Wednesday, 16 January 2013

How to find the perfect tutor

How to find the most suitable tutor for your child
Tutoring can be an effective way for parents to support their child’s learning development. Traditionally the term tutor suggests a teacher offering one-to-one support, however there are a wide range of other and often more cost-effective forms of tutoring available.

In recent years online tutoring services have become increasingly popular, enabling students to learn, revise and test themselves according to their classroom syllabi’s. Whether on their desktop, tablet or smart phone device these e-learning resources can encourage students to study for longer and more sporadically.

Other alternatives include independent tutoring services that cover core subjects in group formats or larger often franchise-based learning centre’s that offer large classroom based learning sessions.

The key for any parent is finding what works best for their child, the first step in deciding which option is most suitable is to determine where and why their child is struggling. The next step is to establish your family budget, the amount you allocate to out-of-school tutoring sessions. As mentioned, online tutoring services can offer an effective and cost-efficient alternative, However this again is dependent on your child’s specific preferred mode of study and may not be suited to all.

If your child falls into this bracket and would benefit more from face-to-face tutoring then this guide will offer you pointers on how to find the best tutor for your child.

Know your child’s specific needs

Before you begin your search for a suitable tutor for your child, you need to know what you are looking for. The best way to do this is to find out what subjects the child is struggling with. In some cases, it might be only one subject and for other it may be in multiple subjects. In either case you will need to discuss this with your child. Under-achievement or the request for additional support can be a sensitive issue for some young people. Your child’s school will often provide you with performance updates throughout the year but it may be beneficial to call and discuss your child’s needs directly with their form tutor. This will not only give you an overview of their academic ability but also an insight into their development of softer skills, such as communication, group work and more. All of which can be built upon with the support of an effective tutor.

Know what is out there

Depending on where you live, you will get different kinds of tutors. If you live near a college or university, you can expect to find a high number of college and school teachers offering tutoring services. The cost however does vary, as does the quality and style of teachingy. Young graduates and NQTs (newly qualified teachers) are often cheaper alternatives but again ability, teaching effectiveness and sometimes commitment does vary.

Therefore, while considering the options available it is important to balance your child’s learning objectives with the potential cost of getting extra-curricular support.

Important considerations

It is important to interview more than one tutor. You also need to know what questions to ask. Some of these questions include commitment to teaching, experience, training and expertise. In case your child has special educational needs, you need to ask for experience in dealing with special education.

You should also ask about availability and the hourly rate. By interviewing a number of candidates, you can be sure that you have scanned what is out there and found the best option for your child.

Get your child involved

Since your child will be spending their time with the tutor, you need to ensure that they offer a good fit and one that your child fully accepts. You need to ensure that your child will be able to listen to the tutor. They should also be able to have fun working together. Involving your child in the process of selecting a tutor can provide empowerment, lowering the level of resistance and making them feel like they are part of the process, and that this is not simply being forced upon them.

These are just some of the considerations you should think about once you’ve decided to hire a one-to-one tutor.

There are a wide range of options available when it comes to finding support for your child’s learning outside of the classroom. Cost is an undeniable factor in most cases but to ensure you maximize your child’s learning, you need to understand what it is your child needs, what areas of study they need support on, how your child’s preferred learning style will be catered for by the tutor’s teaching techniques and what learning objectives will your child aim to achieve for the experience to be a worthwhile one.

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