When students are enrolled in school – whether that’s in primary school, junior high or high school – their levels and scholastic aptitude are constantly being evaluated.
At the same time, their teachers strive to bring them a high-quality and multidisciplinary education. In English class, math class, chemistry class or history class, to cite their primary subjects, students must assimilate numerous ideas and study skills in order to construct and develop their critical thinking.
Of course, when a class includes between at least 25 and 30 students, it’s not always easy to pinpoint the weak points of some and identify the strengths of others – grammar, comprehension, school math, etc
Lost among one’s classmates, the personality and scholastic level of one student might not always be evident to the teacher. Fortunately, this can be corrected with private tutoring! In this situation, the teacher and student develop a more personal, one on one relationship, making communication more fluid and direct and education more fun.
Also, as a private tutor you are better positioned to:
- Evaluate your student’s shortcomings
- Discuss your student’s feelings
- Ascertain if the material in question interests the student,
- Demonstrate a pedagogical methodology,
- Establish a relationship with your student’s parents to get a better idea of his or her personality and progress,
- Work on specific points: new work method, home work help, memorization techniques, etc.,
- Show your student what is not going well and eventual shortcomings, as well as reinforce his or her skills and abilities.
What’s more, there are dozens of types of private courses: between help with homework or study skills for primary school children, online tutoring, home-taught classes, remedial classes, standardized test prep (ACT, SAT), intensive training, and even free tutoring, there is a multitude of choice.
Each course won’t require the same skills and especially the same content. Whether you are a math tutor, English tutor, science tutor, writing tutor, French tutor or ESL instructor, you will have to adapt the content of your course to the needs and goals of the student. Perhaps the tutee learner simply wants to further his or her knowledge or prepare for an exam? Perhaps it’s a basic test in algebra class, or rather, a national standardized test such as the GMAT, ACT or the SAT?
Would you like to get a more concrete idea of how all this tutoring stuff works? Here is some useful information that will confirm how private tutoring is an ultra-efficient individualized means of supplemental education.
What better place than Superprof, a platform for online tutoring with so many talented instructors in a vast range of topics and disciplines, to begin the journey? There’s no need to follow an expensive and time-consuming certificate course (although it can help to be a certified teacher): this article will allow you to brush up on some key points, and learn the main secrets of the trade of one on one tutoring (or small group tutoring) and academic success.
Find out how to tutor math here.
Identify your student’s weak areas
To identify the possible weak areas of your student, the home tutor must be ready to listen and understand his or her scholastic and even professional plans. So there is a bit of an advisory role thrown in. Why not ask: do you have a final year exam to take? Are you going to college? What education level do you need for your future career path?
What general difficulties does your student have? What particular points or subjects does he or she not understand? Is there a problem with writing, comprehension, memorization or reading, for instance? Is the work rhythm too intense? Does he or she need to adopt a new work method such as those using visual tools or an audio support? Or perhaps they are not used to using a dictionary or note taking or need help with better homework skills? Or perhaps they had a bad experience in school math or test taking?
The more you know and understand your student, by asking about his or her classes, scholastic habits and past academic success, the easier you’ll be able to figure out exactly what isn’t working and how to efficiently overcome these shortcomings to plan the most individualized course of study.
You can adopt some of these great ideas for planning your tutoring sessions!
Teacher, parents and students: teamwork
During a private lesson, you must continually evaluate the needs of your student and adapt your tutoring program to his or her expectations and capacities for optimal academic success.
There are different types evaluation tools to understand where your home tutoring student is situated:
- Open book questionnaires
- Training activities
- Free or assigned writing exercises
- Oral presentations
- Homework assistance
- Auto-reflexive exercises where the student describes what he or she learned in a previous session.
Whether it is every end of the class, every end of a chapter or assignment, make sure to continually evaluate and summarize everything with your student. The tutor is the one who is ultimately in charge of the tutored subject’s supplemental instruction. If you want to become a tutor, whether an online tutor, or for peer tutoring or drop in sessions, this is the first thing to learn.
To assure yourself that you haven’t forgotten anything, and to better identify the scholastic weaknesses of your student, make time to discuss everything with his or her parents. A tutoring session should always involve this key component.
This communication is the key to educational and pedagogical success.
In opening up a dialogue with the parents, you’ll know which type of training method corresponds best to their child: is the student a visual, aural, kinesthetic learner, or a combination of the above?
What does the student already know? How is he or she particularly skilled? What are the shortcomings that need to be addressed right away? Is he or she motivated enough to work with someone at home?
Exercises for connecting theory with practice
You must also try to apply theoretical aptitudes to practical applications. Begin your training with a simple activity or interactive exercises and gradually increase in difficulty as you progress.
To improve your training, don’t forget to use exercise sheets, online games, a manual or dictionary. It’s also important to work on two different levels, such as writing and oral expression, two distinct skills that complete each other.
The more you contextualize your exercises in everyday life examples, the more your student will understand what things actually mean, which will certainly be of use when taking standardized testing.
So, don’t forget to demonstrate to your student the concrete, real-life applications of an exercise or lesson. Whether it’s for math, physics, computer science, French or another foreign language, there will be at least one or several applications in our everyday lives or in the world of business.
Find out how to write an effective tutoring plan for every student!
Create an individualized teaching method
Traditionally, we see the same types of difficulties among most students. To correct them, here are some tips:
- Establish a balance between time spent on homework and extracurricular activities.
- Set fixed deadlines for handing in work.
- Distinguish between the essential and non-essential tasks in a class.
- Study as though there is an exam to prepare for.
- Don’t forget to visualize a goal at all times.
You role, as a pedagogical and scholastic counselor, is to create links between these diverse training components.
Whatever the subject, to address these difficulties, you must create a high quality, individualized work method for your student.
A good method should draw on what the student already knows and target certain goals to attain according to his or her scholastic level.
In an English course, this could mean:
- Look for a piece of information in a text and reread it in a new context (dictionary, library, Internet research)
- Learn to process information: reformulate, analyze and reread
- Memorize something: index ideas and associate them to precise words
- Analyze and understand a figure
- Resolve, reason and argue by using theorems and properties
- Structure and synthesize: organize a reflection
In a foreign language course:
- Adopt an active listening method
- Express yourself verbally and in text
- Understand the main ideas of a reading.
To overcome your student’s difficulties, to perfect a lesson and attain a specific goal, in a private lesson you can work on certain aspects according to his or her level or motivation.
This will help your student:
- Organize his or her work
- Find his or her own revision rhythm
- Enhance his or her self-confidence
- Learn to be a proactive learner
- Articulate what is not understood
Reinforce what your student has learned
Boost your student’s motivation
Normally, taking private one-on-one tutoring classes are not on the top of students’ to-do list (math tutoring does not usually equal fun), and it’s often forced on them by their parents or teachers.
As a consequence, it is imperative to help the student find the motivation to keep up with these at-home lessons.
Thanks to your scholastic guidance, you’ll be able to help your student hold on to what he or she has learned and keep going further in the learning process. How? By working on his or her motivation.
You should also look for and highlight the natural aptitudes and efforts of your students. Above all else, private tutoring should not imitate the seriousness of the classroom! After all, this is often the reason why students lose their motivation in school and head to tutoring centers or the Internet to find a tutor.
You can personally incite your student’s intellectual curiosity and respond to his or her expectations.
What teaching tools do you use to optimize your private lessons?
- Non-academic interactive techniques
- Methods that draw on the emotional or affective qualities of the student to improve memory
- Discussion of personal aspirations
- Regular evaluations to check up on progress
We also recommend supplying yourself with a lot of high-quality, innovative revision materials that are enjoyable for students if possible (especially for the youngest ages). This will help keep your students’ motivation high, as well make a good impression to your clients. These can apply variously to a range of education topics, including reading comprehension, standardized testing such as the SAT, or grammar.
Also read our thoughts on assigning work between tutoring sessions...
Develop your student’s active listening skills
To consolidate what your student has learned, it is important to teach him or her to develop active reading skills.
While an inexperienced reader normally reads an entire text before stopping to think about comprehension, the more advanced, efficient reader starts questioning from the beginning, and throughout the reading.
After a first, overall reading, your student should read it a second time taking notes, analyzing the structure, and deepening his or her overall knowledge. This will also help to improve the student’s concentration and time management.
Stimulate your student’s memory
Memory is vital for assembling all of one’s thoughts and knowledge. So you must teach your student to “tone” his brain muscle to optimize his or her scholastic training.
There are two types of memory: short-term and long-term.
Long-term memory can be compared to your computer’s hard disc while short-term memory is called work memory. This gives you the ability to retain a precise piece of information. The aim, in private tutoring, is to learn to pass what is in your short-term memory to your long-term memory.
- Frequent reminders and regular testing
- Organisation leads to efficient memory
- Use a system of cards, abbreviates or acronyms to retain important ideas
Another good idea would be to encourage your students (especially pre-adolescents) to get to know themselves better: it is easy to find exercises on the Internet that will allow your students to learn what type of memory they are most compatible with (hearing, kinesthetic, visual, sensory, short term, long term…). From there, you can better implement individualized techniques that chime with their personality and learning process.
Evaluate your student’s skills
Finally, to assure the quality of your private lessons and verify if your student has assimilated the information taught, and if he or she knows to articulate thoughts and reasoning, you should always evaluate your student’s aptitudes.
Whether it’s at the end of each course, during a lesson or at the end of a chapter, for instance, take the time to question your student on where he or she is in terms of goals and make an assessment together.
This feedback exercise can even be done with the student’s parents or schoolteacher. For it is through teamwork in tutoring services that will ultimately permit your student to understand his or her weak points and strengthen his or her aptitudes.
So while a traditional class in primary school or high school doesn’t allow students to go deeper in a particular subject or reading for each student, home tutoring can correct this.
Are you convinced yet? Start applying for academic tutoring jobs now!
So tutors, we’ve given you some homework of your own to complete as you prepare your next one on one tutoring session. Whether your academic specialty is calculus or algebra, whether you focus on study skills or exam prep, give free tutoring sessions or not, you are now ready to teach. And perhaps consider become one of the tutors Superprof is proud to employ!
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