You sit down with your child at the end of a mutually long day. They struggle in math, and you’re helping them review the lessons from the day and complete their homework. The content or the teaching method, however, is unfamiliar to you. This isn’t the way you learned math, or perhaps it’s just been a long time.
Your child needs a bit more help than they are getting in the classroom setting, and you’re not sure you can provide it. Would it be beneficial for your child to sit down with a private tutor and go over these concepts one-on-one, or does your child simply need to ask their teacher for more clarification? Do they need a little bit more time dedicated to reviewing notes, or perhaps a study buddy who can help keep them focused and on task?
How do you know when private tutoring is right for your family? At what point should you enlist specialized help beyond the traditional teaching methods?
Private tutoring brings to mind all sorts of associations: particular learning needs, a weakness in a certain area, the additional cost, and more. Tutoring is often stigmatizing, associated with a lesser learning ability or a keen struggle.
In reality, tutoring should be much more than simply forcing ill-fitting information into the minds of struggling youngsters. In fact, private tutoring used to be the sought-after way that elites handled education.
From the era of Greek philosophy through the medieval times and into the early University age, the brightest minds were nurtured by exclusive education. Young nobles would spend hours a day mastering music, languages, history, art, and sport at the hands of private instructors. Education by private tutoring was considered a hallmark of luxury and class. Don’t you think you could master that new language you’ve been thinking about if a multilingual instructor was to sit down with you for two hours every day? (The dream!)
Intimate or private coaching still finds a home in many of our institutions. Many tradespeople learned through apprenticeship, and plenty of industries maintain associations where novices can seek individual counsel from more experienced members. In the corporate world, job shadowing and onboarding are common practices which involve mimicry of a competent colleague and personalized guidance. Medical and psychological advice is delivered in a one-on-one setting, and personal issues are often worked out in the company of a close friend. These are all forms of private or semi-private guidance.
Private instruction accomplishes several things. It allows learners to work through information at their own pace. It gives them the opportunity to breeze past concepts they are comfortable with and hone in on areas where they might be having trouble. A skilled tutor will isolate the student’s comprehension issues and validate their legitimate concerns while providing clarity in an understandable manner. Although some classrooms address common questions and encourage others, few of them have the time to dive into each student’s hang ups. As a result, students who often find themselves “hung up” may become discouraged and disengage all together.
Tutoring can also take emphasis away from a particular class schedule and put it on to the student and the work itself. Students are not bypassed by the needs of the class or bored by a slow pace. Private tutoring allows students to take ownership over their learning since they are the only student in the learning setting. There are no peers to distract, judge, or hide behind. Students can feel that their responsibility over their own educational growth is highlighted in a private setting.
Students who are successful without formal private tutoring often have experienced some other kind of intimate instruction. Whether it’s extra help from parents, time spent addressing questions with teachers, their own research, or study groups with like-minded individuals, keen students often ensure they have the opportunity for catered assistance. Individual help is neither unusual nor unnecessary for many “naturally” successful students, and this attitude towards seeking assistance can bolster their success in any area of life.
The intimacy between mentor and student is often missing in our traditional education system, and yet it’s often where the most powerful learning can take place. In a general, philosophical sense, there is every reason to celebrate opportunities to surface it again.
Is private tutoring right for your child? It’s hardly a hindrance, and we can all benefit from individual coaching from time to time. If your child is struggling, it may be something worth considering.
If you do decide to give private tutoring a try, here’s what you can expect from Mentorhood. We strive to create that sense of ownership in the context of empowering, tailored learning. We seek to understand our student’s dilemmas, validate their perspectives, and illuminate mathematical solutions. We believe in the student’s capability to learn the material, and we know our classes are a success when we see excitement building in the students as they believe in themselves, too.
We offer the opportunity to fill the oft overlooked gap between the classroom and practical understanding. If you do give our safe, enthusiastic learning environment a try, you can expect a learning experience catered to a student’s personality, strengths, tendencies, and challenges, where your child can not only understand new concepts, but learn to appreciate more about themselves.
Antalffy, Paula. “A Brief History of Tutoring (Infographic).” TutorCruncher, 21 Feb. 2022, tutorcruncher.com/tutoring-online/a-brief-history-of-tutoring-infographic.
The Roman Empire: In the First Century. The Roman Empire. Social Order. Patricians | PBS. www.pbs.org/empires/romans/empire/patricians.html. Accessed 28 Oct. 2022.