Does Tutoring Truly Bring Value to Learning?
The guiding paradigm of educating seems to be continually changing—from Whole Language to Blended Learning to Student-Driven Learning. But, one thing that never changes is the fact that the students need to learn the content material. For some students, the adjustment is easy, but for others, the adjustment doesn’t happen. So, what do you do when your student is struggling with a subject and needs immediate help in order not to fall far behind? You could turn to a tutor.
Those who tutor sing its praises and say they gain true satisfaction from helping struggling students succeed. But, the outcome they seem to love most is seeing the students’ attitude shift from discouraged to confident in a subject that was difficult for them.
The benefits of tutoring are numerous, but some stand out:
- Parents often feel unable to help their children in a difficult subject.
- Tutoring gives individualized attention to the student, allowing for a give and take that provides immediate feedback.
- Tutoring helps a student develop study skills and skills for more independent learning.
- Tutoring assistance frequently improves the student’s attitude about a school—what was once frustrating and embarrassing is now a source of success and pride.
- Tutoring improves self-confidence and self-directed learning as the student gains more and more mastery in a subject.
- Many students work better in the quieter, less distracting tutoring session than in class.
- Tutoring aids in identifying learning challenges and brings a method for improving learning difficulties.
- This environment often feels safer for the student when asking questions.
Tutoring can happen in multiple ways, but two seem to be the most prominent—peer tutoring and online tutoring. Peer tutoring is when a student who is proficient in a subject helps a struggling student. There are clear advantages to both parties in peer tutoring:
- The tutor gains a deeper level of understanding through expanding on prior knowledge. This happens through summarizing, paraphrasing, and visualizing the subject matter for the tutee.
The tutee has the advantage of a student who has been through the course, understands the problems, and is able to communicate in an understandable way for learning.
- The tutor expands knowledge by creating analogies, finding new examples, and adding details to the subject that were not previously available.
The tutee gains from expanded knowledge which can help the light bulb “turn on”.
- There is a comfort level for the tutee in the give and take of discussion that occurs in a tutoring session with a peer; i.e., “How did you know to use that formula for this problem?”
In order for a peer tutoring relationship to succeed, there must be empathy and a respectful and caring relationship.
Another method that has seen exponential growth in the last 5 years is online tutoring. With the emergence of virtual learning and technology, there are a myriad of online tutoring services. Two of the most prominent benefits are that they can customize instruction specifically to the student, and they are flexible on tutoring times, which can prove to work well in a student’s busy schedule.