Our world is changing fast. Everything is going digital, which is impacting all aspects of our lives, including the education system. It's worth considering, then, what the private tutoring of tomorrow will look like. Between the emergence and availability of new technologies, a wider array of teacher specialisations and, above all, a more systematic approach to home tuition, the following are our predictions.
Addressing the Decline in Students' Performance
Despite years of promises by successive governments, the UK has failed to improve its ranking worldwide in terms of education, lagging behind the leading countries in terms of performance. 2016's GCSE results showed a record decline, with the overall proportion of entries achieving A* to C dropping from 69% to 66.9%. The year's results were down for maths, English, history and geography. This comes at a time when parents are increasingly looking to private tuition to help improve their children's performance. It is telling that the most sought-after subject is maths, at a time when the UK hit its lowest ever worldwide programme for international student assessment (Pisa) ranking in the subject.
Scotland fared worse than England in reading and maths, falling thirteen and seven points respectively from 2012 figures.
Russell Hobby, leader of the National Association of Head Teachers, voiced concerns that the results showed “a lost decade” during which the government had pursued an “obsession” with structural change which resulted in “little impact on either standards or equity”. What conclusions can we draw from this? Is the school system in decline, or has students' performance suffered? Should we embrace or be wary of new technologies and teaching methods? How do current trends fit into the history of private tuition?
Personal Tutors: A Real Alternative
At Superprof, we believe that, faced with this failure, students need complementary solutions that work in parallel with mainstream school education: We're talking about the use of private tutors for your benefit. Private lessons are going digital - Read more about the future of tutoring here on Superprof. It's important not to overburden pupils who already receive nearly 40 hours of instruction per week at school or college, but just a few hours a week in the company of a private tutor can provide a great learning environment leading to significant improvement. There are several reasons for this:
- Greater concentration by the pupil, who is not subject to the many disturbances of the classroom.
- One to one tuition allows the student to receive the full attention of her teacher.
- The opportunity to ask any question that comes to mind: Something which few children feel comfortable doing in the school classroom.
- An environment in which a student's knowledge gaps can be filled in one by one: Something that a teacher in charge of a class of thirty students simply does not have the opportunity to do.
For all these reasons, we believe that private tutoring is a solution that will be increasingly adopted in the future.
Learning Apps and Games
It's impossible to envision the future of tutoring without looking at the world of educational apps and games. Already used by many on a daily basis in a diverse range of topics, how can their popularity but increase? Many working in education have been quick to latch on to the idea of combing education and new technologies. This explains why you can already find hundreds of educational apps, for Android, Windows and iPhone. As a quick example, visit the relevant app store for your device and search for 'maths'.
You'll come across, at a glance, between 200 and 300 applications on the topic:
- Mathematical formulas
- Multiplication tables
- Tips for learning
- Exercises based on themes
- Mathematics for children
- Maths games
- Mental calculations
From this quick look alone, you can see the multitude of options already on offer. This is also true of other subjects including English, foreign languages, history and geography. It leaves little doubt that home tutoring will also make use of the increasing range of practical, digital materials out there. While the face-to-face interaction of teacher and pupil will be hard to replace with digital means, we already see the presence of tablets and other devices in schools, and increasingly the use of quality applications to support learning. Elsewhere on our blog, you can read about tuition, worldwide.
Skype and Interactive Tutoring Online
Is it really essential that private tutor be in the same room as her pupil?
While it may be preferable in some cases, there's nothing to stop a student from conversing clearly and easily with an interlocutor based somewhere else in the UK or indeed anywhere in the world. This, too, is the shape of private tuition of tomorrow: Making use of technology to learn. Parents, looking for a reputable teacher for their child, might be disappointed by the lack of availability of tutors in their area like tutors London. Here, video chat software like Skype, Hangouts and more can close the physical gap. Foreign languages also occupy an increasingly prominent place in our lives. We use them to communicate on trips, or simply at work.
In order to progress in Spanish, Arabic of French, many parents look for private tutors for their children.
However, the best teachers, and often native speakers living in their native countries, are not to be found nearby. So, why not take to the web, and let students converse with private teachers located anywhere in the world, without having to leave home! Private lessons of tomorrow will doubtless include such a remote model of online tutoring.
Delegating to Online Tutors
At Superprof, we are well-placed to provide such support. Parents no longer hesitate to entrust their child's education, even homework and revision, to an online tutor. This is undeniably a growth area. But why? First, we can point to the above mentioned issue of a perceived decline in the quality of mainstream education and in students' performance, which drives parents to look for help from personal tutors. Secondly, we are in the midsts of a sharp increase in the range of private tutoring services offered, enabling access to a larger number of home tutors. Thirdly, there are an increasing number of topics for students to explore. Teachers also remark on another factor: That parents increasingly tend to work longer hours, in which case it's natural that they have less time available to help their own children. The long tradition of getting a helping hand from mum or dad on the day's homework may be in decline. So too is that of revising for exams with parent's help, despite the fact that today's parents have more years of study under their collective belts than previous generations and so are, academically speaking, more capable of helping their offspring.
All this makes private tuition is a matter of exchange, and one which comprises parents, students and tutors.
The Increasing Role of Personal Tutors
Homework is part of every student's schooling. It's one in which some parents leave their children to their own devices, while others call on a home tutor, who visits several times a week to lend a welcome hand. This allows the child to receive learning support beyond that which the parents could provide. So will be the private tutoring of tomorrow: A more widespread role for the personal teacher in the context of after-school tuition at home. Because of their increasing diversity, but also due to more demands on parents' time, private teachers will become, in the near future, the obvious go-to in helping children in their education. Moreover, they will bring different methods, sometimes modelled on those of the formal education system, at other times more specific to their own particular teaching experience, and including the new possibilities that technology has to offer. If you're a teacher, you can read about the state of the private tuition industry in the UK here, on our blog.