Busting the Common Myths of Tutoring, by Georgie McIntyre of The Classroom Partnership, and TTA Corporate Member
As you are considering becoming a full-time or part-time tutor, you may have heard a few common myths regarding tutoring. Read on to find out how we bust them and how it is beneficial.
Myth 1: Tutoring is only for the students who are struggling
Despite this common myth, tutoring isn’t just for students who are falling behind in school or failing; almost every student can benefit from some form of a tutoring intervention. When we consider individual approaches to our students’ varying goals, there are so many opportunities to provide additional tutoring support. This could be in the form of improving writing skills, such as essays, or reading skills, reviewing a foundational concept they missed due to absence, focusing on revision study skills, or supporting gifted and talented students on more challenging material. Evidence shows that tutoring can help transform those goals into reality. Tutoring is suitable for students who need some extra support, students who want to maintain their grades, or those who want an extra challenge outside of school.
Myth 2: Tutoring won’t make a difference
There is significant evidence to indicate that tutoring, particularly in small groups is a positive intervention to help either catch up, plug the knowledge gaps for students or more broadly improve the attitude towards learning and school itself. No two students learn the same way. Tutoring programs can focus on the individual learning process so every student can succeed. Indeed EEF recently published that tuition can be effective in improving academic performance progressing a student’s attainment level by five months on average.
When planned in collaboration with the school curriculum and classroom teacher support, tuition allows students to progress at their own pace. By tailoring tuition alongside the main classroom delivery, the student is encouraged to develop self-paced and self-directed learning. The use of small group tuition provides a positive workspace and a collaborative approach to the student’s own learning experience. For students who struggle with an educational environment generally and have a negative attitude towards school, this one-to-one attention helps to improve self-esteem, confidence and reintroduce them back effectively into mainstream education.
Myth 3: Tutoring is only for the affluent
Historically tutoring has had the perception of being something only accessible to the affluent to prop up and stretch the gifted who are aiming for a Russell Group university place. Following a robust review of the impact of tutoring interventions and evidence that there is a substantial attainment gap between pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, pupil premium and send students and their peers. The UK government introduced the National Tutoring Programme to address the need for catch-up and the impact of the Covid-19 on pupils’ learning. This means that there is access for all students who require additional educational intervention, regardless of their background, financial status, or support needs.
Myth 4: Tutoring is only for younger students
From the early learning years to secondary school, tutoring is helpful for students of all ages.
Teachers are under pressure regardless of the student’s age to cover a lot of content, in a large group, and in reality, some students can fall behind. There is always an opportunity for students to learn and grow. Whether a student is developing their core skills, like reading and writing, or preparing for university, there is a tutoring program that meets the needs of any student at any age.
Providing a slower pace of learning and targeting individual missing knowledge gaps, tuition intervention supports this. Targeted tuition can unlock all students, regardless of age or academic potential. Fostering a love of learning and promote independent learning skills with a student then will be enabling them throughout their life.
Myth 5: Tutoring is not a career
Through tuition, the reward is tangible. Helping students to help themselves particularly when working with a student who hasn’t quite grasped a particular concept in school. The student may only need one session in a small group for a child to have their “lightbulb” moment, supported in a way that teaches the student how to learn on their own.
A tutor should have a desire to help, alongside sharing their knowledge. They should be enthusiastic and motivational. A tutor requires an ability to assess what’s happening and respond appropriately. Empathy and patience are key with a willingness to accept other’s points of view. An excellent tutor should be able to feel what the student is feeling.
Building your tuition around your other teaching commitments, with a schedule to suit your personal commitments, you have the opportunity to make a difference wider than your normal educational community. Set your own schedule and work around what’s important in your life. If a tutor is making a difference, they have an opportunity to be a positive role model through action and support to help any child connect with their learning. Seeing a student achieve their “a-ha moment”, making a difference in a student’s life is why tutoring is most definitely a rewarding career.
Remember the best tutor is one that is no longer needed!
Georgie McIntyre is the Director of Learning and Development for The Classroom Partnership, and is a Corporate Member of The Tutors’ Association. She is one of the speakers at the National Tutors’ Conference to be held on the 29th October.