If you're thinking about hiring a tutor, it's important to ask the right questions. What are your goals for hiring a tutor? What grade are you hoping to improve?
What subjects do you need help with? How much can you afford to spend? These are just some of the questions you should ask before making your decision. Tutors can be a great way to help your child improve their grades and get ahead in school. But it's important to find the right tutor for your child's needs. So take your time and ask the right questions to make an informed decision.
Things To Consider Before You Hire A Tutor For Your Child
Private tutoring is a growing business, with people spending hundreds of billions of dollars. But is it worth it? And how does a person pick among all the options?
If you consider hiring a tutor, here are five tips to consider.
Identify Your Goal
Are you trying to pass a test or a class? Or are you trying to learn something?
If all you want to do is pass a test or a class or get some other short-term result and be done with it, that's a performance goal. However, if you want to understand an idea and transfer it to different situations, that's a learning goal.
While parents may have performance and learning goals for their children, you should generally place learning above performance. Learning will lead to better performance, but it will happen at its own pace.
If you decide to use tutoring to achieve a performance goal, be aware of the pitfalls. For example, if a student needs excessive test prep to pass a class or get into a program or college, the student may be set up for failure in whatever comes next.
Look Carefully At The Tutor's Actions
Good tutoring is not just the tutor teaching the student. For tutoring to be effective, students should be actively involved in the process, not just sitting silently while the tutor talks.
Here are a few things to listen for when a tutor is working with a student:
If the student does something right, does the tutor always say "Good!" and move on? Or does the tutor sometimes ask follow-up questions to check thinking? It's better when there are follow-up questions because sometimes students draw conclusions that help get answers correct on the current type of problem but then cause mistakes on the next types.
Does the tutor say, "No, do it this way"? Or does the tutor say, "Tell me why you made that choice"? Getting the student to explain their choice enables the tutor to gain more insight into how they solve and catch any errors in their thinking.
Does the tutor help the student practice how to deal with confusion and mistakes? Students learn the most when they make a mistake and recognise that they made one. A good tutor will not intervene to prevent the mistake but rather allow it to happen and then helps the student to identify and fix it. This approach teaches students skills to use when the tutor is no longer there.
A tutor who says, "OK, this is a quadratic equation, so you need to factor," or "This question is about similes, so look for the words 'like' or 'as,'" has done most of the thinking for the student and is not helping them long-term. Students should be asked to read a question and decide on a plan before the tutor feedback.
Don't Forget Free Options.
Before parents jump straight to paid tutoring services, it would be beneficial to explore free options.
Free options include after school help from classroom teachers, peer tutoring programs at school, professional tutoring from outside companies the school pays to come in after school or on weekends and tutoring programs in city libraries and community centres.
Paid options include one-on-one tutoring, small group tutoring and online tutoring. Both tutoring companies offer these options that hire many tutors and individuals such as college students and teachers.
The adage that "you get what you pay for" does not necessarily apply to tutoring. Volunteer or peer tutoring can be very effective. However, price does not predict effectiveness.
Do Things On Your Own At Home
If your child struggles with reading, read to your child, with your child and in front of your child. It applies whether you have young children or older children. Let them see you reading books, magazines and online. Foster a love of reading and a sense that reading is a regular activity in your home.
If your child struggles with English or writing, you can help by using a wide variety of words when you speak to them, including words they don't yet know. If parents are not strong in English, they can still teach their children to speak, read and write in their native language, and they can always transfer those skills to English with the help of their teachers. In addition, research shows that children benefit from first learning to read and write in the language they think.
If your child struggles with maths, find ways to do maths with your child in enjoyable ways like games or apps. Interestingly, working with your child benefits them even more if you are anxious about maths yourself. If you don't understand their homework, ask them to justify their work aloud to you or themselves. When asked to reflect on their work, children learn even when a tutor (or parent) doesn't give much feedback or explanations. Keep prompting your child until they have fully justified their work in their mind.
Keep Expectations Reasonable
There is no guarantee that tutoring will pay off.
While tutoring is generally more likely to benefit a student than not, research on tutoring is contradictory because many factors are at play. And too much time spent on tutoring can hurt students.
For instance, tutor expertise in a subject might increase student performance, but it might also make no difference that you can readily see.
A tutor's previous experience can positively affect students, but surprisingly, it could also negatively affect them.
One of the reasons the research is all over the place for tutoring is that student characteristics vary. For instance, some students may put forth more effort or motivation than others. Outside factors such as classroom instruction and living situations also come into play. As a result, tutoring can only do so much.
Frequently Asked Questions
They want lessons delivered at a high standard, guaranteeing a boost in grades and confidence in the subject. So tutoring can often be worth the money and can be a great investment in your education and future when you find a tutor that suits your way of learning and your schedule.
It depends on the amount of help. If someone is tutoring you and helping you figure out the answers, then it's fine (unless it's a test or something you have been instructed to complete on your own). However, it could be cheating if the person gives you the answers or helps you too much.
Get parents to participate by inviting them to talk about their problems with home tutors.
A good tutor is: patient, self-confident, resourceful, persistent, professional, internet-savvy, enthusiastic, results-oriented, adaptable, and compassionate. Let's look at each of these and how they play a part in moulding a good online tutor.
Getting someone to help with your assignment might seem harmless, but it can hinder the learning process. The teacher needs to understand where the student is with their learning, and too much help from others can get in the way. Some research describes formal education as a type of "signal".
Questions To Ask When Hiring A Tutor
How do you choose a tutor for kids who learn and think differently? Whether you're looking for a tutor to help your child with dyslexia, dyscalculia, or something else, it's important to ask the right questions.
- Here are questions to ask before you hire a tutor for your child.
- How long have you been tutoring?
- What are your qualifications, certifications, or credentials?
- What's your expertise in the content area my child is studying?
- Have you worked before with kids or adults who have trouble with the same skills as my child?
- How will you get a sense of my child's needs?
- What strategies have you found to help most when you start to work with a child?
- Can you tell me a little bit about your teaching philosophy?
- What kind of results can I expect to see, and what happens if my child doesn't make progress?
- What might get in the way of achieving your tutoring goals?
- How would you help my child deal with [specific challenge your child has had]?
- What can I do to support the process?
- How will you communicate with me, and how often?
- How will you work and communicate with my child's teachers?
- How do you measure progress?
- Do you have references I can speak to?
- What's your availability?
- Where will the tutoring sessions take place?
- How long is each tutoring session?
- How much do you charge per session?
- Are there other fees (for materials or assessments, for example)?
- What's your policy for cancellations and make-up sessions?
Who Will Do The Tutoring?
When dealing with a tutoring company, you trust it to hire the right person for your child — so be sure you agree with the company's philosophy. Find out how much say you have in selecting a tutor and how the company determines which one is appropriate for your child. If the tutor is ill or unavailable, will your child be assigned a substitute?
If you've chosen an online tutoring service, ask if the company employs instructors in other countries. You'll need to monitor whether the tutor and your child can overcome any language barriers without the benefit of face-to-face interaction. Be sure to ask how he plans to build a rapport with your child and become familiar with her textbooks and classroom assignments.
What Are The Tutor's Qualifications?
Does he have experience teaching the subject your child needs help with? An instructor doesn't need to be a credentialed teacher for your child's grade level: A good chemistry tutor for your high schooler might have experience teaching college-level chemistry, for example, even if he doesn't have a high school teaching credential. But he should at least have a college minor in the subject.
Does the prospective tutor have experience teaching children of similar ages and learning styles to your kids? If your child has special needs, the tutor must be properly trained.
What Is The Tutor's Track Record?
In addition to asking for references from teachers or other parents, request evidence of the tutor's success in raising student achievement, such as:
- Higher test results
- Improved classroom grades
- Better homework completion
- Satisfaction surveys of students or parents
Where Will The Sessions Take Place?
Whether your child is tutored at school, an office, a community centre, or someone's home, you need to be comfortable with the location. If transportation is required, factor that into your decision. Several studies have shown that regular, frequent tutoring is the most effective and that more sessions per week result in greater gains.
If you've chosen online tutoring, ensure your child has access to a computer, headset, or other necessary equipment.
How Many Students Will Be Tutored At A Time?
While some students thrive in small groups, others do better with one-on-one instruction. Be sure your choice can provide a setting that works for your child's particular learning style. If you've chosen group tutoring, find out the maximum number of students per class.
How Will The Tutor Measure Your Child's Progress?
Ask how the tutor will devise a study plan that's right for your child and assess whether goals are achieved. If the tutor provides written reports, request a sample so you can be sure they are clear and helpful.
How Often Will The Tutor Communicate With You And Your Child's Teacher?
The tutor and teacher should be working toward a common goal. Ideally, they would communicate regularly and reinforce each other's techniques. Be sure to let the teacher know about your child's tutoring, and ask if he can give feedback on your child's progress in the classroom. You will also need to establish a regular time when your child is not present to discuss her progress with the tutor.
What Is The Policy For Cancellations And Makeup Sessions?
Many private tutors charge clients if an appointment is cancelled without 24-hour notice. Others have detailed policies for scheduling make-up sessions. Be sure to clarify with your tutor ahead of time.
What If Your Child Doesn't Improve?
Find the necessary steps for choosing another tutor within a company and the deadline to make the switch. Does the tutor guarantee certain results? How are they measured? What happens if your child doesn't achieve them?
How Can You Reinforce Your Child's Learning?
Tutoring isn't a magic bullet, so parents play an important role in helping those lessons stick. First, ask the tutor for suggestions on how you can support your child's learning. Better yet, check in at the end of each session to find out what your child is expected to do before the next one, whether it's practising her multiplication facts or completing all of her classroom assignments.
Reasons Why Hiring A Private Tutor Can Be The Best Investment For Your Child
A Personalised Learning Experience For Your Child
Every child's learning needs are different, and so are their grasping skills and retention. Personalised attention to weaknesses doesn't happen with an average American classroom with approximately 25+ students with different learning needs and capabilities; personalised attention to weaknesses doesn't happen. On the other hand, a private tutor benefits from learning at one's own pace and often from the comfort of one's home.
Additionally, the familiar milieu of the child's home and convenient timings boost their learning and grasping skills manifold. A private tutor doesn't shell out a preset timetable but instead curates one along with your child. Your child is no longer an instruction and notes taker (unlike at school); with a private tutor, your child co-creates their learning experience and feels much more involved in the process.
More Attention To Mastering The Basics
Most students who struggle in their advanced schoolwork did not fully grasp the basics in earlier years. Hiring a private tutor ensures that your child will not be one of those students.
Having a good tutor help your child master the basics of difficult subjects will have an easier time following along in class. In addition, your child will understand more advanced material in the long run because their basics are strong. And as a bonus, their grades will improve with time.
Efficient Learning: Learn More In Lesser Time
Every child has a unique learning style. For example, some children are visual learners, while others are auditory learners or hands-on learners. Nowadays, teachers try to create lessons covering all learning types in larger classrooms to ensure no child is left behind. However, a one size fits all approach may not work for all students.
Learning in a manner that is not your learning type leads to difficulty comprehending study materials. Finding a private tutor who has experience working with children with the same learning type as your child can make learning more effective.
A Private Tutor Brings In The Discipline: The Key To Long Term Success
Hiring a private tutor is one sure shot way to instil a sense of discipline and routine in your child. Sustained effort and revision are critical for long-term success while studying a subject or learning an art. Irregular learning can lead to irregular periods of extreme interest and boredom, which leads a child nowhere in the longer run.
With a private tutor, your child will get into a habit of spending 'X minutes every day or every two days on a subject without fail. It usually spurs more interest and confidence in the subject (or art) and makes children disciplined about other life walks. For example, health and fitness routine is usually seen in children who are disciplined in general).
Your Child Will Develop A Passion For Learning
Unfortunately, when children start to struggle with a subject at school, they think that they are not intelligent or that learning is not for them. As a result, their confidence in their ability to learn, work hard, and achieve their academic (and other) goals starts to lower. In addition, as children can be defensive, they may not want to ask for help and merely resign to their imagined fate.
It is important, as parents, to prevent this from happening to your child. Before your child becomes too disheartened at the idea of school and learning, reinforce positive aspects of learning by hiring a private tutor. Seeing themselves improve and achieve their academic goals will help them love learning and increase self-confidence. It will show them that hard work and perseverance and asking for additional help when they need it can ensure their success. These life lessons will stay with them for years to come.
Your Child Can Be Honest About Their Weaknesses
Some children are too shy to ask questions in class. Although they may need clarification, they might be apprehensive about asking their teacher about their doubts in front of their peers. As we were all students at one point, we know how nerve-wracking to ask what could be a "dumb" question in class. Of course, no question is a "dumb" question, but students often have difficulty believing that.
If you hire a private tutor, your child can be honest about struggling and would like more attention. Moreover, a private tutor can help your child feel comfortable around a difficult subject and boost your child's self-esteem.
Your Child's After-School Learning Becomes Convenient And Affordable
One of the best aspects of hiring a private tutor is how convenient providing your child with a quality education. You can call the shots and have your private tutor teach your child beyond the current confines of their classroom. A private school can be expensive and private tutoring is a relatively cheaper alternative. Your child can learn at a time and place when it is convenient for both. The sessions can be flexible in terms of timing.
Furthermore, your child can pursue educational routes not traditionally available to them at school. They can go above and beyond their current curriculum with less time or effort from your side. Going to work and teaching your child is difficult. Hiring a private tutor will ensure that your child is receiving the education they deserve and not at the expense of your schedule.
If you're considering hiring a tutor for your children, it can be helpful to ask these questions. What is the tutoring rate? Does the tutor have experience working with kids in this age range? Is there a maximum number of hours per week or month that I can set aside for tutoring sessions? Do they offer lessons outside of school if my child has an after-school club or sports practice? These are all important factors to consider before making any decision. We hope our article was able to help clear up some misconceptions about picking out a great tutor!