Why You Shouldn’t Ignore the Benefits of Tutoring
It’s widely known that tutoring can be hugely beneficial for students of all ages across a wide range of subjects. From literacy and numeracy to test preparation and essay-writing skills, tutoring can help develop the competencies that students need to thrive at school, college, and beyond.
Unfortunately, many young people (and their parents) sometimes overlook the benefits of tutoring, assuming that the same positive outcomes can be achieved through classroom instruction, purchasing test prep books, or simply doing extra homework. In reality, though, it is nearly impossible to replicate the benefits of tutoring without its most crucial component: the tutor!
While tutoring can significantly help younger students, it can arguably have an even greater impact on high school students who are in the process of making important decisions about college applications. Tutoring can be genuinely transformative by helping to improve academic grades, build critical thinking skills, and increase familiarity with such standardized tests as the SAT and ACT.
A closer look at the many advantages of tutoring.
Although it would be impossible to list all of the wide-ranging reasons why tutoring is important, here are some of the most significant benefits that tutoring can have not only on a student’s academic success, but also on their personal growth as an independent, lifelong learner.
Personalized, one-on-one attention.
Perhaps the best-known benefit of tutoring is the individualized attention that a tutor can provide their students. Even the most experienced and well-intentioned teachers cannot accommodate much one-on-one instruction in a traditional classroom setting, which can often be full of distractions. On the other hand, a tutor’s entire focus is on just one student at a time, and specifically on that student’s unique needs.
Good tutors create individualized learning plans to develop areas where students can improve or challenge them to achieve a level beyond the minimum expectations of their grade level. Tutors also have the leeway to structure their sessions around activities that will most benefit a student’s unique learning style, which is difficult to achieve in a busy classroom of 20 or 30 learners.
A fresh voice and a new perspective.
Parents sometimes wonder why they can’t simply tutor their own child. In addition to the challenges of attaining the required subject knowledge and teaching ability, it may be difficult for parents to connect with their child on the same level as a tutor. The role of a parent is complex, and it can become confusing for parents to try to become their child’s tutor. Students often respond better when they can form a new relationship with their tutor, separate from the parent-child relationship, or even their relationships with teachers at school. An experienced yet approachable tutor can provide students with a fresh voice that they don’t encounter every day at home or school and give them new approaches and perspectives on their studies.
Confidence, self-esteem, and a positive attitude.
While academic support is usually the main reason families seek out a tutoring service, there are numerous long-term benefits of tutoring that are perhaps less tangible or immediately apparent. For example, working one-on-one with a tutor is a highly effective way to improve a student’s self-confidence. For many students, classroom settings can be stressful and overwhelming, and they may be reticent to participate in class discussions out of fear of making mistakes or sounding “stupid.”
Sessions with a trusted, well-liked tutor can have the opposite effect. When students enjoy their tutor’s company and experience mutual respect, they are far more likely to volunteer answers and share ideas, as they know they are in a supportive and non-judgmental environment. And although it may take time for this to translate to confidence in the classroom, the positive feedback they receive from their tutor will eventually help students gain enough self-esteem to believe that their voice is just as deserving of being heard as anyone else’s.
Developing good study habits and a love of learning.
Even if they want to succeed in school, many students lack the intrinsic motivation to spend their free time completing homework and studying for exams. Working independently for hours on end can be a challenge, leading students to procrastinate, rush through their homework, avoid studying for tests, and generally lose interest in academics.
By contrast, regular tutoring sessions provide students with a focus for their after-school efforts. With the support of a dedicated tutor, the demands of schoolwork will feel less overwhelming. In their role as a coach for academic success, tutors can provide students with the gentle push they need to meet deadlines, develop good time management skills, and challenge themselves to excel. Most importantly, the habits that students form while working with a tutor can last them throughout their high school and college careers and even into the workplace.
Is tutoring right for you?
Arguably, all students can benefit from the individual attention of an experienced educator who can focus on skills that need developing and any gaps in their understanding. Regular contact with a tutor can be beneficial not only for strengthening academic abilities, but also for ensuring that learning becomes a priority and that good study habits and self-esteem continue to grow over time.
It’s difficult to think of an instance in which tutoring wouldn’t be helpful or beneficial for a student. Even the most confident and driven students can benefit from the support of a tutor who is both knowledgeable about the subject matter and adept at devising thought-provoking activities to stretch and challenge. The role of a tutor is a multi-faceted one, with elements of teacher, friend, mentor, and coach—all rolled into one. It’s a special relationship that can grow as the student places their trust in the tutor and as the tutor adapts to meet the student’s specific needs.
How all students can benefit from tutoring.
A good tutor knows that there’s more to education than earning good grades and high test scores. Developing positive study habits, improving confidence, and taking responsibility for one’s own learning are some of the many helpful consequences of tutoring.
Even the most gifted students can benefit from the attention of a skilled tutor who can provide extension tasks and more challenging instruction than would be available in a classroom setting. Furthermore, in addition to ensuring that students have the requisite skills they need to succeed in school, tutoring provides the time and individualized emphasis to explore what students are genuinely interested in and passionate about, which can help them solidify their intentions for higher education and their career aspirations.
What to look for in a tutoring service.
Tutoring has great potential for transforming even the most reluctant students into enthusiastic, highly motivated learners. However, this potential depends on the tutor’s quality, both in terms of tutoring ability and the interpersonal connection made with the learner. For this reason, choosing the right tutoring service is of paramount importance. Otherwise, tutoring can become a futile (and costly) exercise.
Just because an individual has multiple degrees in an academic subject doesn’t necessarily mean that they will make a great tutor. In much the same way that a coach works with an athlete, tutors need to transfer their knowledge, skills, and interests to their students. The best tutors can achieve this with warmth, dedication, creativity, and, above all, patience. Students need to feel comfortable with their tutor and be able to make mistakes and ask questions. This is, after all, how learning takes place.
While there are certainly many considerations when choosing a tutoring service, the academic expertise and the amount of experience of the tutor is likely to be the most critical factor. Tutoring services such as Learner that take the time to match students with the right tutor are likely to produce the best results and the most positive outcomes. Finding a tutor who loves their job (and one who can connect with their students on a personal level) is truly invaluable when choosing a tutoring service and forging a successful bond between tutor and student.
OUR TOP TUTORING PICK: LEARNER