ask questions. Tutoring should be a collaboration towards meeting your child’s individual needs.
Sara Drebber is an educational consultant, teacher, writer and mother of three.